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The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't

127 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1932993103
ISBN-10: 193299310X
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Editorial Reviews


...a very practical and easy to use guide which every new author should have. -- Magdalena Ball for THE COMPULSIVE READER

...chock full of ideas that even seasoned book promoters will not have tried. -- Dallas Hodder Franklin, Editor of Sell Writing Online

A fine how-to book from an incessant promoter. -- Marilyn Ross, founder of Small Publishers of North America (SPAN)

Most authors don’t have "deep pockets" for publicity, promotion and marketing, so this is the kind of information we need! -- Rolf Gompertz, veteran publicist for NBC and UCLA instructor

From the Author

This is an outdated edition of The Frugal Book Promoter. Please go to the new multi award-winning second edition available in paperback or as an e-book. It is also part of Amazon's Matchbook program (a discounted e-book when you purchase the paper edition).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Star Publish (July 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193299310X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932993103
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,456,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am best known as The Frugal Book Promoter, but I want to be known as a literary writer, poet, and all round smart and giving marketer. You can see I have a problem with branding, not because I don't know how to brand but because my career is so diverse. Ha!

As a college freshman, I was the youngest person ever hired as a staff writer for the Salt Lake Tribune--"A Great Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper"--where I wrote features for the society page and a column under the name Debra Paige.

Later, in New York, I was an editorial assistant at Good Housekeeping Magazine. I also handled accounts for famous fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert. She was the one who developed the first "10 Best Dressed List," and it was my fun job to write releases for celebrity designers of the time including Pauline Trigere, Rudy Gernreich, and Christian Dior.

I have also been a consultant for the Oak Park Press in the Chicago area.

In my many former lives I have also written columns and reviews for The Pasadena Star News, Home Decor Buyer, and the Glendale News-Press. I write a "Back to Literature" column for where I also give an annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize.

I studied at the University of Utah, graduated from USC (University of Southern California) and have done postgraduate work in writing at UCLA. I loved the UCLA and San Diego State Writers' Conferences I attended and I'm now an instructor for UCLA Extension Writers' Program. You can find all their classes at

I adored studying writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University in Prague.

My first novel, "This Is The Place," and my book of creative nonfiction, "Harkening," are both multi award-winners. A chapbook of my poetry, published by Finishing Line Press was named a Ten Best Reads by the Compulsive Reader ( and the Military Writers Society of America honored it with a silver medal for excellence. I have also partnered with Magdalena Ball for the Celebration Series of poetry chapbooks including "She Wore Emerald Then," "Cherished Pulse," "Imagining the Future" "Blooming Red," and "Deeper Into the Pond," a chapbook with a feminist theme. I also wrote a screenplay, "The Killing Ground."

My stories and poems have appeared in anthologies like: "Pass/Fail," edited by Rose A. O. Kleidon, PhD; and in journals like Pear Noir, Front Range, The Pedestal Magazine and many more. One of my poems won first place in the Franklin Christoph prize, 2010.

I was given the Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award by California Legislature members, Carol Liu, Dario Frommer, and Jack Scott. I can't help but be proud of that.

In its first edition, "The Frugal Book Promoter" became an instant best seller as an e-book on and the paperback opened to rave reviews here on Amazon. It is now in its second edition, expanded and updated. It became the first in the How To Do It Frugally series. "The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success" is the next. I published a couple booklets to go with it. "Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips" includes word trippers and other gremlins lying in wait to attack your copy. The other is "The Great First Impression Book Proposal."

The Book Publicists of Southern California honored me with their Irwin Award and the "Pasadena Weekly" for literary activism. My hometown's Character and Ethics Committee honored me for my work promoting tolerance with my writing.

Yes, I am having fun yet!

Find me at:
Sharing with Writers and Readers blog (A Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick!),
Subscribe to my newsletter by sending an e-mail with "subscribe" in the subject line to

First person essay:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Space Salamander TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I love authors who practice what they preach. Author and former publicist Carolyn Howard-Johnson has been one of my role models when it comes to book promotion, so I was elated to find that she now has a book on the topic. And a goldmine of a book it is.

This book is jam-packed with resources (many of them online), publicity protocol advice that'll make you feel like an instant insider, and creative techniques to publicize your work.

"Don't do what every other author does," she advises on page 35, and goes on to give us great examples of unusual strategies some authors have used to get attention for their books.

She tells us how to evaluate how well our efforts are paying off in a quantifiable manner, something I've never done before. She teaches us about branding, and why it's more important for an author to have a "brand" than to publicize one book at a time.

If you need to know what belongs in a media kit, where to submit articles for promotion, what to bring to a writers' conference, how to use promotional gifts and where to get them on the cheap, how to build mailing lists, where reviewers hang out, how to do a TV interview, even how to make your own ARCs... it's all here.

Book publicity is an enormous topic, and one of the things I liked so much about this book is that it's not overwhelming. It doesn't attempt to give you every detail of every technique you might ever use. Instead, it gives overviews and examples, always in a straightforward, no-fluff-added way. By the end, you'll have a good sense of the possibilities that exist and can investigate further any ones that interest you in particular.

This book earns my highest approval and I believe it will be of great help to authors, whether self-published or traditionally-published.

--Jenna Glatzer


and editor-in-chief of
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Judith W. Colombo on January 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Humans are social animals. We like to associate with others to share our thoughts, blessings, and woes. But above all this, we love to express our opinions and demonstrate our knowledge about matters both mundane and extraordinary. Over the eons our penchant for giving advice has led to a phenomenon called the how to book. There are how to books on subjects ranging from the simplest household tasks to how to be a good parent or an amazing lover.

Authors are no exception to the rule, and are very eager to give advice to each other from how to write and publish your first novel to publicizing that novel and promoting yourself. Being an author, I know how important publicizing ones work is and how necessary it is to promote oneself. Because other writers know how eager their colleagues are to place themselves in the public eye, there are many books in the market place that offer publicity and promotion tips. More often than not, these suggestions require great expenditure and that is something most underpaid writers can't afford.

However, "The Frugal Book Promoter" by Carolyn Howard -Johnson offers solutions that cost more in time than money, and time is something any committed writer must be prepared to spend. The author admits at the start of the book that some of her advice is based on her opinion, but this is an opinion garnered from years of being in public relations and from successfully promoting and publicizing her first two books.

The book starts off with some simple and helpful hints. The author speaks about branding yourself instead of publicizing yourself. Later she goes on to explain this more fully.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Leora Krygier on August 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Where does a new author go for help on promoting her book? Sure, there's the usual word of mouth, advise from fellow writers, reliance on agents, publishers and publicists. But if you really want to understand the process, and make educated decisions about promotion - read The Frugal Promoter. Howard-Johnson's fertile brain has delivered for us a book that manages to surprise in all its specificity and breadth of information. She's translated her hard-earned experiences, the ups and downs of promotion, into a highly readable how-to, a master blueprint for novices and veterans of the PR wars alike. Don't be fooled by the word "frugal" in the title. It belies a generous spirit. This is a colleague who truly wants others to succeed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Linda Morelli on September 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Carolyn Howard-Johnson has received rave reviews for her latest book, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER, and for a good reason. This book is chocked full of excellent ideas to help all authors market and promote their books. I found a ton of wonderful ideas, and my background is marketing! If you only purchase one book for your marketing needs, be sure it's this one!

Linda Morelli, author of SHADOW OF DOUBT and FIERY SURRENDER
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Janet Elaine Smith on September 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you are a frustrated author because you have written a great book but it isn't selling, Carolyn Howard-Johnson's book holds the key to changing your life.

Not only is this little book packed with great ideas, you don't have to hold the key to Ft. Knox to make them work. All you need are the ideas, some determination, an internet connection and the will to work. She quotes from many sources who have proven track records for their books, and you can learn the tricks of the trade in a few short hours.

If you are not an author, but you know one, this book should be the answer to what-to-give gift ideas. No author should be without it.

As an author myself (Janet Elaine Smith, author of 13 published novels), I am extremely proud to be included in this magnificent volume. Well done, Carolyn!
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