I rarely post reviews on this blog because I have a blog (The New Book Review) dedicated to reviews. I make exceptions for books I know will help writers like this one from reviewer Carolyn Wilhelm. Enjoy! But feel free to find great reading at ...

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  1. Review: Sharing with Writers Offers Help for Writers
  2. Sample of Great a Book's Backmatter Review Request
  3. Critique Guidelines from Joan Y Edwards
  4. Celebrating 43 Years with a Treasured Quotation and a Self-Google Reminder!
  5. Upping Your Chances for Publication of Your Marketing
  6. More Recent Articles

Review: Sharing with Writers Offers Help for Writers

I rarely post reviews on this blog because I have a blog (The New Book Review) dedicated to reviews. I make exceptions for books I know will help writers like this one from reviewer Carolyn Wilhelm. Enjoy! But feel free to find great reading at #TheNewBookReview, too!
CHJ

 
Title: How Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically
Subtitle: How to get and use book reviews as part of a biable and ongoing campaign for self-published and traditionally published books
Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Published: HowToDoItFrugally Publishing
Series: The multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers
ISBN: 9781536948370
Purchase as e-book or paper on Amazon 

Reviewed by Carolyn Wilhelm originally for Amazon

I like the writing style of this book as it has some humor. 

The author asks, “WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO REACH REVIEWERS ON YOUR LIST? I’m glad you asked.” There is specific and down to earth advice such as: “Don’t say your book is “entitled.’ That’s the wrong word.”

I appreciate the index which makes the book quickly searchable. Put it in the research section. 

Reviews have no value if they can’t be trusted. This book is not about how to manipulate the system. It’s about how to up your chances of getting reviews. Howard-Johnson suggests not sending you romance book to a highly literary reader of Russian poetry, for instance. 

Terms you have maybe heard but do not understand are covered such ad print-on-demand (POD), sell sheets, industry standard, what metadata includes, how to emulate the process that big publishers use, and what great ratings can do for your book and how to manage them. She explains what Amazon Vine is all about, too. What is a praise page? How to quote with permission, and when is permission necessary? 

Should you allow the look inside feature for your book on Amazon? Perhaps there are worries about plagiarizing—but think about it. In stores, people can open and read books. Should you pay for ads or not? What is a digital footprint on search engines? How should negative reviews be handled? What is the Amazon toolbox and how can it help? Do you know how to register a hashtag? How can you get a press pass? Authors want to know.

What is the right category for your e-book on Kindle? What about voting on Amazon? You have a choice to vote helpful (or not). Actually, voting “helpful” for reviews is Karma. What to do if a book is badly written or not worthwhile? What about catalogs — how-tos advantages and disadvantages? 

The Q and A section is very helpful and is like having a conversation with an expert.


The author says a great cover design is essential, but it will be more effective if you use a three-dimensional one. She gives access to an offer to her readers — a special price to create one.

Remember, honesty is especially important in a business that abounds with scams.

MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER 


Carolyn Wilhelm is a writer and blogger and loves Pinterest. Find her at http://thewiseowlfactory.com and tweet with her @wiseowlfactory. 

How Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically


MORE ABOUT THE SHARING WITH WRITERS BLOGGER


Celebrating 43 Years with a Treasured Quotation and a Self-Google ReminderCarolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. 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. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com )
    

Sample of Great a Book's Backmatter Review Request


When I was reading Karina Bartow's new book, Forgetting My Way Back to You, I was taken with the very last page where she and her publisher did something I have long advised. That is, let your reader know you would appreciate a review--especially one on Amazon!  I asked for permission to reprint it here for you because it is one of the best I have seen because it offers other possibilities first and the gratitude and wisdom of it show!  Both authors and readers will also love Karina's biography. Nice!
Here is the reprint from that last page:

 



MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF FORGETTING MY WAY BACK TO YOU

Karina Bartow's Fogetting My Way Back to You was just released and is available on Amazon. It is available in paper or as an e-book.  Her website is KarinaBartow.com and you can follow her on Twitter @KarinaBartow.  









MORE ABOUT THE SHARING WITH WRITERS  BLOGGER



Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. 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. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com )
    

Critique Guidelines from Joan Y Edwards

                                     How to Make Helpful Critiques (c) 2018

By Joan Y. Edwards



Are you in a critique group? Are you floundering for ideas of the best ways to offer your suggestions for improvement? Do you make sure you give positive feedback as well as changes that might need to be made? Good for you. These simple steps will help you.

How to give a good manuscript critique?

When you have someone critique your own work, ask them five of the following questions.
When you critique a manuscript, do a good job. Ask the author to choose three questions from the list below that they would like for you to answer. Choose two or three of your own questions.
If you don't know the writer's wishes, choose five of the following questions and write them at the beginning of the manuscript you're about to critique. It will help you focus on the story's strengths, as well as give the author places that need enrichment.
In your critique, make your opinions clear so that the author is able to tell what you think. Tell the author both ways to correct the manuscript and ideas to enhance the manuscript. Here are ideas to guide you and ensure you give a good critique.

25 Questions for a Critique
After reading a manuscript, answer these questions.
1.   What are three Blue Ribbonpassages (great paragraphs)?
2.   Write down any questions that come to mind as you read the manuscript. Share them with the author.
3.   Point out any pet words that the author uses over and over again? A thesaurus might have synonyms to use in place of them.
4.   What are three main errors in punctuation and grammar the author needs to correct?
5.   Point out where the writer needs to show, not tell. SHOW, DON'T TELL.
6.   Mark examples of passive voice so that the author can change them to active voice.
7.   Use quotes from the story to support your idea. Point out passages that show the author's meaning as it unfolds.
8.   After reading the story, can you write a short (25-100 word) summary telling the beginning, middle, and end? Do so. If not, tell the parts you can and explain the parts of the story that are missing.
9.   Explain where the story hooks you and why?
10.What is the setting (time and place) and how does it influence the story? Would a different time and place enhance the story?
11.What is the point of view? Through whose eyes do you see this story?
12.What does the main character) want?
13.What is the main character) willing to do to get what he wants?
14.What is the conflict that keeps the  (main character) from getting what he wants?
15.Does the hero get what he wants? How?
16.What are the mistakes that the main character makes?
17.What are the main character's flaws? (He’s got to have flaws.)
18.What is the lowest point in the story when the main character felt like giving up or he feels that his situation was hopeless?
19.Did the main character change? How? If the main character doesn't change, who does or what does change. Someone or something has to change in a story or there is no story.
20.What does the main character learn about life from his experiences in this story? (Theme)
21.Name the characters in the story and what each one wants.
22.In the dialogue, does each character have a distinct voice of his own? In the descriptions, can you tell which character is on the page?
23.What do you want to know about the characters that the author didn't tell you?
24.Does the story make sense? If not, note in the manuscript which parts that don’t make sense.
25.Does the ending satisfy you as a reader? If not, why not?

Ways to Make Your Critique Notes Stand Out:

1.   Use a separate piece of paper for your notes. Copy noteworthy passages there.
2.   Do critique on actual pages of manuscript.
3.   Put in blue text at least three Blue Ribbonpassages - my name for words, sentences, phrases, paragraphs, or scenes that are especially well-written. In this particular manuscript, these parts win First Prize - the Blue Ribbon.
4.   Highlight in yellow or put in red text, and/or cross out words. .
5.   Use all caps for your input. WHAT A STRONG BEGINNING!
6.   Or do your own thing. Be creative.
I wish you great success in your writing career. Thanks for reading my blog post. You honor me with your presence. Please  leave a comment. I'd love to hear your ideas on how to give a good critique. Tell me about the best critique you've ever received.
References:
1.   Sheryll Clark. "How to Critique a Short Story:" https://www.ebooks4writers.com/2011/04/how-to-critique-a-short-story/ 
2.   Montgomery Kentucky Schools. "Guidelines to Writing a Short Story Critique:" http://www.montgomery.k12.ky.us/userfiles/1501/Classes/686/shortStorycritique.pdf
3.   Victory Crayne. "How to Critique Fiction:" http://crayne.com/howcrit.html

 
MORE ABOUT TODAY'S GUEST BLOGGER

Joan Y. Edwards is an inspiring author, motivational speaker, and she blogs about writing, marketing and illustration. She is a retired elementary school teacher who loves to read positive thinking books and fiction. She enjoys writing to inspire and motivate people to Never Give Up. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Carl. They love to watch humorous mysteries, such as Columbo and Monk. She loves to connect with you, her readers!  She is the author of  Flip Flap Floodle
Joan’s Elder Care Guide, and 
80 Gospel-Based Crossword Puzzles for Year B.
Joan offers three free gifts to subscribe to blog: https://www.joanyedwards.com 
Learn more about Joan at:
Twitter handle: @joanyedwards
Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/Joan-Y-Edwards-Author-111310278911077/

critique-guidelines-from-joan-y-edwards


MORE ABOUT THE SHARING WITH WRITERS  BLOGGER


Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. 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. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com )
    

Celebrating 43 Years with a Treasured Quotation and a Self-Google Reminder!

I especially love Jim Cox's newsletter because "business" often turns into a lovely literary essay or a neat how-to article or just a reminder. This one (printed with his permission) is a bit of all three.  Thank you, Jim for being around and happy 43rd Anniversary for helping writers get reviews and sell more books!


Dear Publisher Folk, Friends and Family:

Every now and then I come across a genuinely inspiring and quotable quote. Like this one that is a part of the descriptive introduction for Karen Swallow Prior's "On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books" as part of that book's Amazon.com entry:

"Reading great literature well has the power to cultivate virtue. Great literature increases knowledge of and desire for the good life by showing readers what virtue looks like and where vice leads. It is not just what one reads but how one reads that cultivates virtue. Reading good literature well requires one to practice numerous virtues, such as patience, diligence, and prudence. And learning to judge wisely a character in a book, in turn, forms the reader's own character."

I couldn't say it better and just wanted to share it with you.

This month (September 2018) marks the 43rd year of the Midwest Book Review, and me as it's editor-in-chief. At the ripe old age of 75 -- (76 come this November 6th) -- that means that I've been the editor-in-chief of the Midwest Book Review for more than half my life!

To celebrate this 43 year milestone (and just for fun) I went and looked us up on the internet with some Google searches. I really don't know what it means, if anything, but here is what I found:

1. Just typing the Midwest Book Review into the Google search box came up with so many entries that I got tired of clicking on all them after about 15 minutes or so. I was amazed at how many web sites that I had never heard of referenced the Midwest Book Review in terms of specific reviews from us or the services we provided, or the interviews I have given over the years.

2. I then typed in James A. Cox but ran into a lot of James A. Cox's out there. Then I tried James A. Cox + Midwest Book Review and got pages and pages of entries. And my ego being what it is, spent all too much time browsing through them -- blew another hour or so!

3. Then it occurred to me to enter Jim Cox + Midwest Book Review and while a lot of earlier entries turned up there were a fair number of new ones including one for a magazine interview I did for the Pennsylvania Literary Journal: Volume 9 (Spring 2017) which is apparently still for sale at:


and notes that "This issue includes an interview with Jim Cox, who has been editing the "Midwest Book Review" for over four decades, publishing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of book reviews, with a focus on books from small presses that typically struggle with finding interested reviewers. Jim opens up about the realities of making a living from operating a review publication. His insight is essential to any author interested in self-promotion, and who is interested in how the review process looks from the other perspective. "

I also found still another long forgotten interview that I did with Marya Calvani for Blogcritic back in June 2008. You can find it at:


It's nice to be well thought of pretty much throughout the publishing industry down through all these many years.

But my own ego aside, the little exercise I went through this morning is something I would recommended all authors and publishers do in their own behalf at least once a year. For one thing, you could come across references to your work or reviews of your books that you might otherwise never know of.

Incidentally, I just plugged Midwest Book Review into the Amazon.com search box and it came up with 427 results. Not too shabby!"



MORE ABOUT JIM COX, TODAY'S GUEST AND INVETERATE REVIEWER

Those who would like to partake of Jim's wisdom and frequent review of books written specifically to help writers may subscribe to his newsletter at the MidwestBookReview.com website.  His daughter, Beth, also writes one with a focus on tech that will help writers.  You may reach him at at mwbookrevw@aol.com. Be sure to browse the site for great reviews and whole lists of resources useful for authors.


MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER




Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. 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. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com )


Celebrating 43 Years with a Treasured Quotation and a Self-Google Reminder

    

Upping Your Chances for Publication of Your Marketing


As some of the subscribers and visitors to this blog know, I sometimes run QandAs a la Ann Landers in my #SharingwithWriters newsletter. I do it because it addresses problems that authors have in real time. I named it that because I have been an Ann Landers fan for learning life's lessons since I was a staff writer for The Salt lake Tribune and was occasionally in charge of making editorial copy fit the layout for what we called the "Society" section; that meant that I got to edit Ann (Wow!) for space requirements. Mostly it meant that I got to partake of her wisdom most every day and get paid for it!


Upping Your Chances for Publication in My Newsletter—and Most Everywhere Else!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
QUESTION: Thank you for your offer to run an announcement of my newest “Author Success.”  Please just extract what you need from the press release I attached.

ANSWER: I would love to run your success, Annie.  But here’s the thing. Press (really media!) releases are wonderful, but unless an editor just copies and pastes them, most prefer the author send them something that fits their style. I am an example. I don’t like to extract from releases because I live in fear that I'll make a mistake or leave something out. It is also very timing consuming. Dan Poynter used to always make the point of saying submissions for his newsletter should be ready for him to "cut-and-paste."  His heart was always with us.  He wanted to help but could help more if he could get his peeps to make it easy on him, if his insistence on cut-and-paste would help train authors to make it easy on other editors and, as a consequence, get more (and better!) exposure for themselves and/or their books.  

There is another aspect to my being so picky!  I don't know if you have a copy of my The Frugal Book Promoter, but I wrote it to help authors get more free media exposure.  Like Poynter, I consider it my job to set an example for my authors and readers.  In this case--specifically--submit the way you 'd like to see your information in print while taking into consideration the editor's posted submission guidelines. Doing so gives you an edge for publication because editors are busy.  A story that is not as good may get the exposure while your media release or submission gets ignored or lost because the editor or other gatekeeper is so short on time.  The author who submits according to a gatekeepers' guidelines benefits by having more control over what is said or the details selected for the story.  

So, here are my guidelines for my SharingwithWriters newsletter and this blog:

1.    Send your information in the body of an e-mail, not an attachment. You’ll find all the reasons why this is important for almost all gatekeepers including the biggies like large media organizations and academic institutions in The Frugal Book Promoter!

2.     Put clear, concise information in the subject line: Something like, “Author Success for Sharing with Writers.” This kind of subject line lets an editor organize better and lets them know that you had them specifically in mind. 

3.     Let me know you are a subscriber to SharingwithWriters newsletter either in the subject line or the first sentence of the body of the e-mail. I only publish submissions from those who subscribe. 

4.     Some editors wear several hats. So numbers 2 and 3 (above) help them identify exactly what you need from them. Is it for a newsletter? Do you want a review of your new book release? Are you asking for your article to be used as a guest post for their blog? If so, which blog? They may have two or three.
5.     For the Author Successes column in SharingwithWriters, give me one paragraph that includes author name, title, short pitch for the book, link, and an image of your book cover in jpeg. 

6.     For other features like “Opportunities,” read a past issue or two and submit information similar to what you see there. You have probably seen literary review journals give you the same advice. There is no point in submitting poetry to them if they only publish short stories, or experimental fiction if they only publish another genre.

Hint #1: Generally speaking, I try to make each story I publish in this blog or my newsletter useful to my audience (as do most media folks!) and my audience is mostly writers like you. 


Hint #2: Be prepared for some changes. I will probably just copy-and-paste but may edit for style or space, too. Occasionally I'll even fill in forgotten details (like the name of the author!), but only if I have time. If I don't, well, you know . . . 

MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER



Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. 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. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com )


Upping Your Chances for Publication of Your Marketing

    

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