About Me

My photo

Marlan Warren is a free-lance publicist who promotes entertainers and book authors (Roadmap Communications and Book Publicity by Marlan, respectively). She is also a film maker (Roadmap Productions), Reiki Master/Teacher (Light Hands Reiki Studio and Institute), Screenwriter, Novelist, PhotoJournalist, Tai Chi practitioner. 

You can check out but you can never leave...


My life, your life, our lives inside and outside of Los Angeles and its angels.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

You have to be THIS smart to read this book: "The Frugal Editor" by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Summary: What sets THE FRUGAL EDITOR apart from the pack of standard grammar/style reference books already available is the ease and simplicity with which it presents a ton of well-organized information. With humor and high intelligence, Howard-Johnson covers an impressive variety of topics vital to every author's survival in 18 chapters, seven appendices and one very accessible index that can help a harried do-it-yourself editor quickly find an answer to a pressing editorial question.
I received a complimentary e-book of THE FRUGAL EDITOR from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. A version might be posted on Carolyn Howard-Johnson's blog The New Book Review.
The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. 

·  Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson

·  Series: HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers

·  Paperback: 288 pages

·  Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2d Edition) (4/3/15)

·  ISBN-13: 978-1505712117

·Available on Amazon     

Book Review by Marlan Warren

THE FRUGAL EDITOR fell into my lap like the proverbial manna from heaven. I received the e-book from author Carolyn Howard-Johnson, in exchange for an honest review.

Like most writers and editors, I worry a lot about punctuation, grammar, style and elusive typos. Author and seasoned publicist/journalist, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, offers a Table of Contents that is in itself a work of art with such promising and funny titles such as:
  • "Getting Cute with Caps"
  • "Effusive Italics"
  • "Quotationl Marks for the Two-Dumb Reader"
  • "Ellipsis Dots Gone Wild"
  • "What About Those Double Adjectives?"
What I found inside this comprehensive handbook is a well organized wealth of information that covers the most common editing questions that may still niggle even the most seasoned of editors.

Howard-Johnson also makes the valid point that even if you were an English teacher or scholar, those "credits" don't perfectly transfer to the knowledge required for acceptable book editing. Likewise, although she provides many handy tips, she still urges authors to seek professional editing assistance. Four eyes are better than two, right?

In addition to its 18 chapters, THE FRUGAL EDITOR offers seven appendices that include "My Generous Agents" (Howard-Johnson has gathered responses from agents about what turns them on and off...Priceless!); as well as sample letters for queries,  including those for media kits and film consideration book submissions.

This book fills a very special niche between the dry, technical style manuals and the more user-friendly, kinder-gentler teacher approach. Howard-Johnson's presentation gives us the feeling that we are seated in her classroom (she is, in fact, a UCLA Writers Program Extension instructor) with the benefit that she will not disappear at the end of the semester.

THE FRUGAL EDITOR is not just one more book of rules and regulations regarding grammar and style for professional or amateur book editors. The ease and simplicity with which this book is presented (deftly organized) belies what I'm sure was a mammoth task:  compiling all this detailed info, leaving no author's manuscript need unturned.

There's probably a manual called "Book Editing for Dummies," but this handbook, like all Carolyn Howard-Johnson's books (e.g., THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER), falls into the "Not for Dummies" category.

After reading THE FRUGAL EDITOR, I wrote author Carolyn Howard-Johnson and suggested the book's motto could be "You have to be THIS smart to read this book." She promptly asked me for permission to use that as a slogan.

Permission granted!



  • Best known as The Frugal Book Promoter.
  • Youngest person ever hired as staff writer for the Salt Lake Tribune--"A Great Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper."
  • Editorial assistant at Good Housekeeping Magazine (NYC).
  • Handled PR accounts (press releases) for fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert.
  • Columnist for The Pasadena Star News, Home Decor Buyer and the Glendale News-Press.
  • Currently columnist for My Shelf: "Back to Literature" (giving out annual "Noble Prize").
  • Graduate of University of Southern California.
  • Instructor for UCLA Extension Program
  • Award-Winning Novelist: "This Is the Place"
  • Award-Winning Non-Fiction: "Harkening"
  • Chapbook of Poetry named "Ten Best Reads" by the Compulsive Reader
  • Won Irwin Award (Book Publicists of Southern California
  • Named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award by California Legislature.

You can hook up with Carolyn and enjoy her communications at:
Sharing with Writers and Readers blog (A Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick!)
Carolyn Howard-Johnson.com
You can subscribe to Carolyn's newsletter by sending an e-mail with "subscribe" in the subject line to HoJoNews@aol.com.

Some full disclosure about this ReviewReviewer:

I am a professional editor. My last assignment was for Green Darner Press.

Despite the fact that I can adequately edit another author's book, my own novel "final" manuscripts end up with not a few errors that only another set of eyes can spot.

I read a lot of newly released books from small presses and indie authors that have noticeable errors (sometimes that even a literate child could spot).

No matter how many times I try to explain to a newbie author the importance of hiring an editor (at least to proofread their manuscript), I get the same response: "I'm afraid the editor will change my style, what I want to say, etc."


No comments:

Search This Blog