Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review of How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

If you're like me, you have to run your self-publishing business on a shoestring budget. With daughter Number One just out of college and daughter Number Two a freshman this year, every dime has to be accounted for and spent wisely. What could be reinvested often has to go to pay bills or for college.

All the more reason to invest what money you have budgeted for research and educational purposes in the "Frugal" series of books by writer and author Carolyn Howard-Johnson. These books are well worth the money you will spend and the time you will need to invest to read, take notes and digest all the information presented in the books.

The series includes:
  • The Frugal Editor: Do It Yourself Editing Secrets
  • The Frugal Book Promoter (in its second edition now)
  • How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically 
I'm planning my book launch for my first work of fiction, The Predator and The Prey, and I wish I had started reading CHJ's (Ms. Howard-Johnson refers to herself in the text of her book this way) treatise on obtaining reviews two months ago. Even when self-publishing, you need 12-16 weeks lead time for many reviewers. You also need a physical copy of the book to send to be reviewed!
 
The time saved in research in a single area of book promotion/reviews alone is worth the price of the book. For example, I was aware of only two bloggers who write in the genre my book is in. In less than two hours, using the information in the book, I now have a book blog tour mapped out for the entire month of March.
 
Book reviews are a scary topic for authors. I know I hate trying to solicit them. It some how feels like I've become a politician or a used care salesman. Ms. Howard-Johnson addresses all the reasons why authors need to get over this and do the work necessary to solicit reviews in the first section of the book.
 
The second section of the book deals with planning how to obtain reviews. Of particular emphasis is the need to start early and do your homework. Thus my wish I had started reading this book two months ago.
 
Section three deals with a wide range of ethical, and low cost methods of obtaining reviews. Many of these ideas would never occur to the average writer. Ms. Howard-Johnson's years of experience as an author and wide range of contacts in the industry have provided her with a wealth of information she thankfully is willing to share with other authors. Of particular help is the chapter dealing with the all important Amazon.

Section four deals with putting all those great reviews to work for you, helping as many readers as possible find out about your work. Section five covers the practice of writing reviews to broaden your author's platform and create credibility as an author.

Section six covers putting together a media kit and planning for the future of your book. The successful future of your book. It also covers using reviews for when the sales of your book began to slide.

I purchased the Kindle version of this book. I would like to point out Ms. Howard-Johnson went to the trouble to create a functioning index for the book, making it as easy to use as a traditional paperback version. This is no small feat. 

Also included in the book are examples which can be found in the appendices of the book.

If you're frugal, out of necessity or by nature, this book is well worth the price of purchase.