Frugal and Focused
Tweeting for Retailers

Tweaking Your Tweets and
Other Tips for Integrating Your Social Media

Second in the Survive and Thrive series of HowToDoItFrugally series of books

Twitter has become the Web phenomenon of the decade
even though many say they "don't Get it,"
and even those who think they do "get it"
appear to be missing a lot in terms of using it to market effectively.
It is much more than a tell-all tool! This book will:

1 . Tell you how to set up a Twitter account easily
2.  Tell you how to keep it simple. What you can't ignore at the peril of poor marketing and what you can get away without doing just fine, thank you.
3.   Give you ideas on what you can tweet about--and guidelines for how much personal, how much marketing!
4. Help you get over your fear of marketing (or over being shy about writing tweets) by giving you examples of tweets with critiques (can you believe!) for you to learn from.
5. Help you with tips for keeping the time you spend on tweeting (and other social media) to a minimum.
6. Show you how to harness the power of an entire online campaign, both in terms of reaching your audience and in saving you tons of time.
7. Nope. Not every Twitter app known to Tweetdom! There are some 70,000 of them at last count. Only tried-and-true ones, the ones you need.

Order in paperback or as an e-book direct from Amazon

Twitter is the Web phenomenon of the decade even though many say they "don't Get it," and even those who think they do "get it" appear to be missing a lot in terms of using it to market effectively. It is much more than a tell-all tool! This book will:

1 . Tell you how to set up a Twitter account easily
2.  Tell you how to keep it simple. What you can't ignore at the peril of poor marketing and what you can get away without doing just fine, thank you.
3.   Give you ideas on what you can tweet about--and guidelines for how much personal, how much marketing!
4. Help you get over your fear of marketing (or over being shy about writing tweets) by giving you examples of tweets with critiques (can you believe!) for you to learn from.
5. Help you with tips for keeping the time you spend on tweeting (and other social media) to a minimum.
6. Show you how to harness the power of an entire online campaign, both in terms of reaching your audience and in saving you tons of time.
7. Nope. This book does not every Twitter app known to Tweetdom! There are some 70,000 of them at last count. Only tried-and-true ones, the ones you need.

Frugal and Focused Tweeting's online book launch powered
by Aggie Villaneuva of Promotion a la Carte.

What People are Saying
Frugal and Focused Tweeting

“Experts say that when business is slow, the last budget one should trim is advertising. Frugal and Focused Tweets lets a retailer have their promotions online and do it very nearly free.”
~ Robert Ricciardi, President of About Face


“In thirty-five years in the industry, there are only a handful of retailers I have observed reach the success level of Carolyn Howard-Johnson. There is only one thing you need to learn from her to succeed . . . everything she says!”
~ Randy H. Eller, industry speaker, business consultant, and President Eller Enterprises, LLC


“As a columnist for Home Décor Buyer, Carolyn’s no-nonsense approach to retailing and her easy-to-read writing style made her a coach to thousands of retailers.”
~ Jim Carper, founding editor of Home Décor Buyer


“The use of social media by retailers is tricky business. Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers details practical strategies for retailers to connect with their target audience in a way that delights them, builds relationships, and creates a sense of community with people of like interest. It will help you not only drive new traffic to your site, but it will also help you create a loyal following of repeat clients . . . It’s a treasure trove of information."
~ MaAnna Stephenson, Web site training and designs and author of Blogaid's how-to on using Wordpress


For all who want to successfully compete in the marketplace regardless of the services or products being offered to a consuming public, [Howard-Johnson's] books are like a  congenial roadmap with all the shortcuts and detours to your future prosperity.
~ Joyce White, author Sculpting the Heart with Art Therapy

gift shop magazineFrugal and Focused Tweeting
was launched at the National Stationery Show and given as handout to those who attended seminars conducted by Patricia Norins, editor and publisher of Gift Shop magazine. The magazine is also featuring it in the some issues of Gift Shop along with its sister books, Your Blog, Your Business and A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions.   

What You'll Find In
Frugal and Focused Tweeting


1 - The Basics: What Did You Say Twitter Is?

2 - Your Twitter Goals and Checkup

3 - First-Step Twitter Tools

4 - Build Your List of Followers
ˇ Invite your customers to Tweet with you
ˇ Invite those on your media list
ˇ Plumb other lists for followers
ˇ Accept those who follow you 
ˇ Invite Tweeters who are interested in your products
ˇ Watch the #FollowFriday or #FF entries
ˇ The Find People link
ˇ Tweeters who use Twitter’s Listed feature 
ˇ  Host Twitter chats
ˇ Run a Twitter contest
ˇ Everyone loves Tweets about Tweeting
ˇ Another friend maker is the Retweet function
ˇ Sweeten your Tweets with value
ˇ Build your own Twitter lists
ˇ Let people connect with you at a local level

5 - Other All-Over-The-Place Basics
ˇ The star
ˇ Reply
ˇ Retweet

6 - Do Those Other Twitter Links Affect You?
ˇ How actively do Tweeters Tweet
ˇ Following and followers links
ˇ Your Listed statistic
ˇ Your moniker or username link
ˇ The Direct Message link
ˇ Favorites
ˇ Retweets
ˇ Lists
ˇ Trending Worldwide
ˇ Following
ˇ RSS Feeds

7 - One to the Nth Power: The Exponential Clout of Your Online Efforts
ˇ Tweets are the workhorses
ˇ Favor others online
ˇ Jumping onto others’ blogs
ˇ Drop in on anyone who mentions you
ˇ Your e-mail signature
ˇ Join a Twitter chain
Give a Twitter party



Midwest Review
Frugal and Focused Tweeting

MBR Bookwatch: June 2010
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575 

Vogel's Bookshelf

Frugal And Focused Tweeting For Retailers
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
HowToDoItFrugally Publishing
9781451546149, $17.95,

Reviewed by Paul  T. Vogel

No 'brick and mortar' business can survive in today's marketplace without including the advances in communications technology represented by the computer, the internet, web sites, the Blackberry, Facebook, blogging, and now -- twittering. That's why Carolyn Howard-Johnson's "Frugal And Focused Tweeting For Retailers" should be considered mandatory reading for all business managers over the age of 30. And that's because younger generations than that, the phenomena of twittering is already well established and near universally entrenched. Using 'social media' communications technology is vital for successfully competing in the marketplace regardless of the services or products being offered to a consuming public. "Frugal And Focused Tweeting For Retailers" is a 130-page compendium of invaluable, practical, instruction, tips, and techniques for integrating this new technology into marketing and management, maximizing results for publicity, promotion, advertisements, and sales; customer relations; internal communications, and more, making "Frugal And Focused Tweeting For Retailers" an invaluable and highly recommended addition for personal, professional, academic, and community library instructional reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

The launch for Frugal and Focused Tweeting was planned by Promotion a la Carte.

About the Author
Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers

Carolyn Howard-Johnson puts nearly three decades of retail experience plus oodles more in the fields of journalism, public relations, publishing, and marketing into her Survive and Thrive series of books. She consults in the three Ps, publishing, promotion, and publicity, and is the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and now the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers. She is also author of several award-winning books of fiction and poetry.

Howard-Johnson founded and operated stores ranging from home décor to gifts to antiques and other collectibles. She also owned and operated the souvenir shop at the world renowned Santa Anita Race Track. She served on the boards of directors of periodicals like Gift Beat, of the malls where her stores were located, and on the boards of cooperative catalogs her stores utilized. She also served on the California Gift Show board of directors. She has written for assorted industry periodicals including Home Décor Buyer and LA Mart. She puts this world of experience in retailing to work for you with this series of Survive and Thrive books and in private consultations.

Howard-Johnson was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by members of the California Legislature. American Business Women’s Association Impact Council also named her Woman of the Year and Pasadena Weekly honored her for literary activism. Her Web site is She blogs at Here she is pictured with Frugal and Focused Tweeting for Retailers.

Frugal and Focused Tweeting

Before We Get Started

My first Survive and Thrive book, A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions, was designed to position any independent retailer as the go-to store for the products or services it sells. That book was based on my experience as founder and operator of independent gift shops serving several different clienteles from Palm Springs to Las Vegas to Los Angeles. This book is based on my experience as a Tweeter—from the beginning of Tweetdom—for retailers and my fellow authors.

You’ll notice I capitalize words that have been inspired by Twitter, and there are a bunch. Twitter has infiltrated our entire culture and the caps are meant to remind of us how important Twitter’s influence has become.

I’ve also put some words in bold typeface to cue readers that they can find their definitions in Appendix One of this book. It wouldn’t hurt for readers new to this micro social network called Twitter to peruse that section early on, especially if they are also new to the great world of the Web.

Tweeting is sometimes thought of as outside the usual business box (don’t you believe it!) because it’s fun and breaks some of the old rules. It follows that a book on Tweeting should attempt to follow suit. Using caps and putting font in bold lets the process feel light and easy. Besides, Twitter retains it newness and importance. Twitter is exciting. Twitter has a life of its own. I can't help myself.

I don’t inundate you with long lists of applications designed by people to help you manage your Tweets. There are, indeed, thousands of such applications. 70,000 at last count. Instead, I give you the one (or the ones) that came highly recommended to me or the one I’ve used with success. And trust me, I look for user-friendly help.

There is no point in cluttering your Twitter life with extraneous stuff until you’re ready. That’s why I put some of the links for you to explore in a chapter called “Do Those Other Links Affect You.” You can Tweet a long time—and do it effectively—without many links you find on Twitter. That’s also why I put some of the essential help that applies to most every aspect of Twitter in the Appendix where you can find what you need easily. Twitter was designed to be a simple communication device. I propose to keep it as simple as possible, or at least as simple as you want it to be.

I want my books to be quick studies for retailers who want to focus on specific aspects of their marketing campaigns, in this case Tweeting and integrating Twitter with their other social media. I hope this one boosts your entrepreneurial spirit and provides enough detail to take the fear (or dread!) out of doing what you must to carve your niche among Tweeters interested in stores, shopping, and the retail industry.

Some readers will be old timers. I try to give enough details that newcomers won’t be left scratching their heads and asking, “Well, yeah. But just how do I go about that?” And I believe there are enough new ideas, slants on old techniques (if we can call anything about Twitter old!), and inspiration in this book to make seasoned retailers and even techies sit up and take notice.

To take that one step farther, I'm begging those of you who are veteran Tweeters not to skip the first section of this book because the basics feel familiar. I don’t want you to miss valuable tips. As an example, there is a knack to biographies of any kind, but Twitter bios—like all things Twitter—must be brief. What you say in the few characters you are allotted can encourage people to follow you (much like becoming your friend on Facebook) so they can learn more about your store and how it can benefit them . . . or not. Just because you have written your biography doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a little sprucing up. So read on. Think not in terms of just Tweeting but in terms of focused marketing using Twitter as a tool.

I also want to encourage readers to open a Twitter page so they have a visual as they read this book. A printout of a page—your page once you get started—may help somewhat, but the formatting may not be true.

I try to give my readers the exact placement of Twitter links, too. This is a how-to book, after all, and I want to be kind to beginners. But because Twitter is new and because technology and social networks seem to feel it’s their duty to add new handy knickknacks to their sites and to make them more beautiful, links move around. Without notice! If a link isn’t where I said it would be, keep searching. You’ll probably find it. If you see a new link, click and explore. By that time, you’ll be so Twitterfied, you’ll have no difficulty figuring new things out.

Buzz About Twitter

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers
(Retailers are writers--think of all that blogging and advertising copy!
Writers are retailers--think of all those books we must sell!)

We think of spring as a time when tweeting is in the air. These days it’s a year-round occurrence. Last I checked there were some 70,000 apps for Twitter. But I believe in making it easy. So let’s cut some of the background chirping and go straight for Twitter essentials. Here are some tips from my Sharing with Writers newsletter (Subscribe using the sign-up form at the top of the column on the right  or learn more about it.). There are enough tips here to get newbies started and give old-timers some new ideas.

Note: The stars denote an application or tips that I consider essential or use all the time.

Sign up (easily) at

Twitter Tip: To find appropriate people to follow on Twitter account, use It's as important to use Twitter to learn new things as well as to get your message out so try to be inclusive in who you follow.

Twitter Tip:  Wow! Here's a way to make your tweets do double duty, encourage you to keep your tweets focused, and refresh your e-mail signature as often as you tweet.  Use Wise Stamp Signature ( ) to automatically feed your latest tweet into your latest e-mail signature.

Twitter Tip: Evaluate how you're doing on Twitter and how others are doing but do be careful 'cause stats can be misinterpreted. Try .

Twitter Tip: Here’s a great new Twitter aid. It will help you personalize your Twitter backgrounds or wallpaper:

Twitter Tip: You can clean out your nonfollowers from your Twitter account with because it’s easy to use—i. e., frugal of time--but you can only delete so many in any 24 hour period unless you sign up for a paid membership.

Tweet Tip: Regarding HashTags at you know that by using the # (hashtag) sign before a word, you can tag your tweets? This site tracks the most popular hashtags. As an example, I use a hashtag #Tweeps4Writers which indicates that the tweeter I’m recommending is a resource for writers. If you look that hashtag up right now, you’ll find many authors, book marketers, and even some agents I’ve recommended in the past. Find my REGISTERED hashtags on this site.

*Twitter Tip: -Put your shortened link in your tweet first so that when the tweet gets retweeted, part of the link doesn't get lost.

 *Twitter Tip: is a site where you can register your hashtages. When other tweeters pick up on your hashtags, they will get pointed to your Twubs profile page and you can brand yourself with your own hashtags.  

*Social Network Tip: Check the biography on your social network sites. They say 82% of unsuccessful twitter accounts have no bio. Even if you use Facebook, as an example, for your personal friends only, it is only a courtesy to introduce yourself. You’d do that at a party, right?

*Twitter Tip: To delete people not following you go to: Why would you want to do that? Generally you don't want to follow people who aren't interested in a two-way conversation and you certainly don't want your stats to show you following hundreds of people more than follow you!

*Twitter Tip: If you think your tweet might be worthy of a retweet, keep it to 120 characters. That leaves room for the retweeter’s own @username in it. Your followers are more likely to retweet if they don’t have to work too hard at it.

Twitter Idea: Did you know that Twitter is increasingly being used in ways related to search engine research? If not, turn to CNN for just one evening’s news and you’ll get it. How can you turn this into something that will help position you as an expert?

Twitter Retweet Tip: One of the tricks to getting wide exposure on Twitter is to get other people to retweet your tweets. Heres an article that tells you how to do it:  The Science of Retweets by Dan Zarella: . My favorite method is to give information that people are likely to want and need. The other is to occasionally ask to be retweeted.

*Social NetworkTip: Tell your friends and/or followers about the success someone had because of a service you offer or information in your book. An example would be, “Sharing with Writers subscriber ( received a working computer from a fellow subscriber when she was out of work after surgery.”

TIP: For a really big list of Twitter aids go to John Kremer's Twitter Tools page:

Twitter Tip: Add you blog to Twitter by using

Twitter Tip: Don’t add your Tweets to Facebook using RSS feeds if you tweet frequently. Your Facebook pals may get tired of you when ten tweets a day appear on your Facebook page!

Twitter Tip:  List your book in Author Directories in different categories of interest. Use these links:

Twitter Tip: Extend the reach of your Twitter efforts at  Put yourself in all relevant categories. It may just be "Authors and Writers" but you may fit other places, too, depending on your area of expertise. Like "Teaching." Or, in my case, "Marketing," "Publishing," and "Retailing." You can categorize yourself in up to ten of them.  


Carolyn Howard-Johnson collects Twitter tips for her newsletter. She says, “people keep asking me how Twitter can help sell books and other merchandise. Maybe it can't. But it will brand you if you keep your tweets content laden and on target instead of talking about going to bed and what you ate for breakfast. Great branding leads to sales of all kinds. When I hadn't been tweeting more than two months, my Twitter Promo record included: Three blog interviews. Two podcasts. And a new friend who helped me plan my first trip to the New York Stationery Show when I spoke there--frugally! (-: My Twitter address is My Twitter address for retailers is But remember, authors with published books are--by necessity--retailers, too!



Don't make Tweeting hard. At it's best, it is simple and fun. Take what you need and leave the rest. It can be a great success with only a few Tweets a day, some personal (no need to get too personal, though!) and some razor-sharp marketing, like specials and discounts. The only iron-clad rule is for a Twitter account that is meant to work for you, is that you must stay focused.

 Find at least one tip on writing, promotion, or tech on every page of this Web site. 

Buy Links for Carolyn's Books

Great Fiction
HARKENING at Amazon in their new and used feature.

Great Poetry
Purchase TRACINGS (Finishing Line Press) at Amazon.
IMPERFECT ECHOES: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters,
lie and oppression with Small

Give the gift of poetry with a chapbook from Magdalena Ball's
My Celebration Series

CHERISHED PULSE: Unconventional Love Poetry
IMAGINING THE FUTURE: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions
SHE WORE EMERALD THEN: Reflections on Motherhood
BLOOMING RED: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
DEEPER INTO THE POND: Celebration of Femininity
SUBLIME PLANET: Celebrating Earth and the Universe

HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers
Second Edition

Survive and Thrive Series of HowToDoItFrugally Books for Retailers

Most of Carolyn's books are also available for the Kindle reader.
Did you know that with the Free app, Kindle can be adapted to any reader--even your PC!

 "Careers that are not fed die as readily
as any living organism given no sustenance." 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Studio photography by Uriah Carr
3 Dimensional Book Cover Images by iFOGO
Logo by Lloyd King

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Frugal E-Book Tip

Kindle E-Books Aren't
Just for Kindle Anymore

Did you know that Amazon’s Kindle e-books are a low-cost/no-cost way to access books even if you don’t have a dedicated Kindle reader? You can read Kindle's e-books on smartphones, desktop computers and any e-device in between. You can even store the books on the Amazon cloud.

~ Quote from Diana Schneidman, author and marketer


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Authors Broadcast for reasonably priced and thoroughly professional video book trailers. 



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Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers

"I have been a professional writer 40 years, and am also a tenured full professor of journalism. Carolyn's Sharing with Writers newsletter is  most useful for me--and for my students. I emphasize to them that while research is 90% of writing, and the actual writing is about 10%, there's another 100% out there called promotion. Carolyn shows numerous ways to get the message to the mass media."
~Walter Brasch, author and educator

"A decade of bettering writers' careers with how-tos, tips, and publishing news."

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Carolyn's Blogs

The Frugal Retailer Blog
Carolyn shares nearly three decades of retailing experience   with
an emphasis on marketing.

Sharing with Writers
All things publishing with
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101 Best Website list.

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Great way for readers, authors, reviewers and publicists to get more
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Imperfect Echoes
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Published Shorter Works

Carolyn's How to Do it Frugally Series

For Writers
For Retailers

Retailers are definitely writers, too, these days. To compete they must write blogs, ad copy, store and business mottos--or pay a bundle to have it done for them.

Carolyn's Awards

Awards for Carolyn's Books, Blogs and More

The New Book Review
Named to
Master's in Online Universities'

101 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers

Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites
Sharing with Writers blog.


Best Book Award for The Frugal Book Promoter (2004) and The Frugal Editor (2008) and the Second Edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (2011).


Reader Views Literary Award for The Frugal Editor

New Generation Award for Marketing and Finalist for The Frugal Editor

Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award

Military Writers Award of Excellence for
Tracings, A Chapbook of Poetry.

A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion wins author Military Writers Society of America's Author of the Month award for March, 2010


Gold Medal Award from Military Writers Society of America, 2010. MWSA also gave a nod to She Wore Emerald Then, a chapbook of poetry honoring mothers.

The Frugal Editor Named #! on Top Ten Editing Books list.

Finalist New Generation Book Awards 2012, The Frugal Book Promoter; Finalist 2010 The Frugal Editor;
Winner 2010 Marketing Campaign for the Frugal Editor

The Oxford Award
the alumna who exemplifies the Delta Gamma precept of service to her community and who, through the years, devotes her talents to improve the quality of life around her.

The Frugal Book Promoter is runner-up in the how-to category for the Los Angeles Book Festival 2012 awards.

Glendale City Seal
Winner Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts
Glendale California's Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Glendale Library,

And more than a dozen other awards for Carolyn's novel, short story collection and poetry. See the awards page on this site.

Sales Tip

Twitter is so popular that sometimes we get the equivalent of a busy tone when we try to access it. Annoying yes?

Well I have an anecdote for you. Once, I sat on the board of directors with one of the principals of Enesco, makers of the just-growing-famous Precious Moments. The board was trying to resolve the ever-present problem of waiting in line to register at tradeshows--with very little success. This gentlemen who was experiencing similar problems with retailers needing more product than his company could produce,  said: "Sometimes lines can be a very good thing."

Of course he was right. Witness how people are willing to stand in lines overnight for the new edition of the iPhone. Having to wait for something sometimes signals success and, in general, folks want to be part of success!

  Find tips on writing, promotion, or tech on every page of this Web site. 

Great Point-of-Purchase Greeting Cards of Real Poetry
Available in Quantities of Twenty-Five

Cover art by Vicki Thomas, Poetry by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson

"Cherished Pulse is full of poems that describe love from the eyes and hearts of young and old. We see love in its youthful stage, stirring the hearts of man and woman alike and tying a bond that even death cannot break. As we continue reading, we understand that love deepens into an awesome, but quiet joy as the couple grows older. These poems renew our faith in love as they remind us of our own experience with this most sought after emotion."
~ Lucille P Robinson for


Third in the Celebration of Chapbooks with Magdalena Ball, Imagining the Future is written expressly for fathers "and other masculine apparitions."

She Wore Emerald Then is a book of Moods of Motherhood: thirty poems by award-winning poets Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, with original photography by May Lattanzio. A beautifully presented, tender and strikingly original gift book, ideal for Mother's Day or any day when you want to celebrate the notion of motherhood in its broadest sense.  Share this collection with someone you love.

More on Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational on this Web site.

Sublime Planet is an e-chapbook and paperback published in the time-honored tradition of poets everywhere. This collection of ecologically oriented poems traverses a wide terrain, moving from the loss of species to the beauty of the natural world, from drought to the exploration of alternative planets. It's an exhilarating collection that breaks boundaries and leads the reader deep into the personal heart of perception. Released by award winning poets Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball to celebrate Earth Day, this is a collection of poetry that weaves the personal with the universal. Photograpy by Ann Howley.

“Whatever your age these poems celebrating women will speak to you of times to look forward to or to remember. These are not poems to be read once. They will stay with you forever.” ~ Nancy Famolari, author.

Also by Carolyn:

Tracings is winner of the Military Society of America's Award of Excellence and named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads of 2005

Imperfect Echoes is Carolyn's newest poetry book. Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small. 

Cover and interior art by Richard Conway Jackson
All proceeds go to Amnesty International

Carolyn's Frugal Editor Awards

Awards for Carolyn's aid to
better writing and

The Frugal Editor


  • Winner Reader Views Award for Best Professional Book

  • Winner USA Book News Award

  • Finalist Next Generation Book Awards

  • Winner Next Generation Book Awards for the Marketing Plan for that book

  • Honorable Mention from Dan Poynter's Global E-Book Awards

  • Book Publicists of Southern California (BPSC) coveted Irwin Award


Recommended Book for Anyone Opening a Business in the US

As Featured in
Publishers Weekly

Gold winner for Readers Favorite Nonfiction/ Education

And a silver
Global E-Book Award

"The chapter on business is a mini course in entrepreneurship . . ."

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