Meet Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Author/Editor, Marketing Guru

Carolyn Howard-Johnson on cover of and Frugal Book Promoter

“Meet Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Author/Editor, Marketing Guru” by Joan Y. Edwards

Carolyn, it is good to see you here today. Thank you for being a guest on my blog. I appreciate you coming to share your great ideas for writing and giving us a glimpse into your life as a writer.
Thank you for inviting me. I love to talk about writing. I’m anxious to get started.
3-2-1 Let’s go.

1. How did you do in English as a kid?
Loved English. Hated math. Part of that was the times. Gender bigotry was rampant and this was part of it.

2. When did you decide to become an author?
I decided I wanted to write very early on. I got active as a journalist on my high school newspaper and even got a vague idea for a novel. But that’s different from “becoming an author.” That happened very late-when most people are considering retirement.

3. What’s your favorite book? Why?
Anna Karenina. It first helped me see what cultural repression does to people.

4. Are your characters based on real people?
Most of them are. But not on a single person. I believe that there is no such thing as making a character up from scratch. We all operate on what we know through our senses.

5. Did you outline and plan your books before you wrote them?
I haven’t done that yet. But I plan to. I think it will save me several drafts.

6. How much research did you have to do for writing and/or publishing your books or manuscript in progress?
Very little because most of my writing is based on true stories. Though fact checking is still essential even in a case like this. I do get surprised occasionally about how memory doesn’t serve.

7. Did you cry while writing one of your books?
Yes, and I’ve been told that my readers do, too. But the endings tend to be happy—just in a different way.

8. Do you have trouble saying goodbye to your characters when you finish the book?
I don’t think I ever do.

9. What’s your favorite book you’ve written?
The one I just finished and is the hands of my agent—This Land Divided.

10.  What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you related to your writing or book tours?
A man wanted to know if I had a Ph.D. to write novels. He said he had been to many signings and most authors had them. I discovered the problem was he had been to signings of authors who write nonfiction and I’m not sure he saw the difference.

11.  What is your favorite genre?
Poetry. I love symbol, theme, metaphor.

12.  What’s the best way for a writer to improve their writing skills?
The number one thing to improve your writing skills is to READ IN THE GENRE YOU WRITE IN and READ THE BEST WRITERS IN THAT GENRE.
The second thing is to read books about writing in general. I suggest at least one book a month, even if you think you don’t have enough time for writing.
  • Read about specific areas of writing.
  • Read about writing dialogue.
  • Read about structure.
  • Read Joseph Campbell.
  • Read about grammar and editing.
13.   How can a writer find their distinctive voice for their writing?
All of us have a distinctive voice. It’s a matter of finding it. We do that by knowing what we are passionate about and saying it from the heart.

14.   What’s the best way to choose the right narrator for your book – 1st, 2nd, or 3rd?
Oh,  I could write a book on this. It’s one reason a synopsis or outline is a good idea. It helps us see what will be required. Example. I love first person because it brings our characters close to the reader. But a character can only be in one place at any given time so the author must carefully contrive (without looking contrived) who he or she can tell the whole story without its being obvious—the contrivance that is. An outline will help us see if we can do that.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to write in one voice and switch to another to see how it feels.

15. How can writers improve their revision process?
I just released the 2nd edition of my book, The Frugal Editor. It is available as a Kindle edition and in paperback.  It takes a whole book to answer that question. Yes, it includes: proper formatting, pet words, correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation, varied sentence structure.

16. What does it take to be a great writer?
To be great writers, we must know tons about our entire industry. It makes us better writers but it also prepares us to partner with other experts. No writer is an island, but no writer should put himself or herself at the mercy of another because they don’t understand something about publishing like formatting, marketing –even indexing!
I agree with Joan’s mantra: Never give up. Persistence is the key.

A short bio
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning series of How To Do It Frugally books for writers including USA Book News winner The Frugal Book Promoter. She has been an instructor for UCLA Extension’s renowned Writers Program for nearly a decade believes in entering (and winning!) contests and anthologies as an excellent way to separate our writing from the hundreds of thousands of books that get published each year. She is a poet and novelist. She loves passing along the tricks of the trade she learned from marketing hard-to-promote genres.
Two of the favorite awards bestowed upon her:
  • “Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment” given by members of the California Legislature
  •  “Women Who Make Life Happen” given by the Pasadena Weekly newspaper.
Thank you, Carolyn, for being a guest on my blog. I admire you and appreciate you sharing your expertise with us.
Here are two of Carolyn’s books:
Buy The Frugal Book Promoter, 3rd Edition on Amazon 
Buy The Frugal Editor, 2nd Edition on Amazon: Frugal Editor: Do It Yourself – How to Do It Frugally
Find Carolyn Howard Johnson on the web:
  1. Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s website:
  2. Learn about marketing:
  3. Subscribe to Carolyn’s newsletter by sending an e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the  subject to
  4. Discover more about book marketing and editing by subscribing to her award winning blogs: and
Celebrate you every day.
You are a gift to our world
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards
This interview with Carolyn Johnson-Howard is part of the Authors I Admire Series:
  1. Ann Eisenstein. Catch the Great Dialogue of Amazon Best-Selling Author, Ann Eisenstein
  2. Becky Shillington. Interview with Picture Book and Chapter Book Author, Becky Shillington
  3. Bob Rich, PhD. Interview with Dr. Bob Rich: Writer, Mudsmith, Psychologist, and Editor
  4. Carol Baldwin. Interview and Amazing Facts about Teacher and Author, Carol Baldwin
  5. Gretchen Griffith. Interview with Gretchen Griffith, Versatile and Talented  Author of Books for Children and Adults
  6. Jeff Herman. My Interview of Jeff Herman
  7. Karen Cioffi-Ventrice. Interview with Karen Cioffi-Ventrice – Writing and Marketing Guru
  8. Linda Martin Andersen. Interview and Great Writing Tips from Author, Linda Martin Andersen
  9. Linda Vigen Phillips. Linda Vigen Phillips -Writer of Prose and Poetry for Young Adults and Middle Grades
  10. Joyce Moyer Hostetter. Interview with Joyce Moyer Hostetter – Award Winning Historical Fiction Writer
  11. Margaret Fieland Interview with Intriguing Sci-Fi Author and Editor, Margaret Fieland
  12. Maureen Wartski. In Memoriam: Interview with Maureen Wartski, Artist, Author, and Friend
  13. Megan Vance. Interview and Great Writing Tips from Author Megan Vance
  14. Samantha Bell. An Interview with Samantha Bell – Impressive and Talented Author and Illustrator 
  15. Sandra Warren. Fascinating Ideas and Advice from Sandra Warren, Author
I updated this January 5, 2022.
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Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2014-2022 Joan Y. Edwards
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
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33 thoughts on “Meet Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Author/Editor, Marketing Guru”

    1. Dear Dr. Bob,
      Thanks for writing. Isn’t it cool to find out that you know someone that one of your friend’s knows, too. It is interesting to see how we are all connected! Thanks for reblogging my guest interview with Carolyn. She is a whiz! I am honored to be one of your favourite web friends.with Carolyn. We are in good company!
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

    1. Dear Dr. Bob,
      Thanks for writing. It’s amazing what kind of buttons we have today on WordPress! Thanks for posting a review of Carolyn’s Frugal Editor, 2nd Edition. You are right. Her advice in this book to put subtitles and tag words that would lead people to our books is an awesome idea. I know she appreciated it.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

  1. Carolyn and Joan, thanks for the interview. It’s always interesting to hear how others feel when they write. Also, anything that has the word “frugal” attached to it is a friend of mine. Will look up your books, for sure!

    1. Dear Mona,
      Thanks for writing. You’re very welcome for the interview. I’m glad that learning how Carolyn and other writers feel when they write interests you. Glad that the word “frugal” is leading you to check out Carolyn’s editing and marketing ideas that will help save you money.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

  2. Carolyn,
    Congratulations! You have accomplished so much with your writing, even if you say you got a late start. Way to go! I chuckled at the humorous experience you shared. Please enter me in the drawing for your great resource. I’d love it. Wishing you much continued success.

    1. Dear Linda Andersen,
      Thanks for writing. You are right. Carolyn is to be congratulated for accomplishing a lot even when she got a late start. I’ve entered you and the others who left a comment in the drawing.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

  3. Carolyn,
    Thank you – especially for your response to: best way for a writer to improve their writing skills. It never ceases to amaze me – how much I learn from reading! As a late bloomer myself – I congratulate you, and wish you much success.
    As usual, thank you so much for taking the time to share such helpful writers/authors with us – your fans!

    1. Dear Claire,
      Thank you for writing. You’re welcome for my sharing the interviews with helpful writers/authors. It’s fun for me. I learn a bunch and get to experience the fun of interacting with you.
      I’m very glad that you enjoyed reading about Carolyn’s successful writing strategies. You’re right. It is amazing how much we learn from reading.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up
      Your friend, Joan

  4. great interview Joan,
    I agree with Carolyn about reading in your genre, as a matter of fact that’s what gives me the passion for my own writing, I love those books 🙂 I’m reading a couple of great writing books now, one is No More Rejections by Alice Orr and the other is Writing the Bestseller: Romantic and Commercial Fiction by Jane Porter and Rebecca Lyles. Both are really good and are teaching me a lot about craft. I’ll definitely have to put your books on my TBR pile.

    1. Dear Jacquie,
      Thanks for writing. You continue to amaze me. You and Carolyn are right. Reading in the genre you write in, is an excellent way to learn how to improve your writing in that area.
      Thank you for sharing two books you’ve found to be helpful in teaching you about craft. I’ll check them out.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

    1. Dear Carolyn,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you stopped by. Thanks for tweeting so others can learn about you and enjoy your ideas about writing and marketing.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

    1. Dear Rosemary,
      Thanks for writing. I appreciate you stopping by. I have put your name in the hat for a chance to win a copy of The Frugal Editor, ebook version.
      I hope you find fun and exciting things to read on my blog.
      Never Give Up

  5. Joan,
    Thanks for sharing Carolyn’s interview. She is one of my favorite people in writing, too. What a smart and amazing woman. I have to get the 2nd edition of The Frugal Editor. I have the first one and all her other books. Like you, Like you I’m glad that I know her.
    Dianne Sagan

    1. Dianne, how nice to hear from you. It’s been quite a while! And, yes. I think the second edtion of The Frugal Editor is lots better–more complete–than the first. But then I’d be sorta embarrassed to admit I hadn’t learned any new editing tricks since 2007. (-: Ha!

    2. Dear Dianne,
      Thanks for writing. You’re very welcome for my sharing Carolyn’s interview. You are right. Carolyn is a smart and amazing woman! I put your name in the hat for a chance to win a free copy of her 2nd Edition of The Frugal Editor. Kindle book.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

    1. Dear Karen,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you enjoyed Carolyn’s interview. You are right, she always offers useful content for authors and book marketers.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

  6. Hello Joan & Carolyn,
    I was so happy to see this interview of Carolyn Howard-Johnson. I first “cyber-met” Carolyn when I made the foray into fiction, Carolyn has always been so helpful with inspiration, encouragement and great advice; her books are chock full of great information. She is a fantastic lady and a treasure for sure.

    1. Dear Chelle,
      Thank for writing. It makes me smile to see that you’re wearing a big smile while you read Carolyn’s interview. You are right. Carolyn is a fantastic lady and a treasure.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

  7. What an interesting interview and interesting lady. Oh to be able to write a book about Book Promotion. I admire anyone who knows how to market and does it well. Thank you Carolyn Howard-Johnson for the interview. And thank you Joan for sharing her with us.

    1. Dear Sandra,
      Thanks for writing. It’s wonderful that Carolyn has shared lots of good marketing ideas in her book. It’s fun to see how she helps others achieve their goals, too.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

  8. Dear Readers,
    The following people left comments on the blog: Meet Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Author/Editor, Marketing Guru before midnight last night, February 21, 2014.
    1. Dr. Bob Rich
    2. Mona Pease
    3. Linda Martin Andersen
    4. Claire Iannini
    5. Jacquie Biggar
    6. Rosemary (Arambel)
    7. Dianne Sagan
    8. Karen Cioffi-Ventrice
    9. Chelle Cordero
    10. Sandra Warren
    I asked to choose a number between 1 and 10. Drum Roll. It chose number 7. Therefore, Dianne Sagan, you are the winner of a free eBook version of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Frugal Editor, Second Edition. I know that this book will help you immensely. Please email me at the address from the left-hand column of my blog. I’ll forward your address to Carolyn. She will send you details about how to receive the book.
    Thank you, Carolyn for doing the interview and offering a giveaway. Thank you to everyone who read and commented on this blog post. I appreciate you very much.
    I’m creating a separate post to announce this. You can respond there, if you like.
    Celebrate you.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards
    Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

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