My Beyond-Expectations Book
The Frugal Book Promoter

When I suggested to the director of UCLA Extension's Writers' Program that an e-book on promotion
would be a nice companion to my marketing class for authors
to the director of UCLA Extension's Writers' Program (and she agreed!), I never expected it to be the national success it has been.
Special thanks to Kristie Leigh Maguire, for insisting
that it should be a paperback, too!

Click Here for the Frugal Book Promoter page including contents, marketing credentials and more.
Click Here for the Frugal Book Promoter excerpt

Here are a select few of the
many dozens of reviews

The Frugal Book Promoter

A Literary Site Editor

By David Herrle, editor of  SubtleTea

Permission given to reprint with credits to author and


"John Grisham's story about selling books - store to store, person to person, out of the trunk of his car - is legend, if not letter-perfect true," says Carolyn Howard-Johnson in Frugal's foreword.  Indeed this anecdote exemplifies the obscure beginnings of many now-esteemed authors (and artists in general), from Whitman to Woolf (both former self-publishers).  And since book publishing has only become more complicated, frustrating, tribal, and crystallized by corporate rump-kissing and profit-mongering, a comprehensive guide to contending, planning, and navigating through the difficult (and often desolate or hostile) literary arena is all the more necessary and desirable.


Bottom line: Frugal delivers.  Unlike those crappy Discovery Channel specials that promise to disclose some major secrets about some cold case (like Marilyn Monroe's mysterious demise) or some historical event but either never deliver or reveal a flimsy, trivial, non-conclusive tidbit - Frugal's package doesn't simply tease for the sake of readers.  Many so-called guides and self-help books toot big horns but prove themselves limp from page to page.  "Ok, Davey!" you cry. "We get the point!  The Frugal Book Promoter rocks!  Tell us about the bleepin' thing!"  Want to be frustrated?  There's not much to tell.  The book speaks for itself.


How so?  Well, the complete title gives it all away: The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't.  There.  That's what the book provides.  It shows a BOOK PROMOTER how to be FRUGAL while DOing WHAT his/her PUBLISHER WON'T (or probably won't) do.  That's what's to tell.  Expecting a rather brief overview sprinkled with several decent tips, I ended up quite impressed.  And I like to give credit where it's due.  


Each section and chapter prefaced with a pertinent quotation which often serves as a tip in its own right, Frugal provides detailed, empirical information and advice about publicity, pitching, media kits, credential building, writer's conferences, Internet utility, mailing lists, publishing contract matters, publicist questions, book cover design, promo items, editor etiquette, book reviews, TV/radio spots, extra publicity tactics, book signings/readings, libraries, much ado about Amazon, e-books, sales concerns, keeping a book from fading away, and an appendix with sample media release, reader list form, and queries.  (I'm disappointed that a sample query letter for agents/fiction editors isn't included, but I understand that Frugal is primarily about self-promotion and not the seminal process of courting presses.)  Unsure of how to compose an official media release?  Carolyn provides "Puzzle Pieces" to explain the proper procedure (down to fonts and font size).  An index for the nervous, cut-to-the-chase folks like Yours Truly is also provided.


Carolyn once wrote in a National Association of Women Writers (NAWW) newsletter: "Good PR is carefully targeted.  It is PR in which the recipient feels cared for, PR that is repeated - with love and expertise - over and over again.  These are the essentials and they work."  She quotes a Joyce Jillson horoscope: "It's all about momentum."  Frugal brims with supportive examples of careful targeting and repetitive methods for promotion and maintaining momentum.  Carolyn might have titled the book The Art of PR (which even sounds like Sun Tzu's The Art of War).  Instead, as I've already said, she chose to be ultra-straightforward in title and content.  The book might be nicknamed The Frugal Promo Bible.  Fittingly, it contains commandments - not ten, but nineteen: "19 Commandments for Getting Free Publicity."  (I'm sure the impropriety of using God's name in vain at a book signing or during a radio interview is self-evident.) 


Carolyn doesn't hog the show.  She allows a wider context, frequently referring to other writers/veterans in the field, like Raleigh Pinskey's great script for pitching on the telephone. 


Carolyn has astutely devised an informative, helpful promotion guide that delivers what it advertises - which is the general ethic for being a good self-promoter.  You must believe in yourself and your work in order to genuinely plug a worthy product.  Too often, publishers do the bare minimum for their authors unless they're dealing with Sandra Brown or Tom Clancy.  And books can be considered living things, so to speak, because they can certainly die.  Drawing on multiple sources including her own experience with her books This Is The Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, Carolyn gives hope to those who fear book death.  The Frugal Book Promoter is a reliable life-support system.

Review from a Publisher

Frugal Book Promoter as Profit Generator for Publisher

By Susan Vogel
Review originally published on Amazon and publisher's Web site

Full of useful information, March 1, 2005
This book is useful for small publishers as well as authors. As I read through it I made notes in the margins as to new things I need to do to better market my authors and their books. I ended up with about 100 new ideas! What I like about Carolyn's approach is that she does not just give general ideas, as do some books, but practically does the work for you by giving samples and Web sites as well. As a publisher for the past ten years, I can tell you that a huge factor in the success of a book is the author's ability to market herself and her book. I have given up on books when the author simply is not "out there" selling herself. My most successful authors are devoting several hours a day to promotion including doing many of the things Carolyn suggests in her book. I highly recommend this book for authors and small publishers.

Susan Vogel
Pince-Nez Press
Publisher of God's Brothel, by Andrea Moore-Emmett, who recently appeared on The O'Reilly Factor promoting her book!

Review from an Author

Frugal Book Promoter as Author's Lifeline

Review by Frances Lynn, author of Frantic and Crushed
First Published on UK's Amazon site
Permission to publish credited with author's byline and book credits.

Anyone who wants to publicise their books on the cheap need look no further than The Frugal Book Promoter. I'm a newly published author and it's my Bible. Carolyn Howard-Johnson tells her readers How to Do What Your Publisher Won't. Her book, which is worth buying for the useful URLs alone is the Mecca of how to launch and market for next to nothing. It deals with everything you want to know about promotion, networking and beyond. She gives succinct advice on everything to do with marketing and publishing, including copyright, psychology, pitching and most of all, how to get publicity for your new book for free - or for peanuts.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson stresses that even if a book publicist is assigned to publicise your book, it's still imperative to do your own self-promotion as well. She points out, you know your book and yourself better than anyone else, and that includes a professional publicist from a conglomerate publishing company. If your book is self-published, The Frugal Book Promoter is a lifeline. Glue yourself to it, and follow Howard-Johnson's ingenious and generous advice, step by step. It's full of important advice, like having to start publicising your books at least twelve weeks before publication date.

Carolyn's marketing ideas are unique. 'Using Free and Low Cost E-Books To promote' is one chapter heading - proving that she is way ahead of the promotional game. Not surprising, as she used to be a professional publicist. Her advice on how to write a Media Release and build your own Media Kit is priceless. She also gives invaluable tips on every publication topic you can think of: public speaking, your launch, libraries, writing contests, your Web site, internet radio - tips for your TV/radio appearances. Even how to link yourself in Wikipedia (and why maybe you shouldn't!).

If you want help on how to promote and publish your new book for virtually nothing, then The Frugal Book Promoter should be your sole choice for a desert-island book. I'm not going to let it out of my sight.

The Frugal Book Promoter (First Edition) at
The Frugal Book Promoter (Second Edition) at

Carolyn's General Media Kit
including some sample reviews available
for reprint at no cost.

Carolyn's Media Kit focused on her
poetry and literary work.



Publishing Tip

So, what is the best way for you to publish? Georgia Jones and I talk about that and other writing- and promoting-related subjects. It is in audio section for Write On, part of her Lady Bug Live monthly magazine that features all kinds of goodies for writers, including poetry. Go to Find the little icon of a radio speaker/megaphone on the right of the page for the link. Here’s the link directly to the media player!

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

"[The Frugal Book Promoter] I purchased Saturday is incredible.  It is hard to put it down…you just want to keep reading." ~ Janice Mueller, author and emergency expert, attendee at Publishers and Writers of San Diego, an organization associated with SPAN and PMA

A Smattering of Other Reviews

For recent reviews by Charlene Austin,  editor of Writers and Readers Network, of both of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books, go to .

For a review in the Jewish Press by Yosheved Golani go to



Carolyn recommends that new authors begin to build their clips by reviewing books they'd love to read anyway. Reviews help an author accrue backlinks to the author's Web site (a good way to make Google's search engine sit up and take notice!). Networking with editors is another benefit. Learn more on the topic in The Frugal Book Promoter.

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.

Great Poetry
Purchase TRACINGS (Finishing Line Press) at Amazon.

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 the Planet and the Universe as Never Before

HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers

Survive and Thrive Series of HowToDoItFrugally Books for Retailers

Most of Carolyn's books are also available for the Kindle reader and
using Amazon's app, other readers, too.


 "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

All Carolyn's Frugal Books Are Available on Kindle
As Well as Paperback

Helpful Books for Writers

  Helpful Books for Retailers

Poetry: The perfect inspirational gift

Fiction and Short Stories

To subscribe to Carolyn's FREE online newsletter send an e-mail.

Learn more about Carolyn's newsletter and blog.

Read past issues of Carolyn's Newsletter. 

Subscribe to
Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Sharing with Writers Newsletter

and get a FREE copy of
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

The newsletter has a poetry corner to help poets with resources and craft.

Find Carolyn on the Web

  writers retailers

Carolyn's Blogs

Sharing with Writers
All things publishing with
an emphasis on book
promotion. Named to
Writer's Digest
101 Best Website list.

The New Book Review
Great way for readers, authors, reviewers and publicists to get more
mileage out of
a great review.

The Frugal Editor Blog
This is the Frugal, Smart
and Tuned-In Editor blog.
Covers editing, grammar, formatting and more.
Get the answers you need.

Carolyn's Calendar

Please click on my Google Calendar button to learn more about my upcoming UCLA Extension Writers' Program classes, my writers' conference and book fair appearances, and more.

While You're Browsing...

You will find at least one promotion, writing or tech tip on every page on this site. Sometimes you'll find, two or three! Happy browsing and collecting!


Great book! My copy {of The Frugal Book Promoter} looks like a porcupine, so many pages are flagged with great tips to try.”
Karin Ireland, author, motivational speaker

Carolyn's Calendar

The Frugal Book Promoter Is Available for Kindle. Buy Your Kindle Here:

While You're Browsing...

You will find at least one promotion, writing or tech tip on every page on this site. Sometimes you'll find, two or three! Happy browsing and collecting!

Carolyn's Awards

Awards for Carolyn's Books, Blogs and More

The New Book Review
Named to
Online Universities'

101 Book Blogs
You Need to Read

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

Best Book Award for The Frugal Book Promoter (2004) and The Frugal Editor (2008).

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

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

Published Works Almanac

Other Interests


Carolyn's Poetry

Celebration Series

Carolyn's Literary Works

This is the Place
Published Shorter Works

Carolyn's How to Do it Frugally Series

For Writers
For Retailers

Carolyn's Speaking Engagements

National Stationery Show May 17-20, 2009 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, NY Consider this a business essential.

Presenter 2009, 2010

Presenter, 2008, 09, 10

Presenter, 2007

National Span College, 2002

Fellows presenter, 2007, 08

Co-sponsor and presenter, 2007, 08, 09, 10

University of Dayton Erma Bombeck Writers' Conference, 2006, 2008


SinC/LA Logo by Gayle McGary Partlow




Sisters in Crime, Pasadena, 2009