Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Interview with Best-Selling Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Instructor for the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program

Author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books:

The Frugal Book Promoter

The Frugal Editor

The Great First Impression Book Proposal

Great Little Last-Minute Edits

E-mail: HoJoNews at
Web site:

Name of the book:

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

Kindle Price: 9.00

Kindle Link:

Available from:

(Amazon Kindle US, see above

Amazon Kindle UK, 5 pounds 19. Link to Kindle UK page:

Also as paperback:

Authors Website:


Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This is the Place, won eight awards and her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, won three. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. A chapbook of poetry, Tracings, was named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads list and was given the Military Writers' Society of America's Silver Award of Excellence. She speaks on Utah’s culture, tolerance and book promotion and editing and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide. She is an instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program and her how-to book, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t was named USA Book News’ “Best Professional Book 2004." and the Irwin Award. Her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success also won a nod from USA Book News and won Readers' Views Literary Award. Her marketing campaign for that book won the marketing award from New Generation Indie Book Awards.

Howard-Johnson is 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."

The author loves to travel and has studied at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal with her wherever she goes. Her website is: and

Tell me about your book? This is a how-to book aimed at my favorite niche market, writers. It will help them write query letters that could actually sell their books--to agents or publishers--and could actually get them free publicity when they query editors or media hosts and bloggers, like you! It has practical tips on how to use Word to edit and still avoid having Word screw up one's manuscript. I interviewed more than 100 agents to learn what turns them off about unprofessional query letters and most were willing to help me help authors!

What will readers like about your book?

I think they'll like the easily followed sidebar instruction and the light tone. Most of us don't want to read a another textbook, even when we're in the learning mode.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I teach at UCLA's world renowned Writers' Program and I have a marketing/publicist background. It broke my heart to see blossoming writers do things (or not do them!) that could kill their careers.

When did you start writing?

I started in high school. All the cute boys were on the journalism staff.

When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

When my writing began to get some recognition from the daily on-campus newspaper of my university and I was hired as a staff reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune, "A Great Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper."

When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

Right about that time. But it took me about 40 years to get around to it. Talk about procrastination!

Why did you choose this particular genre to write your book in?

I fell into publicity potholes--even with a marketing background. I knew I could help others avoid doing that. I also needed a textbook that didn't talk about marketing generalities for the class I taught at UCLA.

What is your writing process?

I do way too much marketing and not enough writing. You don't want your readers emulating me!

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

No time at all. I could do it during that November 30 Day exercise if I wanted to. It's those drafts and revisions that are killers. About three years for a novel. About a year for a book of nonfiction.

Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

I have retailing in my background, too. (see my retailing blog at As a retailer, we wouldn't tell our customers that they could only pay with cash. We'd lose lots of business. Same with authors. We give them what they want, the way they want it. I'm slowly getting around to publishing all my books for every kind of reader there is. BTW, I think it's the reader who loses by not having all reader formats integrated!

I am so enamoured of e-books, I even publish my poetry chapbooks that way. They're on Smashwords. They're published with a co-author--Magdalena Ball and we try to keep our work very low priced, even as paperbacks. ($6.95). We all know price is one of the best reasons to buy e-books, right?

What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?

Just get started. Having said that, READ. Take classes. Learn enough about the publishing industry that others can't take advantage of you.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for including me on your roster of interviews! I am honored. Please find my blog at and then tell me if you have a how-to article that would help my subscribers!

    My best to you!