Saturday, October 01, 2016

Getting Great Book Reviews and Making Them Work Harder for You

Just thinking you'd like a peek at my brand new release on getting reviews. If you would like an excerpt or related article for your blog, just ask! (-:  
Happy writing and promoting,
Carolyn


Off-The-Wall -Alternatives

Making Your Reviews Into Workhorses

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

Excerpted (and adapted) from Carolyn’s new How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career to be released this fall.

Authors rarely get the most of their reviews. Surprised? I think it’s either that they are so excited about the review or that the idea of extending a review’s value doesn’t occur to them. Or it’s because so many reviews these days come from readers. They aren’t professionals, so they have no idea how to distribute content beyond posting their review on Amazon.
One of the ways they can get more mileage from their reviews is to get them reprinted in more venues than the reviewer ever planned. Or you do it for them. And, no, it isn’t stealing or plagiarism if you get permission from the reviewer first. In fact, it can benefit the reviewer. 
When you get further distribute reviews you already have, it’s like getting a little marketing bonus. Here’s how to do that:
  • If your reviewer doesn’t normally write reviews (these reviewers are often called reader reviewers), suggest she send her review or the link to her review to her friends as a recommendation.
  • If your reviewer lives in a town with a small daily or weekly newspaper, she could send her review to them. She may realize the thrill of being published the first time. 
  • Ask your reviewer—even one who writes for a review journal—to post her review on Amazon.com, BN.com, and other online booksellers that have reader-review features. I have never had a reviewer decline my suggestion. It is ethical for a reviewer to do it or give you permission to reuse the review as long as she holds the copyright for the review. (Most reviewers do not sign copyright-limiting agreements with the medium who hires them.) Get more information on Amazon’s often misrepresented review policies in Chapter Eleven, “Managing Your Amazon Reviews.”
  • After you have permission from the reviewer to reprint the review, post it on your blog, on your Web site, and in your newsletter. Use quotations from the reviews to give credibility to selected media releases and queries.
  • Once you have permission to use reviews, send copies of good ones to bookstore buyers and event directors as part of your campaign to do book signings, to speak, or do workshops in their stores. Go to (midwestbookreview.com/links/bookstor.htm) for a starter list of bookstores.
  • Send quotations (blurbs) from the reviews you get to librarians, especially the ones in your home town or cities you plan to visit during book tours. Include order information. Try Midwest for a list of libraries (midwestbookreview.com/links/library.htm). 
  • Use snippets from positive reviews as blurbs in everything from your stationery to your blog. (Use your e-reader’s find function to search for other ideas for using your blurbs in this book.)
  • If your reviewer doesn’t respond to your request to post the review on Amazon, excerpt blurbs from them and post them on your Amazon buy page using Amazon’s Author Connect or Author Central features. They will appear on your Amazon sales page. 
  • Include the crème de la crème of your reviews on the Praise Page of your media kit and inside the front cover of the next edition (perhaps a mass market edition like the pocket paperbacks sold in grocery stores?). See my multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter (bit.ly/FrugalBookPromo) for the complete—and I do mean complete—lowdown on media kits. 
Hint: Occasionally authors get reviews on Amazon that, shall we say…don’t thrill them. Reviews like that can be minimized by asking others for reviews. As new reviews are added, the old ones tend to get buried in the lineup of reviews. We can also (pleasantly!) refute a position a reviewer takes using the comment feature—or thank them for bringing something to our attention. We can also dispute their validity with Amazon, though that rarely works.
You can use some of these suggestions as part of your keeping-in-communication-with-reviewers effort after her review has been published.
Coming up in the newest release in my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books, How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career to be released this fall is more on how Amazon can helps authors early in their review-getting process. I mean, as long as it’s nearly impossible to do without Amazon and still have a successful book campaign, we might was well get them to return the loyalty we show them in as many ways as possible. 
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. Her next book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers will be How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.


The author loves to travel. She has visited eighty-nine countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her Web site is www.howtodoitfrugally.com

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sharing an Excerpt On Getting Reviews from My New Release

I thought I'd share an excerpt from my newly released How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically with you. It's all part of the launch celebration. Learn more about it at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. 

Why Getting Great Reviews Is Your Job
In spite of a contract or even an advance your publisher may not be a true publisher. True publishing includes the marketing of a book. Think big names like HarperCollins and Knopf. They assign a marketing budget to your book and an actual marketing department complete with actual human-type marketers who are trained in the specialized field of not just marketing, but marketing books. Except for those who write only for pleasure, there is no reason to publish a book that doesn’t get read. 
And here’s more: Big publishers are relying on bloggers for their review process as print journals and newspaper book sections shrink or disappear and as they begin to understand that grassroots publicity—reviews or otherwise—can produce a very green crop. Bloggers, you say? Well, that’s a resource pool you can easily plumb yourself
Some publishers—even traditional publishers—may not respect tradition, be uncooperative or goof. One of my writing critique partners was published with a fine press. When she learned they had not sent advance review copies of her literary novel to the most prestigious review journals before their strict sixteen-week deadline, she was naturally upset. They explained it was a snafu that could not be fixed. That was no comfort at all. It did help her to know that because thousands of galleys sent to the important review publications lie fallow in slush piles, the chances of having a book reviewed by a major journal—even one published traditionally let alone getting a glowing review—is remote. Because she had me to nag her, she moved on to alternative marketing and review-getting strategies found in Chapter Six of this book. Using those methods, she was still able to schedule several major bookstore appearances that tend to favor established names and rely on big-journal reviews in their decision-making process. Nevertheless, it’s not the kind of loss any author wants to face.
These days most small publishers have no marketing department—or marketing plan. In fact, many admit that when it comes to marketing, you are on your own. No offense, publishers. I know many of you do a terrific job considering the profit margin in publishing these days. Let’s face it, you can use help, and you don’t need to deal with disappointed (irate?) authors. And, authors! We are ultimately responsible for our own careers. Sometimes when we wait to take responsibility, it is too late in the publishing game.
Some publishers charge the author an additional or separate fee for marketing. Many who offer marketing packages do not offer a review-getting package. If they do, the review their authors get is a paid-for review, which is definitely not the route you want to go. More on that later in this chapter.
Many publishers do not even have lists of people to contact who might help your marketing with endorsements or reviews. Further, many big publishers are relying on bloggers for their review process more and more as print journals and newspaper book sections shrink or disappear and as they begin to understand that grassroots publicity—reviews or otherwise—can produce a very green crop. And bloggers? Well, that’s a resource pool you can easily plumb yourself. 
My first publisher supplied review copies only upon written request from individual reviewers. They did not honor requests generated by their authors’ initiatives. This meant that I could not count on them to supply books to reviewers I had successfully queried for a review. Unless the reviewer accepted e-copies (and many reviewers don’t!), I had to order copiesdirectly from the publisher and then reship them to my reviewers. This method is slow, cumbersome, unnecessarily expensive, unprofessional, and discourages authors from trying to get reviews on their own. 
Publishers should offer review copies to a list of reviewers—even unestablished grassroots bloggers—who have been responsive to their authors in the past. And they certainly should not charge an author for review copies. Publishers have a profit margin and publicity obtained by their authors (including reviews) affects their bottom line, too. They should send their author a thank you (or a red rose!) along with encouragement to keep up the good work
Publishers should also market their books. That means that even if they are too small or underfunded to have a marketing department, they should have a list of reviewers to query for reviews, a list of influential people to provide blurbs for your cover, access to book cover designers (not just great graphic designers) who know what sells books, and a whole lot more. Ask potential publishers about their marketing process before you sign, but—even if you feel assured after having that conversation—it’s best to assume you may be on your own. 
So, the marketing part of your book that includes finding the right reviewers to read and comment on your book will—in most cases—be up to you and well within your skill set after reading this book. And even when you have the luxury of a marketing department behind you, those authors who know how to get reviews on their own can keep a book alive for an infinite amount of time after their publishers relegate their books to a backlist or their contract expires.
Note: If it is too late to apply this information to the process you use in choosing a publisher, tactfully take hold and guide the publisher you have through the review process. There are lots of ways to do that in this book. I love Nike’s advice to “Just do it!” only I add “yourself” to the motto. Many publishers are in your employ. You may be paying them for services. At the very least, when your book sells, it makes money for the publisher. You don’t have to ask for permission (though it never hurts to listen to their reasoning before you make a decision).
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. Her next book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers will be How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. 
The author loves to travel. She has visited eighty-nine countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her Web site is www.howtodoitfrugally.com




ABOUT YOUR BLOGGER
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 multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; 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 .

Friday, September 23, 2016

Finally! Visualization for Authors and from Guru Nina Amir, Too!

Sure I have a free review blog! But #SharingwithWriters visitors and subscribers are all writers! I have been a fan of visualization since Rhonda Byrnes published her "Secrets," and have probably encouraged you to try it one time or another. But this book from Nina Amir gives you all Rhonda's secrets (it may be time for a refresher!) with a focus on the needs we writers have! I highly recommend it. I can't think of a single writing career it couldn't help!

Creative Visualization for Writers: 

 Interactive Guide for Bringing Your Book Ideas and Your Writing Career to Life 

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (October 18, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440347182
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440347184
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.6 x 10.8 inches 
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds 

Explore Your Motivations. Replenish Your Creativity. Define Your Vision for Success.

To become more creative, confident, and productive, writers need to focus their attention, visualize their desires, set clearly defined goals, and take action toward their dreams. Nina Amir’s Creative Visualization for Writers is the perfect guide for this journey of self-discovery.

Nina shows writers how to evaluate their beliefs and shed self-defeating behaviors; determine their destination by visualizing their ideas and goals; develop an Author Attitude to help them write, achieve, earn, and produce more; discover new ways to foster their creativity and productivity; and affirm that they have what it takes to succeed.

Featuring more than 100 exercises and prompts to spark new writing ideas and provide a creative boost, as well as coloring pages to encourage relaxation, Creative Visualization for Writers helps authors transform their dreams into reality and find joy in the creative process.

"Finally, a book that puts a truly positive spin on the writing process! There's so much to love here--inspirations, exercises, and high-octane creative fuel. Highly recommended!" --Jonathan MaberryNew York Times best-selling author of Patient Zero

"Writers often find it hard to go from idea to published book to writing career. Nina Amir's Creative Visualization for Writers provides the tools necessary to fulfill your dream of becoming a successful author." --Rick Frishman, best-selling author, publisher, and speaker (www.rickfrishman.com)

"This excellent book shows you how to stimulate your imagination and unlock your ability to write more creatively than ever before." --Brian Tracy, author of Get Smart!

"Creative Visualization for Writers is brilliant--a guidebook, journal, writing coach, coloring book, and touchpoint to your inner life, all in one place! I love the blend of introspection and activity, along with the short, actionable chapters and exercises. Nina Amir's holistic approach can help you be creative, productive, and successful as a writer--and enjoy a rompin' good time in the process. This book will help you choose the right projects--the ones that truly light your fire and help you live your purpose now--and complete them." --Lisa Tener, author and book coach (www.lisatener.com)

"In Creative Visualization for Writers, Nina Amir shares all you need to know to implement the latest research on how your brain tap into its very own writing genius." --Carolyn Howard-Johnson, multi-award-winning poet and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers

"I love the concept of this book. The writing process is never straightforward. Right-brain exercises, from visualizing to coloring, can add joy to rote tasks like outlining and marketing. At the same time, goal-setting and list-making activities can spark creative thinking. So let your creativity and productivity flow together!" --Jody Rein, literary agent and co-author of How to Write a Book Proposal Fifth Edition

METADATA ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Nina Amir
Inspiration to Creation Coach
With Nina, you Achieve More Inspired Results!
408-353-1943
www.ninaamir.com
nina@ninaamir.com

Bestselling author of eight books including:

Contact her if you are interested in:
  • Author Coaching
  • Blog or Blog-to-Book Coaching
  • High Performance Coaching


http://www.nonfictionwritersuniversity.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 multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; 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, September 13, 2016

My Favorite $5 Promotion!


I generally advise against spending hard-earned royalty money on displaying books at book fairs unless the author can be there to schmooze with readers and use some of the other benefits that book fairs offer, but I trust the fairs directed by Valerie Allen. She and her staff even send photographs of the display of your book after the fair is over!  Valerie has another one coming and I encourage you to pop for that $5 (plus the cost of sign and handouts, business cards, or bookmarks--and the display book!) Here is the information on it.  If you decide to do it, please tell her I sent you!

Valerie Allen, of AuthorsForAuthors.com says, "Authors can have their book(s) on display for two days at the Meet the Authors' Book Fair November 19 & 20, 2016 in Melbourne, FL. For a frugal fee of $5.00 (per book,) your book(s) will be displayed face-out for attendees to peruse and they can pick up your business cards. Your book and materials will be returned if you enclose a SASE. If not, your book will get another promo as a door prize or gift basket at other author/book events.

"The Meet the Authors' Book Fair is held annually in conjunction with the ArtWorks Festival in the Eau Gallie Civic Auditorium. The streets are blocked off to traffic and thousands come to enjoy the book fair, judged art exhibits, sidewalk art, food trucks, and outdoor music and theater productions for two days. It is quite an event!

"Please join our many Florida authors, as well as those from AR, AZ, CA, IN, OH, PA, and VA who have previously taken advantage of this marketing opportunity. 

For more information go to AuthorsForAuthors.com. Please complete the registration form or contact Valerie at VAllenWriter@gmail.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 multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; 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 .

Saturday, September 10, 2016

L. Diane Wolf Shares Her Ideas for Promotional Swag

Though the second edition of my multi award-winning #TheFrugalBookPromoter (http://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromo) has a whole section on promotional materials and how to use them, I am always looking for new resources. I especially like custom jewelry as an idea for "swag" as Diane  calls it. I guess jewelry is truly "swag," as opposed to the stuff that ends up cluttering drawers.  Here Diane tells you a little more about her new service for the authors she publishes with her Dancing Lemur Press and others--just because she has one of those inclusive hearts I admire! 

Using Unique Book Swag

From L. Diane Wolf,, author and publisher at Dancing Lemur Press

Handing out bookmarks and giving one’s book away as a prize are standard procedures. One helps people remember the book and the other encourages reviews. But since everyone does it, why not dress it up a bit with some really unique swag?

The goal is to promote the book and the best way to do that is to feature the cover, either alone or with text like an ad. What would you like to put your cover on? A t-shirt, mouse pad, mug, tote bag, or magnet? Dancing Lemur Press has created all of those and they each made for a unique giveaway item. Most recently, we had playing cards made featuring several of our titles, and the authors got a great response.

There are many companies online that will let you personalize items. We’ve used Zazzle and Winkflash and both produce quality products. You can also order key chains, calendars, luggage tags, hats, coasters, ornaments - whatever your cover would look good on and be of use to someone.

You can also custom design items unique to your book’s story. Custom jewelry is a great item if a piece is integral to the storyline. Perhaps making a stuffed toy of a creature in the book? Get creative and think of what item you could make a reality.

So, the next time you plan a giveaway, look for something that will stand out and be remembered!

https://www.winkflash.com/

MORE ABOUT TODAY'S CONTRIBUTOR

L. Diane Wolfe

Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the National Speakers Association. She conducts seminars on book publishing, promoting, leadership, and goal-setting, and she offers book formatting and author consultation. Wolfe owns Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and is the author of seven books, including two non-fiction titles and a NA/YA series, The Circle of Friends. She travels for media interviews and speaking engagements, maintains numerous websites and blogs, (including the Insecure Writer’s Support Group) and contributes to several other sites and newsletters.

http://www.spunkonastick.net/ - Spunk On A Stick
http://www.dancinglemurpressllc.com/ - Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.


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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 multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; 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 .

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