Friday, November 6, 2009

Sharing with Writers Carolyn Howard Johnson

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November 7, 2009
Sharing with Writers

A newsletter that is also a community. Share your ideas. Learn from theirs! Associated with the multi award - winning series of HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers,

From the Desks of
Carolyn Howard - Johnson
and Sharing with Writers Subscribers

In the spirit of the advice I give in the Frugal Editor - - that is to use an extra pair of eyes whenever possible - - this newsletter is voluntarily copyedited by Mindy Phillips Lawrence ~ ~ I also tell writers to be patient with other writers when they make editing boo - boos. We're all human. This letter comes out weekly (except when I'm traveling or on deadline) and it's long!
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Regular Features:
This is your AllMarketing Edition. Many of the regular features of Sharing with Writers are not included in this edition.

~Note from Carolyn
~Letter - to - the - Editor
~Thank Yous (where you also find leads and great resources!) ~Tips and News Galore! (They're scattered, you'll just have to find
~Author Successes
~On Poetry
~Carolyn's Appearances and Teaching
~Wordstuff ™
~ Dilbert's Take on Using Positive Words in Your Marketing
~Watching Trends to Plan Your Writing Career
~Contest and the Real Winners
~Marketing with Tip Sheets

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Note from Carolyn

Dear Subscribers:

This is your yearly AllMarketing Edition of Sharing with Writers! YessSS!
AlllMarketing of books but also the basic principles of marketing, the stuff all marketing is made of (and that includes sub - disciplines like publicity and promotion).

Many writers, of course, already have marketing skills from the world of business or their "real life." Many more (I believe) have little or none and even have skewed ideas and opinions of marketing. Marketing is really about knowing people, caring about them, knowing what we want to sell, caring about it and combining the two. It is not about selling somebody something they don't want or can't use. Thus, there is no reason to feel uncomfortable about marketing (or "selling somebody something") if we know how to do it.

Amazingly, the recession has helped more companies and other entities including prestigious colleges like University of California at Berkeley and Columbia sell their products the right way. They have come together with a "powerful Executive MBA program."

Here's what you can copy from them:

1. They have come together. That's right. They are more powerful together than apart, even being the great educational powerhouses that they are separately.
2. They are reaching out to a niche market (Chris Anderson, author of Long Tail and Free calls it the long tail theory) - - that is they're appealing to executives.
3. They are selling something of real value specifically to those people.
4. They are coming to their audience in as many ways as possible. In this case, they are taking seminars and classes to specific areas, sometimes a long way from their base campuses (Orange County, Los Angeles, etc.) In other words, they are giving their customers what they need where they need it. (With books we should be giving our customers what they need where they need it including Kindle and other readers, paperback, even in some cases, blogged or broken down into white papers).
5. They are making it easy for people to buy their product (register for the classes) by giving them choices, too. Online is easy.
6. And they are advertising strategically (which only means carefully).
They are advertising on newspaper pages read by the executives they are targeting - - the business sections in the areas where they will be holding their seminars and classes.
7. They have designed their programs to make learning as easy as possible for the people they are trying to attract. That's content. For you, that would mean a well - designed (attractive), easy - to - read format in your book. If your book is published traditionally, you probably think you don't need to worry much about that, but here are the facts. Traditional publishers can be a bit stodgy (or, ahem! traditional). The population is aging. Open up the margins a tad. Enlarge the print a bit. Use page designs, front - and backmatter that helps sell what you are selling from poetry to nonfiction how - to.

Naturally, I'd like you to learn how to do some of these things with this newsletter. Naturally I'd like you to learn how to apply the things you're learning by reading my HowToDoItFrugally books ( and

But really, I don't care that much where you get your information as long as you get it from people who really know what they're doing. That's because I do care. I want you to do it. There are lots of good information out there and I always list them - - including my competitors' books - - in the back of my books. Because just as Berkeley and Columbia are reaching us, we discover we work better together than apart.

Keep Writing, Promoting and Yes, Editing, Too!
Carolyn Howard - Johnson

PS: In the nature of my work - together - and - share - rule, here is a recommendation for one of the new books I've read lately that I like.
Mostly. Except for the book's take on "vanity publishing" (which it is right about at its roots but you know how I am about the term "vanity.").
The book is Become a Real Self - Publisher by Michael N. Marcus. And even his discussion on "vanity" will help clarify. Just let's call them what they are. Subsidy - and/or Partner - publishing. "Vanity" has a religious connotation, a negative one. Let's get rid of it once and for all. Let's also learn not to condemn a good book because of a small disagreement.
Michael N. Marcus's Become a Real Self Publisher is one whale of a good information source for anyone who has decided on a do - it - yourself, take control kind of path.

Please note the new Resource for Writers page on Contests at

Letters - to - the Editor
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Carolyn, This is The Place is so motivating! It’s an excellent lesson in tolerance or, more than that, acceptance. I think it’s going to go in my pile of books to dissect and study. Few books make it to that pile. I’m reading David Balducci now (two books) and have to say he’s good but won’t go in my pile (Dan Brown made it because of the intricacy of his plot in The DaVinci Code). What my reading now is teaching me is to have depth to my writing and not just random characters doing stuff. Your book, Laila Lalami’s book and V.I. Naipaul’s book all show characters operating in a backdrop of either history, geography, religion or something larger than just an individual’s story. That’s what I am seeking to do with my novel…still too underdeveloped to write.
Thought you’d like to know.
Mindy Lawrence, Publisher THINKING STONE PRESS

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Dear Carolyn,

RE: Marketing S c @ ms:

Remember when the guy from Barcelona ordered 100 books from me?

1 - He wasn't willing to use my PayPal
2 - When I called up a merchant account to take his credit card, the woman told me that she and her husband had been sca mm ed by someone. They had cleared his credit card, next shipped their books to this person and then the credit card was rescinded.
3 - I looked up the company in Barcelona. The guy's e - mail address was completely unrelated to their address, which he had copied and pasted.
4 - So glad I trusted my intuition and had it confirmed by the merchant account person and by you!

xox Pamela Kelly / Author of Award - Winning "Speak with Passion, Speak with Power!" Coaching and Training that Unleashes Your Communication Super Powers; Presentations - Accent Reduction - Interviews - Whole Life Coaching, www.speak - with -,,
Note: When I was a retailer (see my book 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) we ran into a similar scam. This person came into our store in person, though, and shipped a $12,000 Lladro sculpture to Hawaii. We were out the sculpture and considerable shipping costs. It's the old cancel - the - credit - card scam. Report all such activity to your state's attorney general after making an effort to recover your losses with the credit card company and the individual who purchased the item. Sometimes they catch them and, depending on your state, can recover three times the cost of the lost item plus legal fees and other monies.

Please pass this letter on to others. Unlike many, I do not mind if you use only portions of it as long as you credit the writers and include this subscribe information: "To subscribe to 'Sharing with Writers' send an e - mail to with 'Subscribe' in the subject line."

Tip: The Web means more and more people are getting more and more information. So, what you send out via e - mail should be short but you should do it frequently to keep yourself on your reader’s radar and not too far from the minds of feature editors, etc. Media releases go out often, too, from about 400 words to one page. Never longer.

Please paste this little blurb - - perhaps with a little endorsement - - in your newsletter or website: To subscribe to Sharing with Writers send an e - mail with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to or go to for an auto subscribe box.

Tip: Go to Penny Sansevieri’s article on “20 Ways to Get Massive Traffic to your Web site.” The only tip I don’t massively endorse is getting listed on directories (like the old Yellow Pages but online at places like Yahoo). Other experts suggest that the Web has changed and the influence of directories has waned. Your time might be better spent elsewhere.

To nominate Sharing with Writers; The Frugal, Smart and Tuned - In Editor; or HowToDoItFrugally Web site Writer's Digest's 101 Best for 2010, please send your nomination to: with "101 Websites" in the subject line. January 1, 2010 is the deadline.

What To Do with Old, Stale Books . . .
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Suze Orman of CNN and economics fame was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show; there she offered a f r ^^ download of the e - book version of her year - old book and she limited the time to two days. Over a million downloaded it and the publicity didn’t cost a cent or use a shred of paper or ink (at least not at her end!). So you don’t have Oprah networking for you? You could still do it yourself. What a way to get the buzz going. In fact, one could do it with a new book, too, as a pre - publish promotion.

My blog, War, Peace, Tolerance and Our Soldiers is where I get to nag and rag and try to make things better for our troops and maybe for the world.
I'd love to have you leave a comment.

Tip: Because I just released 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, the idea that authors are by necessity retailers occurs to me. So why not partner with an independent retailer offer to sponsor a coupon promotion (or share in the cost). They send out a flier with a coupon and you get 1/3 of the space on that flier or coupon for your book cover. It will help if you choose a retailer that is somehow a fit for your book. And, yes, this could work well for writers of fiction. Even poetry. A lingerie shop might love to partner with the author of a book of poetry for mothers, as an example.

No part of this newsletter is paid advertising. If you would like to advertise to subscribers, display ads are available at at less per year than most sites charge for a single month (see the advertising tab at the top of the page).

Quote: From an article by Bob Baker in SPAN Connections comes this quote:
[Highly successful authors] understand the self of self - promotion. No matter what level of success you attain, you will always be intimately involved in the promotion of your books . . . no one will ever promote you as passionately as you will. To succeed, get on friendlier terms with promotion.

===================================================== So you got As in English. You know grammar and spelling. That's great but an editor of you those skills alone doth not make. An editor knows formatting, front and backmatter, indexing, structure, the elements of fiction and on and on.
But mostly she'll see your manuscript in a fresh, new light. Learn how to hire a great editor and learn to be a better partner for any author, awful to superb, in The Frugal Editor (

In the News: E - book sales are up 73 % in October continuing a double - digit growth rate. They are still a small part of the book market but this aspect of books sales is growing while paperback sales shrunk 23%. All of my how - to books are available as Kindle and, yes, they sell now and then. I want to serve my readers the way they want to be served. What retailer in his right mind wants to turn away a sale?

===================================================== Recently Yvonne Perry, owner of WritersintheSky Creative Services, and I chatted about editing, everything from em - dashes to why what works on the Web doesn't work for you book's manuscript. Yvonne offers you the F r ^ ^ podcast on her blog: - you - have - questions - about - editing.html. You'll find other f r ^^ podcasts on writing on her blog, too.

On Marketing
Who Are the Real Winners?
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I think our culture is too tuned into #1 - - you know, that idea you haven't won unless you reach the very top, as evidenced by our awards. I mean, the poor Oscar nominees! Poooor, poooor them if they don't get to take home the naked gold man. A nomination isn't appreciation enough, I guess.

This cultural tendency appears in marketing, too. Authors try something and find it isn't immediately traceable to the sale of a book (or a great Amazon rating). Marketing isn't about one effort. Sure, use that number one spot as a goal but get grateful if your book hits the top 100 in its category!

We writers also need to be patting ourselves on the back more and praising one another more. Congrats to all of you, as an example, for hanging in there to learn more about your craft ~more about marketing. I know a winner when I see one, and it is you.


Subscribers who have websites or newsletters of their own may be interested in the Free Articles 4 Readers and Writers on my site, I try to add new articles to it frequently. If you don't see what you need for your blog or newsletter, just ask.

Tip: People do not want to buy bound pieces of paper with words printed on them - - they want advice, entertainment, hope, motivation, gain, protection from loss and other forms of emotional satisfaction. You will become more successful at marketing when you stop selling your books and begin selling what your books do for the people who read them. For free marketing tips, subscribe to The A Cappela Newsletter for Writers at (Submitted by Patrika Vaughn, your Author's Advocate.

Don't suffer with book proposals. You can be a pro with and investment of only 20 minutes and 49 cents with my Great First Impression Book Proposal Short. - First - Impression - Book - Proposal/dp/B000YG6O5U =====================================================

Watching Trends to Plan Marketing (and Your Writing Career) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Watching trends is an important aspect of planning your writing career and the marketing of it. Example: That cookbooks are among the most popular category among self publishers - - offerings at the Frankfurt fair have quadrupled in 1995 - - is valuable information. Such information has to be interpreted correctly, though. It could mean there is a glut of cookbooks and now's not the time to publish a new one. Or it could mean there is a demand and now is the perfect time.

More research needed. Publishers Weekly reports that in the recession, cookbook sales are up 4%. Research done!

Once interpreted or fully researched, this becomes information for planning what you will publish next. Or, if you have a cookbook, it could be information you'd want to plop into a media release along with details of your book. These are the kinds of information you'll want to search for to angle releases in a way that will interest editors. That's because just the launch of a book is not news these days!

Oh, another idea. Maybe now is the time to do a promotional cookbook like the one I did a few years ago. It was one of the best promotions I ever did and one of the longest lasting. Find an article on it at That page is full of articles for you to read or to use for your own marketing, your newsletters or blogs - - all free.

A general marketing rule is that a product must be seen seven times before it is purchased. That is just as true for books (because they are products, like it or not!). Let people see that book cover image! To do that, you are invited to advertise as a site sponsor at for only $25 to $30 a year. Yep, the frugal way!
Click on the Advertising tab at the top of the page or contact me personally at


Dilbert's Take on Using Positive Words in Your Marketing ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ In The Frugal Book Promoter I talk about how to use benefits to sell books and also how to do it by using the opposite tactic, that is to make people aware of how they'll suffer if they don't buy it.
Political machines and Fox News are using a lot of the latter. I have a favorite book (except for the politics) written by the man who advises the Republican party on marketing. It is called Words that Work by Dr. Frank Luntz and everyone who works with words (or watches the news) should read it to learn more about how the selection of one word and make or break a marketing (or political) campaign. It will also help people see how we are manipulated, but that's another topic.

There is a danger in using benefits as much as the opposite tactic. It was illustrated well in a recent Dilbert cartoon by Scott Adams:

The boss says "From now on we will refer to all of our problems as opportunities."

The secretary comes in, lays her hand gently on the boss's shoulder and says, "One of your idiot spawn was playing with the oven and burned down your house."

The rank and file employee takes a sip of coffee and says "Camping opportunity?"

I love this. Sometimes it's best to just call a problem and problem, not an opportunity or a challenge. Choosing words well works - - but it works both ways.

Available: http://www.tri - from Audio Divas on many aspects of building a writing career. Here is the page where you'll find the full list of the writer - related ones at http://www.tri - Titles include Contest Facts: How to Add Award - Winning to Your Name, Do It Yourself Indexing: The Way to Sell Your Book to Libraries, Schools and Anyone Else That Buys Nonfiction, Fury and
Destruction: How to Use Violence Effectively in Your Writing, and more.

Tip: What is superb marketing? Personal contact. Or, just contact that feels personal. Before a cruise my husband and I were called by Royal Caribbean to welcome us, wish us a good cruise. I kept waiting for the sales pitch. It never came. Do you think this got us off on the right foot? You bet it did. How can you let your readers know you're thinking about them? What is the most personal way you might approach that effort?

If you need help with a book proposal, try my “Great First Impression Book Proposal” method. It takes only 49 cents and 20 minutes to learn to do one right.

Q&A a la Ann Landers
Marketing with Tip Sheets
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Diana Dodson Asks:

I recently sent you a copy of my "Tip Sheet." I had told you that a paper had asked me for a press copy and we did not know what they meant by a “press copy.” The paper wanted a copy of my book to look at.

I did have another question though. I had thought about this when I was reading your book. If we sent tip sheets to newspapers, why would they necessarily want to use one, where they know nothing about the author or the book?

ANSWER: For them to be interested, you want to make you tips something that would interest the public. Or the specific audience of the media you are submitting to. Example, one of my tip sheets is on “Everything You Wanted to Know about Utah but Were Afraid to Ask.” I only send it out right after there is a big brouhaha in the news about polygamy or some such thing. My novel This Is the Place is set in Utah. So the tips aren't about the book but they are related to the book.

Diana asks:

Is there a form letter that should be included with the Tip Sheet?

ANSWER: You may adapt the query letter examples I’ve given in both The Frugal Editor and The Frugal Book Promoter (they’re all a little different). You tailor them to become a query for your tip sheet.
Remember, with a tip sheet you are asking for something to be published.
Thus it is a query letter, not a cover letter. There is no possible way to cover all the exigencies for anything an author might submit for consideration to a variety of people including agents, editors and publishers. Thus, the ones in both books are templates and you will need to make them fit your different needs.

Diana asks:

Do you feel papers will put these in, even if they know nothing about you?

ANSWER: When you write a query letter you let the editors know a little about you. Did you see the section on building relationships with editors in my book? If you submit releases, tips sheets, etc often enough, eventually they will come to recognize you. And, of course, the whole idea of tips sheets is that editors often need - - really need - - little fillers. So if a tip sheet that might appeal to their audience comes along, they very well might use it, whether they know you or not. Don’t forget to tell them they can use it at no charge and be sure to include a
25 word or less credit line, usually only your name, the title of your book and maybe your e - mail or Web site.

Reciprocal Links: Many subscribers are in a position to cross promote. Let me know if you would like to trade some recommendation or promotion for any of my books - - from the HowToDoItFrugally series to my chapbook of poetry - - for a place on my Resources for Writers or Resources for Readers pages on

Tip: BISAC (Book industry Standards and Communications Codes) and BISG lets others market your book more easily. If you self - or subsidy - publish, know what they do! You may need to guide your publisher through the process. It's a big subject so just Google "BISAC" and keep reading.

Tip: Make marketing with a newsletter or blog easier. Use my Free Content page at In other words, don’t let the work keep you from marketing effectively. Let your friends share the load. It’s a win - win that way. Find a huge selection at

The New Book Review is a service of this newsletter. It allows authors to get more exposure from their favorite review and reviewers a chance to have more readers see their reviews - - with links, of course. Please check the guidelines on the blog site at

Tip: When you query for a conference or speaking gig, don't give your program director too many choices. Ditto for when you offer freebies on your Web site, etc. You know how you give toddlers a choice of this or that? When you’re trying to sell something, it’s possible that narrowing down to two choices won’t be narrow enough, but two is usually the maximum you should throw out there.


Carolyn's Appearances and Teaching
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 The Muse Online Writers Conference cosponsored by Lea Schizas and Carolyn Howard - Johnson is now taking reservations for the f r ^ ^ event in October of 2010.

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Carolyn Howard–Johnson discusses Mormon life and history and how she melded the two into her gripping book, This is the Place, on the History Czar, aka Paul Bruno, on March 5, 2010, at 9:00 am Pacific at The History Czar is the Internet’s premier talk radio program covering all areas of history. You'll find the interview at after March 5. Listen to current History Czar shows at or at the show’s blog at Ask to be on Paul's notification list for free podcasts.

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Carolyn Howard - Johnson offers two seminars at the f r ^ ^ Catholic Writers Conference on Monday March 1. Your Query Letters Perfected:
Straight from the Mouths of Literary Agents is at 9 and a casual chat,
Twitter: How Writers Can Make It Work for Them, is at 10. The conference is online from Feb 26 to March 5 and is open to everyone.

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Carolyn Howard Johnson, author of 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, will make a guest appearance on Paul Bruno's Career Czar® radio program. We'll talk making retailing work in a down economy and how authors can make their case to retailers to let them boost profits with a book signing on December 17, 2010 at 10:00 am Pacific at You can also listen at www.alltalkradio./careerczar/career121710.mp3.In the meantime, listen to his other shows at or at the show's blog at Ask to be on Paul's notification list for free podcasts.

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Carolyn Howard - Johnson will be a featured speaker at the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, in the fall of 2010. Find information on that at This active group invites writers from everywhere to join. Find their blog at

Sign up to receive a copy of my Sharing with Writers blog in your e - mail box. It is a focused blog on all things related to writing and publishing.
Go to Sign up in the left hand column. Find related resources by scrolling to the bottom of the blog.

Wordstuff ™

Something to Make Writers Smile
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(Definitions in the next few newsletters are from You might have some favorite neologisms, metaphors or similes that make you smile. If so, please

"FAMILY PLANNING: the art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster.”

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Essential Book and Record Keeping:

This is a place to share with others and learn from others.

Although I do attempt to verify information used within this newsletter's pages, Sharing with Writers does not guarantee entities or information.
Subscribers should research resources.

To submit information articles, tips or other information, e - mail Carolyn at Please put "Submission: Sharing with Writers"
in the subject line.

If you do not care to receive this newsletter, send an e - mail to with "Unsubscribe” in the subject line, but please, please don't tell me you've given up writing or promoting!

To subscribe to Sharing with Writers send an e - mail with "Subscribe" in the subject line to::

Please pass this newsletter to friends or e - groups. It needn't be pasted in its complete form, but please credit this newsletter, and the individual contributors with anything you snip and paste.

Ordering Information:
Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't The e - book at

The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success

The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need To Know About Selling Your Book in 20 Minutes or Less - First - Impression - Book - Proposal/dp/B000YG6O5U/

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

To learn more about This Is the Place,
Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, Tracings, and She Wore Emerald Then www.carolynhoward -

She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections on Motherhood, a chapbook of poetry coauthored with Magdalena Ball.

Tracings, a chapbook of poetry (Finishing Line Press)

Contact Information
http://carolynhoward - (literary) (all things about writing)

Blogs:, a blog on all things publishing, all things grammatical and ungrammatical, a blog focused on YOUR reviews, a blog focused on editing, formatting and craft, War. Peace. Tolerance. And Our Soldiers., a blog where you can learn to get some mojo behind your own booth by learning from the successes and mistakes of others.

Tweeting at:

Visit Carolyn HowardJohnson at:

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Connie Gotsch Host Write On Four Corners KSJE FM, Farmington NM Author two award winning novels Snap Me a Future and A Mouthful of Shell available

Always in Print ‘Cuz They’re Print on Demand!

And now out! Belle’s Star,’ a youth novel from Artemesia Press at and, and through your local book store.

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