A review of The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Throughout the book are quotes and suggestions from well known self-publicists and experts in the publicity field, along with a wealth of anecdotal information from Howard-Johnson’s own considerable experience. There are lots of examples, as well as some practical templates that readers can modify to suit their own needs, checklists, and a wealth of hyperlinks to other sources, some well known and some fairly secret.

Reviewed by Magdalena Ball

The Frugal Book Promoter
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Star Publish & Venus Romance
ISBN 1-932992-11-8, July 2004
248 page E-book, $9.00usd

I can’t think of a better book promoter than Carolyn Howard-Johnson. She really practices what she preaches, sending out ceaseless media releases, making every word she writes counts, branding herself through the judicious and regular use of the byline, and networking in a kindly, and effective way that extends way beyond the boundaries of her immediate location. If you think that this kind of promotion is an incidental part of your new book’s life, think again. As Howard-Johnson knows better than anyone, it simply isn’t enough to rely on a publisher to publicise your book. Small publishers can’t afford to, and large ones will only spend big dollars on famous names. As with all of Howard-Johnson’s work, The Frugal Book Promoter is written in clear, down to earth prose which will make you feel as though you’ve known the author all your life. The book is full of handy, easy to remember tip sheets and ideas which can be as simple as pulling out an old piece of work, reworking it, and sending it off to a new market, or as complex as managing an entire book launch, or putting together a media kit:

How does this writing and publishing help you promote your book? It’s all about something called branding (see chapter two). Every time your byline appears, you are making editors, agents, webmasters, and other writers aware of you and what you do. Every time you are published, for pay or not, your tagline appears complete with a link to your website, your e-mail address or a bookseller’s site. Every time you are published, that achievement becomes part of your résumé, part of your media kit, part of the confidence you need to promote with your chin up and a brave smile on your face.

The Frugal Book Promoter covers things like the nature of Public Relations, the all-important concept of self-branding, taglines, pulling together a pitch, a step by step guide to building a media kit, building credentials, using other forms of writing to sell your book, creating a newsletter, using writer’s conferences, networking, setting up a website, creating mailing lists, working with contracts, whether you should hire a publicist, how to design a good book cover, using blurbs, getting a professional photo, using promotional items, how to capture the publicity editor’s attention, using postcards, obtaining and using book reviews, getting media interviews, television and radio, book expos, reading groups, book signings, using free e-books, and lots more. Throughout the book are quotes and suggestions from well known self-publicists and experts in the publicity field, along with a wealth of anecdotal information from Howard-Johnson’s own considerable experience. There are lots of examples, as well as some practical templates that readers can modify to suit their own needs, checklists, and a wealth of hyperlinks to other sources, some well known and some fairly secret.

There aren’t many books on this topic on the market, and Howard-Johnson’s is a very practical and easy to use guide which every new author should have. Don’t wait until your book is on the market before you get hold of the Frugal Book Promoter. Howard-Johnson makes the point that it is never too early to begin branding yourself and working the media, and suggests putting your media kit together before you finish your book. Nor do you need to spend a fortune to get your name and book out in the public eye. The low cost, and even fun suggestions in this book are worth media gold.

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