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The Frugal Editor: Do-It-Yourself Editing Secrets, from your query letters to final manuscript to the marketing of your new bestseller. (How To Do It Frugally series of books for writers) [Kindle Edition]

Johnson Carolyn Howard , Chaz DeSimone
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Frugal Editor is newly formatted, updated, and expanded because there are still gremlins out there determined to keep your work from being published, your book from being promoted. They are 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: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your new bestseller will help you present whistle-clean copy (whether it's a one-page cover letter or your entire manuscript) to those who have the power to say "Yea" or "Nay." It is a USA Book News award winner, winner in the Readers View category for writers, and received a nod from the New Millennium Indie Book Awards and Global Ebook Awards. The promotion for the book also grabbed down the Next Generation's top award marketing.
And best news for e-book readers! The second edition (did we mention it is newly formatted and expanded?) of The Frugal Editor is was honored with a silver medal from New Generation Indie Book Awards and now includes directions for how-to format a Word manuscript for Kindle in the Appendix.
Carolyn was an instructor for UCLA Extension world-renowned Writers' Program for nearly a decade and received Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment from the California Legislature, her community's Diamond Award in Arts and Culture and was named to Pasadena Weekly's Top Women Who Make Life Happen in the San Gabriel Valley. Her books--from poetry and fiction to the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers and for retailers are multi award winners.

Editorial Reviews


To the rescue comes acclaimed author Carolyn Howard-Johnson with The Frugal Editor, the latest in her How to Do It Frugally series. This little gem is a must-have for any writer, published or not, bestselling or unknown. ~Christy Tillery French --Midwest Book Review

...the vital ingredient needed for any author to experience publication success... . Very highly recommended. ~ Suzie Houseley --MyShelf Reviews


The Frugal Editor won USA Book News Best Business Book Award and it won the Reader Views Literary Award for books for writers. The marketing campaign for the book won the New Generation Marketing Award and that same organization gave the book an honorable mention.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1860 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HowToDoItFrugally; 1st edition (January 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0011EK6VC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #492,035 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Editor is IN - and easy to use September 28, 2007
Format:Perfect Paperback|Verified Purchase
Put your best book forward to avoid humiliation and ensure success.
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
ISBN 978-0-97851-7-4
Red Engine Press
Reviewed by Billie A Williams

In this day an age, when according to some studies, over 81 percent of Americans feel they should write a book and more than six million of them actually have at least written the manuscripts. What are your chances of getting published when that is just over two percent of the population? Most of these manuscripts however, are doomed to failure because they don't understand the intricacies of polishing (read that as editing) their manuscripts before sending them out, and/or hiring an editor to give it the final tweak before they send them off.

According to a recent article by Robert McCrum in The Observer and I quote,
"...according to the New York Times, there's a new book published in the United States every half an hour, and - wait for it - that's just fiction. RR Bowker, the company that compiles the Books in Print database in the USA, has calculated that no fewer than 175,000 new titles were published in 2003. That's one book roughly every 20 seconds." And as you can imagine that trend has only increased since then. As McCrum says, the new books have the shelf life of yogurt, but that quality will always stand above the rest and will persevere. So how do you bring that quality to your own work?

The Frugal Editor by Carolyn Howard-Johnson is like having an editor in a box, or more correctly, between two covers of a book. Concise down-to-earth advice about how to edit your manuscript before you even begin to think about sending it out into the red pencil world of publishers, where their editors get the first chance to evaluate your hard work.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewed for Midwest Book Review September 4, 2007
Format:Perfect Paperback
As the literary market continues to tighten its proverbial belt, today's writer must assume more of the responsibilities surrounding book publishing than ever before. No longer can a writer depend on a publisher or agent to accept a manuscript in need of editing, and submitting a manuscript that isn't as near perfect as possible will, in all probability, result in rejection. To the rescue comes acclaimed author Carolyn Howard-Johnson with The Frugal Editor, the latest in her How to Do It Frugally series. This little gem is a must-have for any writer, published or not, bestselling or unknown. Filled with valuable tips, The Frugal Editor touches on all aspects of self-editing, such as how to spot common grammatical errors, from superfluous adverbs to confusing dangling participles, as well as how to organize the workspace, format the manuscript, and use Word's tools to the fullest. Also included are sample query and cover letters, and pointers on correcting intrusive taglines, when to use an ellipsis, and correct spacing, to name a few. The book takes the reader step-by-step through the editing process, from rough draft to galley. No questions are left unanswered, no topics left uncovered. This generous writer goes so far as to recommend resources through other books and websites, with plenty of advice from agents and editors.

The Frugal Editor is one of those reference books every writer should have by their computer for constant use and study. Highly recommended.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frugal on Content but Not in Price August 17, 2008
By Livvy
Format:Perfect Paperback
Good book but mixed feelings. Here's my take on the pro's and con's of the Frugal Editor.

The Format of this book: It is noted that it is a 208 page book, but it's actually 192 pages. Subtract from that, 29 blank pages and 6 pages of paragraph length chapters and you have a 158 page book for 18.95. Now in her book, the author states that formatting standards of what side a chapter should start is the culprit of white pages (because chapters should begin on the right side). However, this standard gets overused, so the format stretches a small book into a roughly 200 page book. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. As it seems lately, many self-published books are using this tactic. I don't mind purchasing a 90 page book filled with excellent information as long as it is priced right. But a 150 page book for $19 plus shipping made me feel cheated.

On the plus side, she does include shaded boxes to highlight important tidbits or summaries of information, which I found extremely helpful, especially for the visual learner.

Now for the content. On her website/blog, she promotes how this book goes into the Flesch-Kincaid Readability tool. Something that I was really interested in knowing and it is what finally prompted me to purchase the book. But the only info. her book delves into is on how to access it. She does NOT offer any concrete interpretation on what the Flesch scores mean and how to specifically use it. She does, however, send you to a link of audio files she produced on using the Flesch for an additional cost, of course. Albeit, you can't even purchase that audio because it is not even available on the websites listed within the book. For me, that was slick advertising and left me really disappointed. Thankfully, I own another book by James V.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Perfect Paperback
I used to think I knew everything about grammar until I read "The Frugal Editor". If I'd read Carolyn Howard-Johnson's new book (her previous one was the invaluable "The Frugal book Promoter") before I edited the manuscripts of my novels, it would have saved me a lot of time and anguish.

If I had read this tome before attempting to edit my last manuscript before submission, I would have avoided making several glaring hyphenation mistakes, which Carolyn writes about in depth. 'Quick test for Hyphenating double adjectives,' she headlines. Similar to a lot of the topics in her book, her helpful text is backed up by a relevant link for further in-depth details.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson stresses that "The Frugal Editor" doesn't focus on the craft of writing or revision. She assumes that all authors have done revision before they edit their books.

'A good editor will help a writer to find her voice, remain true to it and still move the manuscript from a tough rock to a polished gemstone,' she says.

She even gives practical advice on how to find a good editor, like asking professors in the writing department at one's local university to recommend a good one. And to always ask for references in order to avoid charlatans.

I thought it was particularly interesting that Carolyn edits every document as if it were a manuscript. She stresses it's imperative to carefully edit query letters, cover letters and book proposals. It makes sense as these documents are sent to agents and publishers.

For writers who are confident they know everything about grammar, the book also acts as a useful grammatical refresher course. Howard-Johnson is practical and advises authors not to lose any sleep if a writer doesn't spot a typo or a grammatical mistake.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Johnson Carolyn Howard's "The Frugal Editor" is definitely, not...
Kudos, for Ms. Johnson Carolyn Howard, "The Frugal Editor." She has fulfilled the challenge and the formidable task of stripping away the veils from the Editing process, This is... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Quincy Fayston
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed reading this book.
I enjoyed reading this book, it gave me a lot of insight into the process. It was easy to read and understand.
Published 4 months ago by S.F. Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Write a Book, You Need The Frugal Editor
Whether you're looking for a traditional publisher or plan to self-publish, The Frugal Editor will be indispensable. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Nancy Famolari
3.0 out of 5 stars Formatting Errors in this Book Give a Poor First Impression.
I have a Kindle copy of this book and as other readers/reviewers have mentioned here, it has some real issues with formatting that detract from the enjoyment of reading this book. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Geraldine
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping up with Grammar and Punctuation.
When Carolyn Howard-Johnson offered me the opportunity to own The Frugal Editor, I was deep into resurrecting an incomplete mystery manuscript that definitely would require... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Helen Dunn Frame
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a snob, nor a meany - simply grammatically correct!
The Frugal Editor is what I've been missing in my writing career. In the process of re-publishing Isabela's Island after learning some hard lessons about publishers and... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ruthie Marlenee
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have Resource
Carolyn Howard-Johnson takes on the subjects that writers need realistic and effective strategies for. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Ginger King
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy Kindle version - you've been warned!
Do not buy this book on Kindle - I mean it! It's basically unreadable. Words run together, letters are separated within words with large spaces, random periods and other... Read more
Published 22 months ago by GHDgirl
5.0 out of 5 stars A different breed of cat.
Let me tell you, it's intimidating to post a review of a book by someone who writes so well and knows so much. Read more
Published on December 16, 2012 by Ray Malus
5.0 out of 5 stars The Frugal Editor- review
I love this book. It has such great ideas for self editing and shows the reader just what to do to make their writing shine. Read more
Published on November 28, 2011 by Terri Forehand
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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:

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The Frugal, Smart and Tune-In Editor
One of the things I have observed in many authors is how their egos are so wrapped up in their writing that they are unable to accept construction criticism that would take their books from lukewarm to spectacular. So one of the things I'd like to see is how to make authors understand the... Read More
Nov 13, 2007 by Patricia M. Terrell |  See all 7 posts
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