Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Authors: Do Not Discount the Power of "The Lovely Little Note"

Years ago, I took a "Making a Literary Life" workshop from the prolific California author, Carolyn See. She was testing material for her upcoming book of the same title. One point she makes that has always stuck with me is "You should write one Charming Note to someone you admire (who is a celebrity or highly visible in the profession you aspire to). None of the recipients has ever responded with, "Oh this sounds like what Carolyn See advises!"--until now.

A few days ago, another author I greatly admire, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, was interviewed on a radio podcast, and I wrote to let her know how much I enjoyed it. To my surprise, she not only asked my permission to post it on social media, but she posted it on her Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Sharing with Writers Newsletter blog with this prologue::

One Lovely Thank You Note a Day: This is What Carolyn See May Have Meant
In one of her books on writing, Carolyn See advises authors to write one lovely thank you note a day, the emphasis on "lovely." Lots of authors are good at writing thank you notes, especially since e-mail has made it so easy. But "lovely?"  We are all pressed for time.

Still, I have one reader who has sent me several that is an example of the kind of letter I think See would have approved of. Her name is Marlan Warren and she gave me permission to reprint her letter if I thought it would help other writers to do something similar--or at least to nudge them to write their letters. I mean, a note like this can make an author so happy! And the words from a smart publicist are an added bonus!

Dear Carolyn:

I really enjoyed your interview with Maxine Thompson on the Artist First RadioNetwork last night. I felt privileged to hear you and Maxine discuss literature, writers, writing, and your own great how-to knowledge (I’m a huge fan of your How to Do It Frugally series and now a fan of Maxine's show). You are two Old School pros who know better than anyone that being a great writer or editor means more than having been at the top of your class in English.

I especially liked your tip to "Promote the Promotion." This is what I try to explain to my PR/Marketing clients, but it is hard for them to grasp. Most think it's enough to post a "Hey! Buy my book!" on social media and leave it at that.

Your discussion with Maxine about editing was spot on. Didn't she say something about refusing to promote a book that is not ready? I do the same thing. You explained today’s indie author marketing environment perfectly: the Internet has provided new venues for people who want to get their writing "out there," but it has also opened the floodgates for sloppy writing and presentations.

Want to see the rest? -- Check it out at 
Sharing with Writers Newsletter blog

About Carolyn Howard-Johnson 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including 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. Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor