I’m delighted to welcome back guest interviewer, Francine Silverman who today is interviewing writer and publicist Carolyn Howard-Johnson. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a veteran publicist, writer and award-winning author of books on promotion. She is also an instructor at the UCLA Extension Writers Program. She can teach you how to market books on a shoestring budget. You can find out more from http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com and http://sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com.
Fran: What are some of the ways we can market our books for little or no money?
Carolyn: Well, I wrote a whole book on this topic–more than 400 pages! (The Frugal Book Promoter, http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo). Having said that, the best way to promote books is to speak. It allows us to meet our audience personally. And it is even more than frugal. Some even make more money from doing speaking than they do from their books.
Fran: How do we use our writing skills to get more publicity?
Carolyn: You touched on my favorite way to promote. That is, by doing what we love to do. Write. Blog. Recycle what you write (some call in “repurposing.”). Lots of the basics of marketing and public relations are about writing, too.
There is a special skill involved in writing media releases, query letters, media kits, etc., but it isn’t hard to learn and all those skills are covered–even templates for writing them–in The Frugal Book Promoter http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo.
Fran: In your book, The Frugal Book Promoter, you state that, “great marketing is merely sharing your passion with others.” In what way can we do this?
Carolyn: Fran, I said that because so many authors have been taught (or believe) that to “toot one’s own horn” is somehow undesirable. I try to make the point that the best kind of tooting is when we are doing it in the service of others. We are talking to people about what we believe they need–anything from entertainment to how-to tips. And we’re passionate about it because we love to help. We love to share. We’re not just selling books.
Fran: You also state that branding, publicity and public relations are thriftier and more effective than most other means of selling. Please explain.
Carolyn: Unless we’ve been exposed to marketing, we usually think of advertising. One must pay for advertising. Public relations and publicity, on the other hand, is what the media (TV, radio, blogs, etc.) give to us free because they need content and want to serve their readers. Our job is to show them how we can help them do that. And we can help them do that with our stories. And our stories are more interesting if we aren’t shy about telling them.
Carolyn was interviewed by Francine Silverman, editor of Book Promotion Newsletter, an on-line publicist, compiler of 16 ebooks of talk radio shows and host of a weekly radio show, Fraternizing with Fran – where interesting people come to chat.
Morgen: Thank you, ladies.
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