Saturday, October 12, 2013

St. George Book Festival Interview with Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s several careers prepared her for promoting her own books and those of others. She was the youngest person ever hired as a staff writer for the Salt Lake Tribune—“A Great Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper”—where she wrote features for the society page and a column under the name of Debra Paige. That gave her insight into the needs of editors, the very people authors must work with to get free ink. Being familiar with the way news is handled helps her see how different books fit into different news cycles.

Later, in New York, she was an editorial assistant at Good Housekeeping Magazine. She also handled accounts for fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert who instituted the first Ten Best Dressed List. There she moved from reading effective media releases (then called press releases) to writing them for celebrity designers of the day including Pauline Trigere, Rudy Gernreich, and Christian Dior, and producing photo shoots for Lambert’s clients.

She has also worked as columnist, reviewer, and staff writer for the Pasadena Star-News, Home Décor Buyer, the Glendale News-Press (an affiliate of the LA Times), Myshelf.com, and others and has appeared in commercials and on dozens of TV and radio shows.

She learned marketing skills both in college (University of Utah, and University of Southern California) and as founder and operator of a chain of retail stores. That molded her understanding of how authors might best partner with retailers to affect both of their bottom lines.

Carolyn’s experience in journalism and as a poet and author of fiction and nonfiction helped the multi award-winning author understand how different genres can be marketed more effectively. She has been an instructor for UCLA Extension’s renowned Writers’ Program since 2003 and has studied writing at Cambridge University, United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University in Prague.

She turned her knowledge toward helping other writers with her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Her marketing campaign for the second book in that series, The Frugal Editor won the New Generation Indie Best Book Award. She also has a multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books for retailers.

Howard-Johnson was honored as Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by California Legislature members Carol Liu, Dario Frommer, and Jack Scott. She received her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing and the Diamond Award in Arts and Culture from her community's Library and Arts and Culture Commission. She was named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of fourteen women of “San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and Delta Gamma, a national fraternity of women, honored her with their Oxford Award.

Carolyn is an actor who has appeared in ads for Apple, Lenscrafters, Time-Life CDs and Disney Cruises (Japan).

Born and raised in Utah, Howard-Johnson raised her own family in sunny Southern California.

What are three words that describe you?
I persevere. I’m positive and I love language. Does “love language” count as two words?

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely not a night owl. My typos start showing up.

What is your favorite food?
Anything with tons of calories. Put me down for tiramisu.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I have visited 81 countries and all continents but Antarctica (though I’ve been close!). I even have a travel page on my Web site: http://howotodoitfrugally.com/travels_with_carolyn.htm.  One place that is still on my to-do list is several countries on the west coast of Africa.

Do you listen to music while writing?
No, I like it silent. Even my Great Dane knows not to bark.

What's your favorite book or who is your favorite writer?
I loved and was influenced most by Anna Karenina, To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye.

Can you tell us a bit about your latest manuscript?
So glad you asked. My novel This Land Divided is set in a suburb of Salt Lake City and is being shopped by my sweetie agent Terrie Wolf.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
So much! So much that my The Frugal Book Promoter (http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo)  is—out of necessity—in its second edition and I’m working on a second edition of The Frugal Editor.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I prefer to let the story flow but I’m changing a bit on that point.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story? 
They beg me to make them more interesting—more devious, angrier. They also want to look deeper into their psyches and reveal that to my readers.

Is there anything you would do differently?
I wouldn’t take so much time off from my writing at midlife.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
I’m not just saying this. Utah has influence my writing—fiction and poetry—the most. We have a unique culture and it gets neglected in American literature. The South gets most of the attention. And New York.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Be passionate about your writing.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon publication if any:
The coming 2nd edition of my The Frugal Editor. It should be available by November.
The Frugal Editor:
Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success
From the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers
Originally Red Engine Press.
Awards: Winner USA Book News, Reader Views Literary Award, New Generation Marketing Award     
ISBN: 9780978515874
To order for Kindle: http://budurl.com/FrugalEditorKindle 

There are gremlins out there determined to keep your work from being published, your book from being promoted. Resolved to embarrass you before the gatekeepers who can turn the key of success for you—they lurk in your subconscious and the depths of your computer programs. Whether you are a new or experienced author, The Frugal Editor will help you present whistle-clean copy (from a one-page cover letter to your entire manuscript) to those who have the power to say “yea” or “nay.”

“Absolutely essential for beginning writers and a necessary reminder for the more advanced.  The mentor you've been looking for.  This book won't collect dust!”~Christina Francine, review for Fjords Review

"Using the basic computer and editing tricks from The Frugal Editor, authors can prevent headaches and save themselves time—and even money—during the editing process. It’s well worth your effort to learn them." ~ Barbara McNichol, Barbara McNichol Editorial


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List of previous books if any:
The Frugal Book Promoter:
How to get nearly free publicity on your own or partnering with your publisher
(Second Edition).
From the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers
First Edition Awards: Winner USA Book News, coveted Irwin award
Award for Second Edition: USA Book News winner, silver medal from Military Writers Society of America
ISBN: 9781463743291
To order paperback from Amazon: http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo
To order for Kindle and other e-readers: http://budurl.com/FrugalBkProKindle
Order e-book from Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/3656422

For only a few cents a day The Frugal Book Promoter assures your book the best possible start in life. Full of nitty-gritty how-tos for getting nearly-free publicity, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, an instructor for UCLA’s Writers’ Program and former publicist and journalist, shares her professional experience as well as practical tips gleaned from the successes of her own book campaigns. She tells authors how to do what their publishers can’t or won’t and why authors can often do their own promotion better than a PR professional. The first edition is a multi award winner and the second edition is a USA Book News winner. It is updated and expanded by more than 100 pages.

A recommendation from BarnesandNobel.com: Feather Schwartz Foster, an author, September 9, 2004, 5 out of 5 stars
Packed With Wonderful Information! For anyone who has written a book of any kind - this is a must-have, and must-keep guide! Every chapter is filled with insights and how-tos and a whole bunch of where to finds!”

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Other Books in the Multi Award-Winning
HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers

The Frugal Editor:
Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success
From the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers
Originally Red Engine Press.
Awards: Winner USA Book News, Reader Views Literary Award, New Generation Marketing Award     
ISBN: 9780978515874
To order for Kindle: http://budurl.com/FrugalEditorKindle 

There are gremlins out there determined to keep your work from being published, your book from being promoted. Resolved to embarrass you before the gatekeepers who can turn the key of success for you—they lurk in your subconscious and the depths of your computer programs. Whether you are a new or experienced author, The Frugal Editor will help you present whistle-clean copy (from a one-page cover letter to your entire manuscript) to those who have the power to say “yea” or “nay.”

“Absolutely essential for beginning writers and a necessary reminder for the more advanced.  The mentor you've been looking for.  This book won't collect dust!”~Christina Francine, review for Fjords Review

"Using the basic computer and editing tricks from The Frugal Editor, authors can prevent headaches and save themselves time—and even money—during the editing process. It’s well worth your effort to learn them." ~ Barbara McNichol, Barbara McNichol Editorial


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Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers:
The Ultimate Frugal Booklet for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copy
From the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers
EAN-13: 9781450507653
Kindle Edition: EAN: B0042JT1UA
To order paperback: http://budurl.com/WordTrippersPB
To order for Kindle at http://budurl.com/WordtrippersKindle

June Casagrande, author of Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies (Penguin) and syndicated grammar columnist guru, says, “By creating a guide designed specifically to get writers past gatekeepers, Carolyn Howard-Johnson has created something of unmatched value: usage advice that cuts through the contentious world of grammar to offer real help. Writers polishing their manuscripts and query letters will find Howard-Johnson’s guide more useful than Strunk and White.”

This little booklet is carry-with-you protection against grammar gremlins and at the frugal price of $6.95.

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The Great First Impression Book Proposal:
Everything You Need To Know To Sell Your Book in 20 Minutes or Less
From the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers
ISBN: 1453690956
EAN-13: 9781453690956
Kindle Edition EAN: B0042JT1TG
To order paperback: http://budurl.com/BookProposals

The perfect learning experience for those who want to wow an editor in no time flat with only $6.95 out-of-pocket and 30 minutes out of a busy schedule.

This booklet is the result of multi award-winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s extensive work with clients who hate writing book proposals and hate learning how to write them even more. She found herself coaching them through the process rather than doing it for them, for who could possibly recreate the passion an author feels for his or her own book better than the author? In doing so, she found she had written a booklet—not a tome—that took her clients only about thirty minutes to absorb. Voila! The Great First Impression Book Proposal was born.

It was published by the Amazon Short program but when that program was discontinued, Howard-Johnson updated it and published it as both a paperback and an e-booklet.

Unsolicited Endorsements for The Great First Impression Book Proposal

“I just finished reading your Amazon Shorts, The Great First Impression Book Proposal. I like your style and encouragement. I was a bit intimidated about finishing my book proposal. I was thinking it had to be stiff and boring. I even have dialogue in it. I thought I’d have to cut it out. Now, I’ll probably leave it in.”
~Wanza Leftwich, author, blogger, thegospelwriter.blogspot.com

“I love [Great First Impression Book Proposal]! My husband was amazed at all the info crammed into this short. You could have charged a lot more. I just re-vamped my proposal to follow the guidelines in it for my latest book.”
~ Myrna Lou, Palmist/Psychic/Author
“Marketing is never easy… Well, it might be if you follow the easy steps Carolyn Howard-Johnson offers up in The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need to Know About Selling Your Book in Twenty Minutes or Less. Howard-Johnson’s [advice is] superior. It’s easy to understand, easy to implement, and even easier to read. (She means it when she says 20 minutes or less). She gives us even more: a list of other resources on book proposals. I will recommend this book to all of our authors and potential authors at LadybugPress.”
~ Georgia Jones, Editor in Chief, LadybugPress/NewVoices, Inc.


“Having paid thousands in tuition to learn what you have provided in your HowToDoItFrugally series of books for retailers, I can tell you right now, they are priceless! Great work!”
~ Anne L. Holmes, Boomer in Chief, National Association of Baby Boomer Womenwww.BoomerWomenSpeak.com

A Retailer’s Guide To Frugal In-Store Promotions:
How to Beat Out Competitors to Make Your Store the Go-To Place in Your Community
Publisher: HowToDoItFrugally
Awards: USA Book News finalist
ISBN: 9781441467249
To order paperback: www.budurl.com/RetailersGuide.
To order for Kindle: www.budurl.com/RetailersKindle

Retailers need more than crossed fingers to get and keep customers. In-store promotion—everything from in-store branding to events—is the most effective and economical way to do that. This book gives retailers the benefit of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s nearly three decades experience as founder and manager of her own chain of stores, a stint as a New York publicist and as a retail consultant and journalist. It is the first in the Survive and Thrive series for retailers in her USA Book News award-winning HowToDoItFrugally.com books.

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Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers:
Tweaking Your Tweets and Other Tips for Integrating Your Social Media
Publisher: HowToDoItFrugally Publishing
Awards: USA Book News finalist, Gold Meldal Winner from Military Writers Society of America
ISBN: 9781451546149
EAN: 9781451546149
Sponsored by Gift Shop Magazine: http://giftshopmag.com

Twitter has become the Web phenomenon of the decade even though many say they “don’t get it,” and even those who think they do “get it” appear to be missing something. Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers will help those with businesses—large or small, online of off—use Twitter in ways they never imagined by “doing it right” and integrating their efforts with all the other marketing they do. It gives retailers the benefit of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s nearly three decades experience as founder and manager of her own chain of stores, a stint as a New York publicist, retail consultant and journalist and a veteran Tweeter (if there can be such a thing as a veteran of such a new concept!). It is the second in the Survive and Thrive series for retailers in her USA Book News award-winning HowToDoItFrugally.com books.

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Your Blog, Your Business:
A Retailer’s Frugal Guide to Getting Customer Loyalty and Sales—Both In-Store and Online
Publisher: HowToDoItFrugally Publishing
Sponsored by Gift Shop Magazine: http://giftshopmag.com
ISBN: 9781451591040

Ahhh, the beauty of blogging! It is open to so many styles, so many approaches. Retailers can tailor their blogs to fit their branding and then connect them to everything else they’re doing with their Web sites and their social media from Facebook to LinkedIn to Twitter. A blog—done right—is promotion magic.


“Carolyn Howard-Johnson is like three poets plus two writers all wrapped into one.” ~Suzanne Lummis, poetry instructor for UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and honored LA poet.

This is the Place
AmErica House
Awards: Eight awards
ISBN: 1588513521
To order paperback: http://budurl.com/ThisIsThePlace 

 “When you live amidst beauty sometimes you don’t recognize discrimination
 and, if you do, you prefer not to acknowledge it.”

A young journalist realizes that because she is half Mormon and half Protestant she is not suitable material for love. She delves into her Mormon heritage and journals her way through prejudice into redemption. She learns to mend her own life when she finds she cannot mend her world. This novel, set in Salt Lake City in the 50s, reveals not only complexities of the heart but the secrets of what some consider a mysterious place and culture. This is the Place has won eight awards including the Critics’ Choice award.

“Howard-Johnson strengthens her novel with behind-the-scenes details of Mormon life and history in a book suitable for all collections, particularly those where . . . Orson Scott Card’s religious books are popular.”
 ~ Library Journal

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Harkening:
A Collection of Stories Remembered
AmErica House
Awards: Three awards
ISBN: 1591295505
To order paperback: http://budurl.com/TrueShortStories

Harkening explores the little white lies and solemn truths that one charming, idiosyncratic family loves to repeat. Each story is stitched to the next to become a saga of their sojourn from Michigan through a vanishing railroad town in New Mexico, then into Utah and finally (and happily), to a place where individuality can thrive. Harkening has won three awards including Word Thunder’s Excellence in Writing award.

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Tracings:
A Chapbook of Poetry
Finishing Line Press.
Awards: Award of Excellence Military Writers Society of America, Compulsive Readers 10 Best Reads.
ISBN: 1-59924-017-3 
To order paperback: http://budurl.com/CarolynsTracings  

Tracings touches chords—both major and minor—for readers interested in nostalgia, tolerance, culture and aging. The author traces her life’s experiences and for her it feels like “a movie reel running backwards.”

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She Wore Emerald Then:
Reflections on Motherhood
Coauthored with Magdalena Ball
Self-Published in the fine tradition of poets everywhere
Awards: USA Book News finalist for poetry, Military Writers Society of America honorable mention
ISBN: 1438263791
ISBN 13: 978-1438263793
ASIN:
B00BXPW2XO
To order paperback: http://budurl.com/MotherChapbook 
International Link: http://bookShow.me/1438263791
Celebration Series Fan Page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CelebrationSeriesPoetryChapbooks

“[Both] poets continue to write poems that don’t sound either like banal Hallmark cards or the bitter-at-dysfunctional-family jeremiads that habitually torture MFA writing workshop participants.”
~Kristin Johnson, screenwriter and founder of the Warrior Poets Project

She Wore Emerald Then is collaboration on the subject of motherhood by award-winning poets Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, both of them mothers and daughters. They worked together on a book of love poetry called Cherished Pulse to the acclaim of reviewers. She Wore Emerald Then is available as both an e-chapbook and paperback and is illustrated with tender photographs by May Lattanzio. As it happens, it was released the week of the death of Carolyn’s mother—a fitting tribute.

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Cherished Pulse:
A Chapbook of Unsyrupy Love Poetry
Coauthored with Magdalena Ball
Self-Published in the fine tradition of poets everywhere
Awards: USA Book News finalist for poetry
ISBN: 1438263791
ISBN 13: 978-1438263793 
To order paperback: www.budurl.com/CherishedPulse
Celebration Series Fan Page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CelebrationSeriesPoetryChapbooks

“I absolutely loved this collection of poems. The two of you blow me 
away with your talent!” ~ Darcia Helle for Goodreads

Carolyn calls this unsyrupy love poetry. It is part of the Celebration Series she and Magadalena Ball offer poetry lovers in place of traditional cards--for about the same price. For MyShelf.com Willie Elliott says it is “snapshots of love by two gifted poets.”

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Imagining the Future:
Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions
Coauthored with Magdalena Ball
Self-Published in the fine tradition of poets everywhere
ISBN: 144997774X
To order e-book: http://bit.ly/FathersDayKind
To order paperback: http://budurl.com/Imagining
Celebration Series Fan Page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CelebrationSeriesPoetryChapbooks


Part of the Celebration series by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball, this little $6.95 book was written with the literate man in mind, a lovely tuck-in gift that goes beyond the typical greeting card. Also available as an e-book to be used as an e-greeting card.

"[Both poets] have an incredible gift with literary imagery."
 ~ Darcia Helle

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Blooming Red:
Christmas Poetry for the Rational
Coauthored with Magdalena Ball
Artwork by Vicki Thomas
Self-Published in the fine tradition of poets everywhere
Awards: USA Book News finalist, Silver Award from Military Writers’ Society of America
ISBN: 9781449948245
To order paperback: http://budurl.com/BloomingRed
Celebration Series Fan Page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CelebrationSeriesPoetryChapbooks


Part of the Celebration Series by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, this little $6.95 book was written with passion and love for those who understand all the ramifications of the holiday that dominates celebrations throughout most of the English-speaking world. It is a lovely tuck-in gift that goes beyond the typical greeting card and is available in quantity discounts to use as a holiday greeting by contacting the authors at HoJoNews@aol.com.

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Deeper into the Pond:
A Celebration of Femininity
Coauthored with Magdalena Ball
Artwork by Jacquie Schmall
Award: Bronze medal from Military Writers' Society of America
Self-Published in the fine tradition of poets everywhere
ISBN: 978146115934
To order for Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005G51I82
To order e-book: https://createspace.com/3608866
To order paperback: http://budurl.com/DeeperPond
Celebration Series Fan Page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CelebrationSeriesPoetryChapbooks


“Narcissus knows her own
reflection well. She forgets
to peer under burkas, in our jails,
in the beds of the abused
deeper, deeper into the pond
beneath where some
still suffocate.”
~Excerpt from the theme poem in Deeper into the Pond.

“Whatever your age these poems will speak to you of times to look forward to or to remember. These are not poems to be read once. They will stay with you forever.”
 ~ Nancy Famolari, author.

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Sublime Planet
As Featured in the Earth Day Issue of The Pasadena Weekly
Coauthored by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball
Photography by Ann Howley
ISBN: 9781482054705
To order e-book or Kindle (ASIN: B000BRLF5GA): http://bitly.com/EarthDayKind
To order paperback: http://amzn.to/SublimePlanet
Celebration Series Fan Page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CelebrationSeriesPoetryChapbooks
Proceeds from Sublime Planet go to World Wildlife Fund

"Lucid and erudite." ~ Midwest Book Review
This collection of ecologically oriented poems traverses a wide terrain, moving from the loss of species to the beauty of the natural world, from drought to the exploration of alternative planets. It's an exhilarating collection that breaks boundaries and leads the reader deep into the personal heart of perception. Released by award winning poets Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball to celebrate Earth Day, this is a collection of poetry that weaves the personal with the universal.
"Sublime Planet begins with Carolyn Howard Johnson's love poems to the living world, rapturous poems, expansive in spirit yet precise in detail: ‘An impossible moth,/dark eye at its center, opaque//helicopter blades buzz and blur... .’ In Magdalena Ball's darker meditations, hurt and thirst have entered the world facilitated, in part, by the machinations of civilization. While Howard-Johnson's poems praise, Ball's seem to sound a low warning. I recommend Sublime Planet particularly to those individuals who reside on the planet." ~ Suzanne Lummis, UCLA poetry instructor and LA's unique contribution to the poetry world

"The [environment] is a hard one--not to get didactic or preachy, remembering to be a poet first, and both you [and Magdalena] succeeded. Congratulations and the best of luck with Sublime Planet."  ~Rochelle Jewel Shapiro, author of Kaylee's Ghost

". . . a breath-taking book of poetry . . . " ~ Joyce A Kovelman, Ph.D., author

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Coming!

Here’s How I Don’t Cook: A Memoir
Being shopped by Agent Terrie Wolf, terrie@akaliteraryllc.com

This bittersweet, humorous romp through the kitchen of life will be published soon. Please stay tuned.

This Land Divided
Being shopped by Agent Terrie Wolf, terrie@akaliteraryllc.com

The great Mormon-American novel.


Any websites/places we can find you on the web?

My favorites:  My Web site: http://howtodoitfrugally.com
A lovely list of questions. Thank you!

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