Category Archives: PR

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Carolyn Howard-Johnson, the Frugal Book Promoter!

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Author interview with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, your Frugal Editor and Frugal Book Promoter (-:

Carolyn was raised by a depression-era mother, thus the Frugal thing. Her fiction is informed by The Place she grew up, beauty, warts and all. Utah. And, like Wendy, she loves to share and help writers promote their books. Find her frugal stuff at www.howtodoitfrugally.com and her fiction and poetry at www.carolynhoward-Johnson.com .

1. Tell us about your latest book.

It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques . It was launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center in New York (about the time of last year’s Book Expo America) and is based on my many years as founder, owner and marketer for a chain of gift stores. Find it at www.budurl.com/RetailersGuide.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I thought the boys on my high school newspaper staff were cute. We said “cute” back then, not “hot.” I wouldn’t have known from “hot.”

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I look like a toadstool growing out of one of those ergonomic chairs that sit in front of computers. In the afternoons I got to movies, a habit born out of the days when I reviewed film for the Glendale News-Press. Movies also inform my writing.

4. Describe your workspace.

Messy, very messy. If you’d like a photo, I’ll send it to you. It was taken a couple of years ago. It’s worse now. There is still room, however, for my Great Dane to spread out on the floor.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers).

Oh, so many. Wendy, I’m reading yours. Just got it. One of my favorites these days is an e-book by Larry Brooks on story structure. www.storyfix.com. It’s the best I’ve ever seen on that subject.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you.

  • Mmmm. I dye my hair the same color it comes out at the roots. Go figure.
  • I was a redhead before I was a blonde. Wishing made it so. You can call it silver, or gray and get a swat. You can get away with “platinum,” though I still want to be “blonde.”
  • I was only 18 when I started my first writing job. You can learn how I got that job by reading the fictionalized account in my novel This Is the Place. http://www.amazon.com/This-Place-Carolyn-Howard-Johnson/dp/1588513521/

7. Favorite quote

“Careers that are not fed soon die as readily as any living organism given no sustenance.”

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

You’ll find it on my handouts for the classes I teach at UCLA, all over my Website, in th footers of some of my books, etc.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Oh, gosh. Best part. I love it. It cured me of cancer.

Truly, no worse part. Truly.

9. Advice for other writers

Read. Read in your genre. Read outside of your genre. Read how-to books on every subject related to writing and the marketing of books. Read more than one on each subject. Buy books for gifts.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I love your story. It’s hard to beat.  So I won’t try.

At that first job in journalism I wrote a cooking column for teenagers, using their recipes. I was also learning layout and had to write the cutlines (those little explanations beneath pictures) and it is hard to write them for one column headshots. One week I featured a brownie recipe that didn’t have to be baked from a teen in Salt Lake City. I wrote (name changed to protect the innocent), Diane Dotson . . . Easy to make while studying.” It ran in most editions. Editors caught it before the city edition hit the press. Luckily for me and for my job.

Where can people buy your books?

Oh, so many! Just know that I know my HowToDoItFrugally books will help authors make their dreams come true and that I consider even The Frugal Editor (www.budurl.com/TheFrugalEditor) important in marketing your book to a publisher, agent or anyone else. Editing is just so important. Your readers will find everything from my award-winning poetry to The Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo) at www.howtodoitfrugally.com.

Blog radio show seeks poets

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Misterie Loves Company Show I am seeking an array of artists from music, poetry and spoken word to interview tuesday nights @ 9pm via BTR(Blogtalk Radio). This means you must be able to call in for the duration of the interview.http://www.blogtalkradio.com/misterielovescompany Also please submit work and bio or presskit to uniquete @ yahoo.com

Like paranormal? Bram Stoker winner to read ghost stories on radio 10/30

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My father, Steve Burt, will be reading some of his ghost stories live on www.newsradio970.com on October 30 (Friday)  at 8:30 a.m. Mountain Time. Also known as “The Sinister Minister,” Dad is the author of 12 book and won the Bram Stoker Award for Young Adult ‘Horror’ (more like scary than gore) in 2005, tying with Clive Barker! You can learn more about Dad on his Web site, www.BurtCreations.com

10 QUESTIONS FOR…”Spin” novelist Robert Rave (Aug. 18 release!)

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Author interview with Robert Rave, author of “Spin”41eDUO6oZtL._SS500_forbio

  1. Tell us about your latest book.

The book tells the story of Taylor Green, a corn-fed young man from the Midwest who stumbles into New York without a clue, a contact, or the proper wardrobe.  Through true serendipity (or possibly misfortune), he is hired by the outrageous Jennie Weinstein, the sleepless city’s most notorious public relations diva.

As he morphs into her most trusted assistant and confidant, Taylor is sucked into a whirlwind of restaurant openings, gossip, and fashion shows. Taylor is thrust into the center of a world he never knew existed: a world of sex, greed, power, drugs and famed ruled by Jennie Weinstein herself.  Under Jennie’s guidance, Taylor quickly discovers that there isn’t a catastrophe, betrayal, or personality that can’t be spun to suit a client’s needs.

The stakes only get higher, for as Taylor rapidly climbs New York’s social ladder, Jennie’s assignments become increasingly bizarre.

The perks are definitely sweet, but like all swag, it comes at a price…

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I’ve been writing stories ever since I can remember.  However, I wasn’t sure what to do about it.  When I was growing up in Illinois, writing professionally didn’t seem like a viable option.  When I moved to New York and began working in public relations, I started writing for my personal enjoyment as a creative outlet.  When you’re publicizing everyone else’s passions, it makes you wonder why you aren’t working on your own.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

It always starts the same way—my two French Bulldogs waking me up around 6:15 a.m. to go outside.  This is immediately followed by a double espresso.  I’m self-admittedly an espresso addict. 

I hit the gym, catch up on the news/read blogs, stare at my Twitter page, and respond to emails.  I’m the type of personality that has to have all of the minutia complete before being able to sit down and write..  I also can’t write if my house is a mess.  So I guess you could say I need a clean house and a clean mind in order to create.

4. Describe your workspace.

My desktop is pretty minimal.  My iMac, an espresso cup, and a bottle of water.  Hanging on the wall in front of me is a framed print that reads “Get Excited and Make Things” and right below it is a vision board.  (I can almost see the eye rolls from my desk while typing that.)

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Lately, I’ve really been enjoying Jen Lancaster and Caprice Crane—these two women are incredibly smart and funny.  I also enjoy David Sedaris.  I still love Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and The Hours by Michael Cunningham.  Different books speak to you at different points in your life—so my favorite book five years ago may not even make my top five today.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

While working as a publicist I always maintained a level of professionalism and never had any gaffes with celebrities.  It wasn’t until I left pr and was asked by a friend to be a volunteer celebrity escort at an awards dinner that I royally embarrassed myself.  I was assigned to Cynthia Nixon and David Eigenberg.  So instead of calling them by “Ms. Nixon or Mr. Eigenberg,” I referred to them as Miranda and Steve—their characters on Sex and The City.  I was horrified.  They were super gracious and didn’t even bat an eye or bother correcting me—I’m sure they could see the embarrassment on my face.

I was raised a meat and potatoes kid from a small Midwestern town and I recently became a vegetarian.  When I told my mom that I’d stopped eating meat and dairy she told me that I’ve been living in LA too long. 

I’m obsessed with the NY Times Real Estate section.

7. Favorite quote

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best Part:  Telling the stories that you want to tell.

Worst Part: Re-writing—of course!

9. Advice for other writers

Keep at it.  We are in an age where there are so many ways to tell a story.  Most importantly, stay true to yourself because at the end of the day it’s your name out there and your story.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I wish I had some crazy story to relay about the writing of SPIN, but the reality is I worked extremely hard on it.  I never gave up, even when it looked as though the book would never see the light of day.  Something told me to keep going and that it would happen.

Where can people buy your book?

Please, please, please add me on Twitter.  http://www..twitter.com/RobertRave

I’m incredibly neurotic and need validation from total strangers to get me through the day.  Only kidding, sorta. 🙂

You can purchase SPIN at your favorite local bookstore or online at places like Borders, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.

www.RobertRave.com

Author interview with…Wendy Burt-Thomas

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Hi all! I’m flying to NY for 8 days so I’m taking some liberties and running my own author interview. I’ll be back with new authors and writing contests around July 22.

Author interview with Wendy Burt-ThomasQueryBook copy

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer, editor and PR consultant. She works from her home office in Colorado Springs – usually in pajamas or sweatpants. Wendy has written three books, and her fourth book comes out in April 2010. Her first two books, written with Erin Kindberg, were, “Oh, Solo Mia! The Hip Chick’s Guide to Fun for One” (2001, McGraw-Hill) and “Work It, Girl! 101 Tips for the Hip Working Chick” (2003, McGraw-Hill).

  1. 1.    Tell us about your latest book.

“The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters” is a how-to book about getting published. It includes information on writing a query letter for magazines, agents, novels and nonfiction books.

The book was a great fit for me because I’d been teaching “Breaking Into Freelance Writing” for about eight years. In the workshop, I covered a lot of what is in this book: writing query letters to get articles in magazines, to land an agent, or to get a book deal with a publisher. Since I’m a full-time freelance magazine writer and editor with two previous books, this was incredibly fun to write because it didn’t require tons of research. I was lucky enough to receive lots of great sample query letters from writers and authors that I use as “good” examples in the book. I wrote all the “bad” examples myself because I didn’t dare ask for contributions that I knew I’d be ripping apart!

In addition to the ins and outs of what makes a good query, the book covers things like why (or why not) to get an agent, where to find one and how to choose one; writing a synopsis or proposal; selling different rights to your work; other forms of correspondence; and what editors and agents look for in new writers.

It was really important to me that the book not be a dry, boring reference book, but rather an entertaining read (while still being chock full of information). I was thrilled that Writer’s Digest let me keep all the humor.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I’ve also been a writer. My dad is a writer (12 books, probably thousands of other published pieces) and I gave him a short story for his birthday one year (I think I was 7) and he read it aloud in church. I was hooked! My first paid piece was a poem I wrote at age 16. My dad sent it to a magazine on my behalf (without telling me) and I got an acceptance and check in the mail. I thought, “Wow! People paid me for my words? This is cool.” Yes, writing CAN be about the money too!

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

Send my kids off to a nearby home daycare (soon to be preschool!) and then spend at least an hour going through emails. Then I’m either writing (articles, a book, greeting cards), editing or doing PR coaching on the phone. I try not to work after my kids get home, other than posting my latest author interview and writing contests on Facebook and Twitter every night. (Twitter.com/WendyBurt)

4. Describe your workspace.

I have a cream and wood L-shaped desk , bookshelf and two matching filing cabinets that I just love. My office is in a sort of loft area on the second floor of our house, but now that we built our sunroom, I look out onto a tile roof. It’s probably for the best so I don’t procrastinate by watching our neighbor. Besides, the view out the picture window behind me is of Pikes Peak!

I’m not a clean freak, but I’m a bit of an organizational freak. There is dust behind my computer, but everything is it’s a labeled file. I have four Macs and often have two going at once.

 

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

“Lessons From a Lifetime of Writing” by David Morrell

“Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott

“On Writing” by Stephen King

Two new books for writers:

• “Get Known Before the Book Deal” by Christina Katz  (http://www.getknownbeforethebookdeal.com/)

• “Writing the Life Poetic” (http://writingthelifepoetic.typepad.com/) by Sage Cohen

Also, my dad, “The Sinister Minister” is the author of 12 books. (www.BurtCreations.com)

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

– A horse bit off the last knuckle on my right middle finger when I was 5.

– I once owned a muffin business in Vermont called Little Miss Muffin.

– I went to the University of Aberdeen (in Scotland) my junior year of college.

7. Favorite quote

“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

I love when I get to write humor and people email me to say that think I’m funny and that it made my book (like the query guide) fun to read, even though it’s an informational book. I’ve gotten more “fan mail” on this book than my first two combined and the emails make my day EVERY time.

I don’t like being at the mercy of my clients when it comes to deadlines because I have two little kids.

9. Advice for other writers

Seize every opportunity that comes along when you’re first starting off. Many of your regular writing gigs will be from repeat business and referrals.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I was on a flight to NY skimming my first book for errors and the woman next to me leaned over and said, “Is that any good?” I laughed and said, “It had better be. I wrote it.”

 

Where can people buy my book(s)?

You can buy my latest book, “The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters” in most major bookstores (it’s usually right next to the Writers Market) or on Amazon.com.

Follow me on Twitter.com/WendyBurt or befriend me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

 

Need a writer, editor or proofreader?

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Lauren Holder Raab can help with your projects! She provides freelance writing, editing and proofreading services, primarily for authors and literary publications. Projects include books, magazines and websites. Check out her website, www.laurenholderraab.com, and tell her Wendy sent you.

Here’s a review of Wendy’s book on Lauren’s site:

http://www.laurenholderraab.com/2009/07/31/book-review-the-query-queen-holds-court

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Shel Horowitz, “Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers”

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Author interview with Shel HorowitzShelbigsmilefulltorsoGMAPcoverFinalFront

About Shel: “Marketing consultant and copywriter specializing in affordable, ethical, effective methods. Author of eight books, six of them on marketing. I live in a 1743 antique farmhouse on a working farm in Hadley, MA (we don’t farm it but our neighbors have 400 cows).”

1. Tell us about your latest book.

Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers is a comprehensive one-stop collection of ideas, strategies, and examples to differentiate your book in a marketplace with over 400,000 books published a year, just in the US. While it has two chapters on the bookstore system, it also covers many nontraditional ways to market books, including methods to get them bought in quantity. Full of examples of press releases, marketing plans, pitch letters, and much more. Also, when people buy the book directly from me at http://www.grassrootsmarketingforauthors.com, it comes with two extra e-books: How to Write and Publish a Marketable Book, and Web 2.0 marketing for the 21st Century (as well as assorted other goodies).

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I like to say I became a writer because I’m interested in almost everything. I started writing as the token liberal for my high school’s conservative underground newspaper (they ran my stuff with disclaimers!) in 1971 or 1972, and I’ve been writing ever since. I thought I’d make my living as a journalist, but instead, I’ve been running my commercial writing service since 1981.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m usually at the computer by 6:30 or so, and then I work in short bursts with lots of breaks–mostly because the computer makes my eyes very tired. Usually I mix various tasks during the day, so I don’t burn out on any of them. So for instance, I’ll alternate among my own writing projects, client projects, promotion/marketing, and trying to keep current in the e-mail deluge.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

It’s messy. Usually there are several piles related to current projects, a bunch of business cards from recent networking events, and of course my iMac. Over on my right I have a shelf with the books I’ve written or those I’ve produced for clients, some basic office supplies, phone, and my credit card machine. The best part of my workspace is the view of the farm and the mountain behind it, and the second-best is the family cat, who is often parked directly to the left of my computer chair.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I have tremendous admiration for skilled novelists. I enjoy Alice Walker, Ray Bradbury, J.K. Rowling, Phillip Pullman, Mark Twain, Barbara Kingsolver, and dozens of others. I can explain how to do pretty much anything, but I have never succeeded with plots and characters. Nonfiction, I tend to read a lot of books on marketing and persuasion, including those by Mark Joyner, Joe Vitale, Jay Conrad Levinson, Dave Lakhani, Susan Harrow, David Ogilvy, Ted Nicholas, Claude Hopkins…and these have made a bigt difference in my 0own writing, especially in the writing I do for clients. I’m a voracious reader, usually have several books going at once. Of course, I’m a fan of my own books too, especially Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First–which I think could actually change the world.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

1. My wife, novelist D. Dina Friedman (www.ddinafriedman.com), and I met at an open poetry reading in Greenwich Village, NYC, in 1978—and it turned out we went to the same high school. There’s a picture of us in my yearbook, next to each other in a crowd of people.

2. I decided to be a vegetarian at age 12, but my mom convinced me (and I didn’t have the Internet to prove her wrong) that I’d stunt my growth. So I waited until I was a 16. Still a vegetarian, as are Dina and the kids.

3. Going to Antioch College, where every three months I was thrown into the outside world and had to find housing, build community, etc. in a very short time before returning to campus three months later–and also being a member of a homestay organization (www.servas.org) for the last 25 years, made me a very good traveler. I can hit a strange city and very quickly figure out where I should go, what I should do, etc.

7. Favorite quotes

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity” (Horace Mann)

“It is a sin to be silent when it is your duty to protest” (Abraham Lincoln)

“Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right” (Henry Ford)

“From Pacifica, this is Democracy Now” (Amy Goodman)

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

I’m the rare writer who actually loves writing! When I write for myself, it’s a doorway to exploring anything I want, and when I write for clients, it’s a fun challenge to make even dull-appearing subjects fascinating. I’ve had to learn to be temporarily excited about everything from accounting principles (the excitement on that one, I confess, didn’t last long) to water rights in Nepal—whatever my clients need marketing copy for.

The worst part is physical: eyestrain, repetitive stress issues in my hands, and the occasional backache. Alexander Technique, naps, vision therapy, and better glasses have helped somewhat, but it’s still frustrating. I could get SO much more done if my body would play nicely with the computer.

9. Advice for other writers

Sit down and write, stop making excuses. Learn to take advantage of short bits of free time. Back in 1991, I wrote big chunks of Marketing Without Megabucks during my daughter’s brief naps, using a primitive laptop and sitting on the porch while she napped in the playpen; some of these were only 15 minutes before she was up again. I snatched bits of time on the deck of a cruise ship to write the first 10,000 words of Principled Profit, not to mention a very detailed travel journal. Recognize that the NYC publishing process is closed to most people, but you can make a success through other paths (I’ve helped quite a few writers set up their own publishing companies and produce terrific books). If someone asks you to write “for exposure,” say yes when it makes sense and no when it doesn’t. (yes, sometimes it actually does.)

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

A few years ago, I opened my e-mail and found an order for my $8.50 e-book on how to have fun cheaply—from Mark Joyner, an Internet marketing superstar and best-selling author of several business books published by John Wiley. When I acknowledged the order, I added a note offering to send a gratis copy of Principled Profit, which I thought would appeal to him. He loved the book and not only wrote a very nice testimonial but began a correspondence. He asked me to contribute an essay to his book The Great Formula, which I did–and which is one time that “exposure” turned out to be pretty decent pay, as that has led to some very good contacts. Then I asked him if he’d do a teleconference just for the members of my list and the listeners to my radio show, which he did. And then he asked me out of the blue if I’d like the contact information for his editor at Wiley. The result, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green, will be published next year, co-authored with another superstar, Jay Levinson. That’s another nice partnership related to the deal. I brought Jay in because I thought this was a strong fit with the branding he’d already done for 20+ years, and I knew I could benefit greatly from association with the Guerrilla Marketing brand. Everybody I talk to about this book is extremely enthusiastic and eager for the book to come out.

Where can people buy your books?

I’ve just set up a portal page leading to all my books, websites, blog, newsletters, etc., at http://shelhorowitz.com