Another Column at MyShelf.Com

Back To Literature, Past
A Literary & Poetry Column
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

To Writers with Love: Thirteen Reading Tips from Carolyn Howard-Johnson

I always include a couple of tips in my "Back to Literature" column, one for writers and one for readers. This column is like one big tip for a list of books writers will find extremely useful. There is something here that will help them perfect their craft, something to help them sell their work, something to help them promote their work and even something to help them with research.

New Vintage Type by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson, ISBN 0823099598, published by Watson-Guptill, This book is perfect for authors who are about to publish. It may provide you with ideas you can pass on to your publisher's editor and/or book designer. I notice that in Lisa See's new book, Peony in Love, an entire page in the backmatter was given over to the vintage typeface that mirrored the subject of the book.

The Elements of Internet Style by Editors of EEI Press, ISBN 9781581154924 and How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman, both published by Allworth Press. All who enter the world of publishing these days must also enter the world of the Internet. Whether you're tekkie enough to do it yourself or will only be a sidewalk critic, your website will need you.

The Birds and Bees of Words by Mary Embree, ISBN 9781581154955, published by Allworth Press gives writer 30,000 words. New words and old words they might stumble over. BTW, watch for my new free handbook, Tips to Get the Zero-Tolerance Editor to Look at Your Manuscript. You'll find it soon on my website,

Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents, 2008 by Jeff Hermann, ISBN 978-0977286821, published by Three Dog Press. This is an alternative to the one many authors know. You'll find features in this one you love. Some writers will also find Guide to Spiritual Writing & Publishing by Deborah Herman, ISBN 97809772881, published by the same press, useful.

The Hollywood Creative Directory, ISBN 9781928936596, Hollywood Representation Directory and the Hollywood Distribution Directory, ISBN 9781928936589, are published by Hollywood Creative Directory. Though pricey ($50 to $70) they are excellent references and handy to have on your desktop for finding resources for celebrity blurbs, agents and more. Do know that they are also available at most libraries.

I love visual dictionaries to use as references when I write. AVA Publishing puts out The Visual Dictionary of Fashion, (ISBN 9782940373611) and The Visual dictionary of Architecture, ISBN 9782940373543. These will help you find those words you know like lapel or bias that you can't remember and maybe a few more precise words for something you never knew.

And yes, my new book to be released in October, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, ISBN 9780978515874. Many agents-who-care have weighed in on how to get your query letters and manuscripts in shape for scrutiny and I've shared editing techniques learned from years of writing my own books and editing those of others including simple steps to tame your Word program so it won't trip you up.

Tips and Tidbits

Each month in this box, Carolyn lists a writing or promotion tidbit that will help authors and a tip to help readers find a treasure among long-neglected books or a sapphire among the newly-published.

Writers' Tidbit: Carolyn's blog,, includes everything writer-related from rants on Oprah to the quirky things some libraries are doing these days. You can sighn up to receive each blog entry directly into your e-mail box. Scroll down. Find it in the left column.

Readers' Tip: Carolyn has a new blog for readers to find books they may not find in their newspaper's book sections or the nation's review journals. Visit it at You might even look for some of Carolyn's old reviews there—with permission from MyShelf editor and guru Brenda Weeaks, of course.

2007 Past Columns

Thirteen Reading Tips

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