It often comes as a shock to new authors that they are required to spend at least as much time on promoting their books as they do writing them. At the next Book ‘Em North Carolina event on Feb. 23, we’ll have one of this country’s premier book promoters coming all the way from California, Carolyn Howard-Johnson.
Carolyn is the award-winning author of numerous books, including “The Frugal Book Promoter,” named the best business book by USA Books News and the Irwin Award. The book recently received first place for the Reader Views award.
Carolyn is also the author of “The Frugal Editor,” which won the Readers’ Views Literary Award and a marketing award from New Generation Indie Book Awards.
Carolyn says she had to love marketing. She owned a chain of retail stores for a long time and retail fails if it isn’t marketed. So does a writing career.
Her husband, who is also an author, studied marketing in college — she watched him put himself through school by writing ads and setting up campaigns for small local businesses. They both eventually worked in the newspaper business, which was excellent training for learning what journalists want and need and how important timing is.
Writers should be concerned about marketing because, even if someone else is helping, they won’t have the passion for it that the writer will. Sometimes promotional efforts can cost a lot of money, sometimes to no avail. But Carolyn believes that free or nearly free is often better than paid. And she maintains there’s really no point in paying someone to do what we can do for ourselves for free.
Carolyn acknowledges that book promotion can take over your life. That’s why authors need to choose techniques that are right for their genres and their personalities. It can be fun if you choose a marketing plan that fits your interests. There’s a whole chapter in “The Frugal Book Promoter” on promoting by doing what we love — which is to write!
Websites are important parts of promotion and there are lots of ways to get a website for free. Wordpress.com is a blog service that can double as a website. Also available are sites like AuthorsDen.com or RedRoom.com. Some authors never need anything more. Some authors who get published by huge publishers may get a website provided for them — because these publishers know how important they are.
In addition to her book awards, Carolyn is also the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, the Book Publicists of Southern California’s Irwin 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 14 women of “San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen.” She is also an instructor for the University of California, Los Angeles Extension’s world-renowned Writers’ Program.
Make plans to join Carolyn Howard-Johnson and more than 75 authors, publishers, publicists and literary agents at Book ‘Em North Carolina. For information on Carolyn, visit her website at howtodoitfrugally.com.
p.m.terrell is the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation. Visit www.bookemnc.org for more information, including the full lineup of participants at the next Book ‘Em North Carolina event.