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Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's Never Too Late to Promote Your Backlist Books!



I hope you aren’t stuck in the last millennium. In those days it was a given that books were dead after ninety days.

This is the Internet age and you can now reach millions of people with minimal effort to keep old books—even really old books—alive. Rev up your marketing machine. Maybe your new readers aren’t aware of your old titles. Reissue the old one (but don’t call it a second edition!) even though it will have new pages in the backmatter that list all your titles with links and maybe an excerpt from your new book to encourage readers to buy the new one, too.

Here are some other ideas for promoting your old books:  

  • You could also offer an old one for 99 cents when they buy your new book.
  • Or offer it free to your Goodreads or Facebook customers in return for a review (remember they’ll see your ad in the backmatter for your newest book and maybe buy that one, too!).
  • Bundle your new book with an old one at a discounted price that is less than the new one alone and bill it “Great reading for you and for a friend for less than it would cost for just one book.” 

If you have other ideas about how to promote backlist books (the ones you've published yourself or the ones that were traditionally published) , send it to me at HoJoNews@AOL.com with your name, your old book’s title, and its buy link and I’ll publish it as a tip in this blog and perhaps its companion SharingwithWriters  newsletter, too.


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Answer This Question: Are You a Writer? Author?


Today's guest post is from a longtime writing friend, David Leonhardt. I met him years ago when we cross promoted an e-book with about a dozen authors from different countries. He has an author service business--his way of SharingwithWriters--something that we both have a passion for.  I love this article because so many of my clients seem a bit shy about calling themselves a writer or an author. There is something zen about just knowing that you are. And owning it. Then others will, too. Here is David's wisdom!

Is it OK to call yourself a writer?


The scenario plays itself over and over.  Somebody loves to write.  Poetry.  Lyrics.  A diary.  Essays.  Humor.  Whatever.  They love to write.  They have a pile of unfinished manuscripts and notes, maybe even completed manuscripts that they have never shown to anybody, or that they have tried unsuccessfully to sell.

Thousands of people around the world who fancy themselves to be writers.  But, they don’t dare call themselves “a writer”. 

Why? When can you call yourself a writer?

Maybe the first time you get a byline, whether you were paid or not?  That means that somebody else believes your writing is worth publishing, but not worth paying for.

Or perhaps the first time you get paid?  That poem that earned you $10 in a literary review?  That means that somebody believes you wrote something worth paying something for.

Or is it the first time you get a book published?  Ah, that means an actual company, a real business that knows what it’s doing, believes you wrote quite a bit that’s worth paying something for.  Unless you self-publish, in which case…well, would you still be “a writer”?

Or is it the day you quit your day job – the day that enough people believe you wrote quite a bit that’s worth paying something for?

How many people have to believe in you to define who you are?

One.

No, this is not a trick question.  It’s not even a question about writing.  It’s a question about how you define yourself – or more to the point, whom you let define you.

What you do for pay and what gets published in somebody else’s publication says nothing about who you are.  It says everything about who they are.

Let’s take an example of a writer who has a day job moving furniture.  Yes, a writer.  He writes because that is what moves him, what fulfills him, what makes him complete.  That is who he is.  He moves furniture to buy clothes and food and pay rent.  He moves furniture because he doesn’t want to violate public decency laws, has a stomach that growls and is allergic to freezing to death.  That makes him a law-abiding human bent on survival, not a furniture mover.

He moves furniture for a living because there are more people in town who need furniture moved than need to read his poems or essays or fantasy manuscript.

In fact, a good argument could be made that as soon as a person is paid for her writing, she becomes less of a writer, since the writing begins more to define the person or people paying.  I won’t make that argument here, as that would be a whole different debate, and I am not even sure where I stand on it.

Money doesn’t make someone a writer.  Getting paid to write makes a person an entrepreneur.  Perhaps they remain just as much a writer, perhaps not.

When it comes to language definitions, there is plenty of room for honest disagreement.  But I’ve been a writer since I wrote for my high school newspaper, becoming co-editor in my senior year.  I have been a writer of poems and song lyrics on nobody’s payroll.  I have since become a published author and a prolific blogger.  I ghostwrite articles and I have written reports and news releases as an employee and as a freelancer.  I think I have been many writers.

But mostly, I am a writer when I feel that I am.  Because putting words together to express an idea is a huge and defining part of whom I am.

What about skill? Does skill make you a writer?  Please don’t re-read the first Half of this blog post, riddled with sentence fragments and full sentences ending in prepositions.  Skilled or not, I am a writer.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people out there who are clumsy at everything they do.  There are many people who can’t seem to get their lives together.  There are people who are rude and selfish.  There are all sorts of people who are not very skilled at being human.

They are human.  Skilled or not, they are human.

There are writers who can lead you through the gates of Hell, across the vast expanse of space and into the deepest recesses of your mind.  There are other who make you fall asleep.  They are writers if they say so. 

Sorry, but you don’t get to define them.  Not based on skill.  Not based on money.  Not based on anything.  You get to define you.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,

 

 “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

Are you a writer?  If not, what are you?  Who are you? What are your thoughts on this?



Guest post by David Leonhardt at THGM Writing Services:
The Happy Guy Marketing
info@THGMwriters.com
(613) 448-4086 (Canada)
Please join me on Tsu: https://www.tsu.co/Amabaie/
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/amabaie
Hire writers/editors: http://THGMwriters.com
Promote your website: http://www.seo-writer.com
http://thgmwriters.com
"Money doesn't make someon a writer. It only makes them a business. Only writing can make you a writer." ~ David Leonhardt, THGM Writing Services
 

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Sunday, March 08, 2015

So What Is NOT Funny About Humor Poetry

I have been following the guidelines for contests at http://WinningWriters.com for a long time and they have never lead me wrong.  You'll love their newsletter. You'll also love the advice they give on better ways to compete in literary contests, like this for their coming Wergle Flomp poetry Contest. Find advice on what NOT to submit to their FREE humor poetry contest below--and links to enter!  And you'll also find more information, ideas, and contests in the Writers Resources section of my Web site at  http://howtodoitfrugally.com/contests.htm.

Enter Our Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Our 14th annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest welcomes your entry through April 1.
There's no fee to enter. Jendi Reiter will judge, assisted by Lauren Singer. We'll
award $2,000 in prizes, including a top prize of $1,000. Winners are published on our website.
This contest welcomes published and unpublished work. Your poem may be of any
 length. Click to submit online.
After screening last year's 4,484 entries, Lauren has advice for this year's
contestants:
Parodies based on Poe, "The Night Before Christmas", Yeats, ans Frost:  
If you are going to have a "With Apologies To..." poem, it needs to be clever enough to back up the fact that it is based on a famous original. So many of these poets jumped ship somewhere in the middle and did not utilize any clever parodying qualities, and merely wrote poems that were completely separate from the originals. Just stealing the voice of a dead poet does not a good poem make!
Poems that I found particularly arduous to read: Poems about pooping, farting, vomiting, getting fat, having saggy boobs, tricking your husband so that he would stay with you, tricking your wife so that she would leave you, wrinkles, chocolate addiction, unoriginal limericks that began "There once was a man from Nantucket" that ended with "f*** it!", poems that invented their own language without a glossary and just translated as wan gibberish.
Poems that were offensive: Ones that embraced a pro-rape culture (there were more of these than you might think, and it was quite disheartening); poems that described women as objects; poems that led the reader to believe they were about women and then turned into poems about an object (odes to a car, boat, La-Z-Boy, golf club, burger, guitar, etc.); homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, racist poems, of which there were many; poems that mock a lifestyle in attempts to undermine it (making light of stay-at-home moms/dads, that sort of thing); poems that made light of mental illness, addiction, and recovery, in an offensive way as opposed to a self-deprecatingly humorous way.
"I'm getting so old" poems: These were by far the highest number of poems submitted in 2014. These have the ability to be funny, but more often than not there is SO much overlap. "I used to be so attractive, thin, energetic. Now I'm fat, wrinkly, and don't have sex. I can't bend over anymore, I can't sit up without grunting, I can't eat fried foods, I can't enjoy life because I'm over 60." These become tiring and disheartening after a while. There were a few that embraced an original voice and those made the cut, but the vast majority of poems about aging were nearly indistinguishable from each other.
Feeling squirrelly: There were well over a hundred poems solely about squirrels. This is merely a side note, as some of them were quite funny, but out of sheer curiosity, what the hell was it about squirrels this year? What is this obsession? Why are squirrels so dang poetic? Any squirrel poems that ended in a pun about nuts generally didn't make the cut.
All the Wergle Flomp winning poems and judges' comments going back to 2002 are
http://winningwriters.cmail1.com/t/d-l-ykidikl-trutbad-x/
 available for reading in our website archives.
Submit your 2015 entry now at
http://www.winningwriters.com/wergle


http://winningwriters.cmail1.com/t/d-l-ykidikl-trutbad-u/



http://winningwriters.cmail1.com/t/d-fb-ykidikl-trutbad-d/ http://winningwriters.cmail1.com/t/d-tw-ykidikl-trutbad-h/


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

So How DO You Get People to Buy and Read Your Book


Why People Buy Books

Guest blogged by

Valerie Allen, codirector of the
Brevard Authors’ Book Fair in Cocoa Beach, Florida

 
Studies have revealed people's book buying habits are influenced by various factors. Authors need to consider the investment of time and money when marketing to potential buyers. The trend has moved from “writing” your book, to “publishing” your book, to “discovery” of your book. The focus now is how to draw readers to your work.


The top six reasons individuals make a book purchase, in order of importance, are:

 
1.  Author Reputation
  • An author who writes in an area of interest to you (psychological thrillers, romance, westerns, horror, fantasy, etc.)
  • An author who writes well, can move you emotionally or lead you to gain insight
  • An author who delivers on the promise to educate or entertain

 

2.  Personal Recommendations
  • Friends, family members, co-workers tell you about a book they really enjoyed or a book they think you will like
  • Discussions about books, book clubs, library picks, best seller lists

 
3.  Price
  • Fewer pages, lower price
  • Sale price always attracts consumers
  • Buy one, get one free or at a reduced price
  • Bonus packages combine book(s) with another itme (perfume/hand cream/book mark)
  • FREE book with purchase of another non book item
  • FREE for the asking, donations to community service events or non-profits

 

4.  Book Reviews
  • Included in book forward or on the back cover
  • Online by publishers, agents, or readers
  • Newspapers, magazines, book review print or online venues

 

5.  Cover/Blurb
  • Attractive cover, title and subtitle. or with a blurb about book
  • Back cover summary, blurb, reviews
  • Reviews inside book forward or in the end pages

 

6.  Advertisements print and online
  • Media blast by authors, publishers, agents, etc.
  • On line Emails, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media
  • Paid ads in newspapers, magazines, book venu magazines/brochures/fliers 

About Today’s Guest Blogger

Valerie Allen is a psychologist, author, and speaker. She is a popular presenter at writer conferences and workshops for new and experienced authors. Her presentations focus on writing, publishing, and marketing, using her book, Write, Publish, Sell! Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenge, Second  Edition.

 
She is a member of the Space Coast Writers' Guild, the National League of American PEN Women, Cape Canaveral Branch, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Creative Arts Foundation of Brevard, FL. She is also a cofounder of Authors For Authors.


Authors For Authors supports and encourages writers, providing venues for book talks, book launches, and two book fairs a year. The Brevard Authorss Book Fair will be held on March 28, 2015 at the Cocoa Beach Library, Cocoa Beach, FL. Non-local authors can take advantage of this promotional opportunity to have their books and materials on display all day at the book fair. More information can be found at AuthorsForAuthors.com.

 
Valerie's published books include novels: Suffer the Little Children, Sins of the Father, and Amazing Grace. Forthcoming is her next novel, The Prodigal Son. Recently, she published, 'Tis Herself: Short Story Collection. She has published two books for children grades three to five: Summer School for Smarties and Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends. Her most recent nonfiction book is, Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony, which is used in her presentations about motivation and the psychology of everyday living.

To have your book displayed at this year’s fair (frugally!) , reach her at VAllenWriter@cs.com. Learn more about her at www.ValerieAllenWriter.com .
 
 
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ode to Former Poet Laureate Philip Levine

I run a regular feature in my SharingwithWriters newsletter on poetry. Poetry is one of my great literary loves so,  though the letter consists mostly of practical marketing ideas and help with craft and editing, the poetry corner--I think--broadens its appeal. The poetry feature can include anything from snippets of holiday poetry, to craft, to poetry marketing ideas to what is happening in the poetry world. What is happening in the poetry world this week is the death of former poet laureate for the US Philip Levine. 

In his honor, I'm publishing the SharingwithWriters poetry corner early. The rest of the letter will be available at http://howtodoitfrugally.com/newsletter_copies.htm after March 15.


Very Brief Ode to Philip Levine:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is rare that a poet can trace her poetry path to some specific poet, but I can. My path—a near-journalistic style of poetry—traces through my mentor Suzanne Lummis directly to the Fresno (Calif.) school of poetry more easily identified as the Philip Levine school of poetry (though he taught at ivy league schools including Columbia, Princeton, and Vassar). At one point he said in an interview that his Fresno students were the best he ever taught.

Many define his Fresno school as poetry with a certain grittiness, poetry written so each thought is complete; that is, when read, any given line can be followed easily as a sentence of prose if the reader doesn’t pause at the line breaks.
 
Even an excerpt like this that doesn't include the full thought can be easily understood:

. . . to baptize ourselves in the brine
. . . of car parts, dead fish, stolen bicycles
melted snow .
. .

I prefer to qualify that definition as being poetry of personal truthfulness no matter how painful or unattractive that truth may be.
 
Philip was 87 and according to the Associated Press died of pancreatic cancer.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the inPlace; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailenr’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .