The Frugal Book Promoter

Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Publisher: Modern History Press
Genre: Writing / Promotion
ISBN: 978-1-61599-468-7
Pages: 292
Price: $24.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

If you think the best way to promote your book is to find a good publisher to handle it for you, then this book is not for you. The best way to promote your book is to do it yourself – and the more frugally, the better! And the best place to start is The Frugal Book Promoter.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson has developed a well-rounded plan to get the word out about your book without breaking the bank. She’ll teach you how to develop your own mailing list, build a media kit, and create opportunities for speaking events, along with many other tips and tricks to let the world know about you and your book. These tips are a goldmine of information, carefully spelled out and ready for you to use in your marketing efforts.

Book promotion can seem scary to newbies, but with The Frugal Book Promoter as your guide, your success is almost guaranteed. Follow these tips and watch your book sales skyrocket!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

self improvement, writing

Writing for Bliss

Author: Diana Raab, PhD
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
Genre: Writing / Self-help
ISBN: 978-1-61599-323-9
Pages: 238
Price: $21.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Writing a memoir strictly for your own eyes can be an interesting ramble down memory lane. But writing one that you plan to market and sell will involve some very different techniques. Whichever option you’re thinking of pursuing, Writing for Bliss is there to guide you.

The introduction offers the concepts of writing for healing, therapy, and transformation, as you allow yourself the blissful action of putting your thoughts on paper. The following sections lead you through the phases of preparing to write, cultivating self-awareness, speaking your truth, examining your life, finding your form, unleashing with poetry, and sharing your writing. Throughout the book, the author shares some of her experiences in writing her own story, along with several writing prompts to get you started. And once you have something on paper, she helps you decide what sensitive information to include and guides you through the process of organizing it into a format that readers expect to see.

Diana Raab has first-hand experience in writing about her own life and sharing it with the public. In this book, she’s written a wonderful guide for those of us who don’t have the faintest idea of where to start. If you’re thinking of putting the story of your life on paper, Writing for Bliss would be a great resource to use.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

creativity, writing

The Writer’s Roadmap

Author: Leigh Shulman
Publisher: The Future is Red
Genre: Writing
ISBN: 978-0-9996973-0-6
Pages: 106
Price: $12.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Building the perfect writing life may seem out of reach – but it can be done, if you have the right plan. Leigh Shulman is living the life of her dreams, and she wants to share her secrets with other writers.

Using what she calls the OGSM, she guides writers through a step-by-step method of planning their ideal writing life. First, the Objective defines, in one sentence, what an ideal writing life looks like. Then Goals are the dream projects that support it. Strategy is the itemized list of things that need to be accomplished. And Measures provide feedback on whether the Strategies are working.

At each step in building the writer’s own OGSM, Shulman asks probing questions designed for thoughtful rumination. Blank pages provided in the book are a perfect place to make note of these answers.

Shulman acknowledges the realities of work, family, and other time constraints that keep writers away from the page. But this OGSM process allows for all aspects of a writer’s life – not just writing. She also has created a writing group called The Workshop where writers can network and continue to learn from each other. I highly recommend The Writer’s Roadmap to all writers who want a better focus in their writing life.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers: Vol 3)

Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Writing / Marketing
ISBN: 978-1-5369-4837-0
Pages: 340
Price: $17.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Carolyn Howard-Johnson has become the go-to guru for information on writing and promoting your book frugally. Her latest installment in this series focuses on getting and effectively using book reviews. Not surprisingly, she shows us how to get them ethically and for not much more than the cost of a book mailed to the reviewer’s address.

As a book reviewer, I read this book with a critical eye, hoping Howard-Johnson would touch on some of the important things I wish authors would do in promoting their books. Simple things like not assuming your reviewer will settle for an electronic copy (I don’t), thanking the reviewer for taking the time to read your book and write the review, and other assorted niceties go a long way. Thankfully, she jumps on these and adds a whole bunch more, which left me with a big smile on my face.

But besides getting a review posted on a website or Amazon, reviews can be used for so much more in promoting your book. Howard-Johnson shows us how to use them to encourage people to purchase a book or even get more reviews. Reviews drive sales, so the more we can accumulate, the better.

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is an easy read, packed with a wealth of suggestions and guidance in gathering reviews to help promote your book. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, writing

Writing With Rosie: You Can Write a Story Too

Writing With Rosie
Author: Patricia Reilly Giff
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Writing / Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-3656-9
Pages: 80
Price: $15.95

Buy it at Amazon

After reading novels that captivate their attention and transport them to new worlds, kids may wonder what, exactly, is involved in writing – and if they might be able to do it, too. Patricia Reilly Giff addresses these budding novelists in Writing With Rosie: You Can Write a Story Too.

Beginning with the story’s main character, she takes kids through the process of putting him in a place and creating a problem for him. Since he’ll be talking to the other characters, she shows kids how to create dialogue while juggling action and description around the conversation. His problem needs to be huge, so he’s going to worry about it, and it needs to keep getting worse. Finally, the main character should solve the problem by himself, changing in the process.

Using examples from her own novels, along with amusing anecdotes involving Rosie, her golden retriever, Giff provides an entertaining and informative guide to writing a story. The step by step structure with breaks for kids to try out the techniques makes it perfect for classroom use. Kids with a desire to begin writing their own stories will enjoy Giff’s laid-back style and encouragement.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Before You Write Your Novel

Before You Write Your Novel
Author: James McCreet
Publisher: Routledge
Genre: Creative Writing
ISBN: 978-1-138-18673-6
Pages: 214
Price: $25.95

Buy it at Amazon

First-time novelists sometimes struggle with the prospect of writing a book. There are so many decisions to be made, and without a plan, it’s easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed. Fortunately, Before You Write Your Novel: Essential Skills for the First-Time Novelist addresses these questions and help authors stay on the right track.

In a step-by-step manner, James McCreet walks first-time novelists through the creative process. First off, he asks how ready the author is – if he has the necessary skills and determination to complete the work. Then he looks at the idea – is it enough to carry a whole novel or does it need to be fleshed out a bit more? Story building, plots, subplots, narrative approaches, and other construction elements are covered, as McCreet dissects a few sample novels. Finally, he pulls this all together in an overview of the novel outlining process.

Those who like to work with outlines will find McCreet’s approach extremely helpful, as he lays everything out for the author to follow along. Those who prefer the “pantster” approach will probably find this information more useful at the time of revision. No matter which camp you belong to, this is a great how-to book for any author to add to his writing toolbox.

Reviewer: Alice Berger