The Great First Impression
Book Proposal

Everything You Need to Sell Your Book in Twenty Minutes or Less
Originally published as an Amazon Short

 "Because you have little time or patience for learning
what you hate to do, even though what you must do it." 

" can't go wrong in faithfully following Carolyn Howard-Johnson's advice in
her INVALUABLE book proposal booklet."
~ Frances Lynn, author of Crushed

So, this is it. My new new version of my old Amazon Short, part of my new booklet series. There are lots of other books on writing proposals out there. The thing is, writers generally hate to write proposals. They don't even much want to learn about  writing them. So, why a whole book when you can do it in 20 minutes or less? The introduction to this new booklet will give you the whole story behind the writing of it and in the body of this mini book you'll have the makings of a Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need to Sell Your Book in Twenty Minutes or Less.  

Unfortunately, Amazon discontinued their Short program. So I am working on a new edition of that little e-booklet. It will be revised and a bit longer. Also, unfortunately, I can't give it away for 49 cents as I was doing with Amazon. Instead, I am giving it away FREE with your subscription to my Sharing with Writers newsletter (see subscription information in upper right corner of most of these Web site pages). For those who want it in paperback or for those who aren't much about newsletters, it is now available on Amazon for the pretty good price of $6.95. The choice is yours!

This is the cover as it was when it was an Amazon Short.
I loved it! It was clean. A straight-forward font.
Watch for the new one on the paper edition!


This is the new cover for the revised and updated booklet
now available on Amazon. I used a template for, it too, because
that's the most frugal way. It allowed me to keep it to $6.95.
 It's a booklet for those who write so,
for branding reasons, it has similar a similar look to
Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips.
Hope you like it!

The Great First Impression Book Proposal is now available
as an e-book (that means you get to download it immediately
and start to work on your proposal in twenty minutes).

Scroll down for a review on the updated booklet from Jennifer Akers. Find other reviews on the Great First Impression Book Proposal page at: Frances Lynn's Writerholic Blog

Here are links for more information on each of Carolyn Howard-Johnson's major published works for writers.

  • The Frugal Book Promoter, my way to share the pitfalls of publishing with other authors in hope they won't fall into the same potholes I did.
  • The Frugal Editor, second in the HowToDoItFrugally series, sharing my system for keep editing gremlins at bay.
  • Audios I coproduced to share the ins 'n' outs of writing, book promotion and marketing on the net.

Rey Ybarra and I chat at the Irwin Award ceremony. Rey is host at BSATV.
The photo is by his director and camera person, Randy Detroit.

What People Are Saying
Great First Impression Book Proposal

The Great First Impression Book Proposal

Marketing is never easy…  Well, it might be if you follow the easy steps Carolyn Howard-Johnson offers up in The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need to Know About Selling Your Book in Twenty Minutes or Less.  Lists!  We love lists.  Anyone, almost anyone, can follow steps 1- and find their way to success; anyone who has a good list can anyway.  And not all lists are created equal.  Howard-Johnson’s lists are created superior:  easy to understand, easy to implement, and even easier to read (She means it when she says 20 minutes or less).  As helpful information goes those three things are winners, but she gives us more: a list of other resources on book proposals.  I will recommend this book to all of our authors, and potential authors, at LadybugPress.
Georgia Jones, Editor in Chief, LadybugPress/NewVoices, Inc.

" can't go wrong in faithfully following Carolyn Howard-Johnson's advice in her INVALUABLE, very short page book proposal."
~ Frances Lynn, author of Crushed

 “  concise yet informative instruction manual on how to write a book proposal, author Carolyn Howard-Johnson offers a long list of golden-nugget-TO-DOs and smart ideas which can help guide writers past the Gatekeepers.”
~Kathe Gogolewski, author and artist

 “I just finished reading your Great First Impression Book Proposal. . . . I like your style and encouragement. I was a bit intimidated about finishing my book proposal. I was thinking it had to be stiff and boring. I even have dialogue in mine. I thought I’d have to cut it out. Now, I’ll probably leave it in.”
~ Wanza Leftwich, author, blogger

I love [your Great First Impression Book Proposal]! My husband was amazed at all the info crammed into this short booklet. You could have charged a lot more. I just revamped my proposal to follow the guidelines in it for my latest book . . .”
~ Myrna Lou, palmist/psychic/author

"You are what I describe as an energy-giver. So many people today are energy-drainers."
~ Dorothea Helms, author and Dayton University workshop attendee


Really Smart Proposal

Reviewed by Treacy Clement, originally for Amazon

I have relied on this wonderful little guide when writing previous book proposals, and got it out again this morning as I am starting a new one. Carolyn strips all the intimidation out of writing a book proposal. Her clear, hands-on advice makes proposal writing not only less daunting, but in fact enjoyable. 


"This is a really smart proposal," was one comment from an agent who went on to sell my nonfiction book to a publisher. The "smartest" thing about it? I used Carolyn's guide to write it! 


Treacy Colbert is a medical writer based in Southern California. She is co-author of End Your Menopause Misery and Before It's Too Late. When she isn't writing about health and medicine, she explores love, death, and 3-In-One Oil on her blog, The Green Side of the Grass.


How To Impress a Publisher

 By Jennifer Akers

 If you’re interested in writing a book, then I’ve found a great resource for you. Written by PR guru, award-winning writer, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, The Great First Impression Book Proposal guides you through every step you need to know to impress a publisher.

Do you know the differences between fiction and nonfiction writers trying to sell their books? The former writes their book first and then sends a query letter, including a specific number of chapters (requested by the publisher or agent). Their book must be ready to go because the publisher may want to contract their work.

Nonfiction writers send proposals, in which they need to impress the publisher on the idea of their work. The book isn’t written. Before that sounds like the easier path of the two, it isn’t. A book proposal is well researched and formatted; the process is similar to writing a book and can be complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing.

To the rescue, The Great First Impression Book Proposal! In six chapters, you’ll learn how to get past gatekeepers, entice jaded gatekeepers, get an open invitation, and keep those doors open. You’ll also have a checklist to make sure your proposal is at its best. The resource section includes a basic query letter sample, suggested studies, and resources for editing, grammar, book promotion, publishing and more.

A book proposal is a mysterious beast. It’s not something you can bypass; it’s a necessary “evil” of the publishing world. To do it correctly, you need to know the guidelines. In essence, you’re proposing a business deal, but your letter shouldn’t be too formal. It needs to be friendly with eye-attracting titles without being too cozy or using over-the-top language like “amazing”. It’s a fine balance; one you’ll need to learn to be successful.

You’ll learn about the publishing industry; the correct way to research, write, and format your letter; and the steps to make yours a winning proposal. This is a jammed-packed resource, with the tag line “Everything You Need To Know To Impress A Publisher in Twenty Minutes or Less”. A quick read with everything to write a winning proposal.

Howard-Johnson writes with the experience of a professional and the candor of a best friend who doesn’t want you to fall on your face. With humor and friendliness, she offers solid, practical tips. She is one of my favorite authors, and her books always top my must-have list. This one is no exception. It’ll stay on my resource shelf.

If you’ve ever thought about being an author, you need The Great First Impression Book Proposal in your resources.




Before We Get Started 

1.hGetting Past our own Arguments—and Past  Gatekeepers’ Resistance 

2. hGetting Started: The Short Way to the Gate 

3. h Your Overview: How to Make Jaded Gatekeepers Want More 

4. hThe Details: How to Make a Gatekeeper Open the Door for You 

5. hThe Clincher: Keeping the Gate Wide Open 

6. hChecklist: Is your Great First Impression Proposal Ready for its Closeup? 


Basic query letter sample 




Book proposals do more than sell your books. They help you map your book attack. They help you plan your marketing campaign. They are mini organizers that no serious author can do without. Now you don't have to dread the task of learning to write a proposal. You can learn these skills in only twenty minutes with The Great First Impression Book Proposal..

 Find at least one tip on writing, promotion or tech on every page of this website. 


Buy Links for Carolyn's Books

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The books from Carolyn's HowToDoItFrugally series of books for retailers are included. Authors of books are also retailers. Yep, they should blog. Yep, they should Tweet. Just substitute the word "author" when you see the word "retailer." I know you'll benefit from retailers' secrets. I did!

Great Fiction
HARKENING at Amazon.

Great Poetry
Purchase TRACINGS (Finishing Line Press) at Amazon.

Give the gift of poetry with a chapbook
from Magdalena Ball's
My Celebration Series

CHERISHED PULSE: Unconventional Love Poetry
IMAGINING THE FUTURE: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions
SHE WORE EMERALD THEN: Reflections on Motherhood
BLOOMING RED: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
DEEPER INTO THE POND: Celebration of Femininity
SUBLIME PLANET: Celebrating the Planet and the Universe as Never Before

HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers

Survive and Thrive Series of HowToDoItFrugally Books for Retailers

Most of Carolyn's books are also available for the Kindle reader and
using Amazon's app, other readers, too.


 "Careers that are not fed die as readily
as any living organism given no sustenance." 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Studio photography by Uriah Carr
3 Dimensional Book Cover Images by iFOGO
Logo by Lloyd King

All Carolyn's Frugal Books Are Available on Kindle
As Well as Paperback

Helpful Books for Writers

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Poetry: The perfect inspirational gift

Fiction and Short Stories

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Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers

"I have been a professional writer 40 years, and am also a tenured full professor of journalism. Carolyn's Sharing with Writers newsletter is  most useful for me--and for my students. I emphasize to them that while research is 90% of writing, and the actual writing is about 10%, there's another 100% out there called promotion. Carolyn shows numerous ways to get the message to the mass media."
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Find Carolyn on the Web

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Carolyn's Awards

Awards for Carolyn's Books, Blogs and More

The New Book Review
Named to
Online Universities'

101 Book Blogs
You Need to Read

Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites
Sharing with Writers blog.


Best Book Award for The Frugal Book Promoter (2004) and The Frugal Editor (2008) and the Second Edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (2011).


Reader Views Literary Award for The Frugal Editor

New Generation Award for Marketing and Finalist for The Frugal Editor

Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award

Military Writers Award of Excellence for
Tracings, A Chapbook of Poetry.

A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion wins author Military Writers Society of America's Author of the Month award for March, 2010


Gold Medal Award from Military Writers Society of America, 2010. MWSA also gave a nod to She Wore Emerald Then, a chapbook of poetry honoring mothers.

The Frugal Editor Named #! on Top Ten Editing Books list.

Finalist New Generation Book Awards 2012, The Frugal Book Promoter, Finalist 2010 The Frugal Editor,
Winner 2010 Marketing Campaign for the Frugal Editor

The Oxford Award
the alumna who exemplifies the Delta Gamma precept of service to her community and who, through the years, devotes her talents to improve the quality of life around her.

The Frugal Book Promoter is runner-up in the how-to category for the Los Angeles Book Festival 2012 awards.

Glendale City Seal
Winner: Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts
Glendale California's Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Glendale Library,

And more than a dozen other awards for Carolyn's novel, short story collection and poetry. See the awards page on this site.

Carolyn's Blogs

Sharing with Writers
All things publishing with
an emphasis on book
promotion. Named to
Writer's Digest
101 Best Website list.

The New Book Review
Great way for readers, authors, reviewers and publicists to get more
mileage out of
a great review.

The Frugal Editor Blog
This is the Frugal, Smart
and Tuned-In Editor blog.
Covers editing, grammar, formatting and more.
Get the answers you need.

A Selection of Past Speaking Engagements

National Stationery Show May 17-20, 2009 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, NY Consider this a business essential.

Presenter 2009, 2010

Presenter, 2008, 09, 10, 11

Panel moderator, 2007

National Span College
presenter 2002

Fellows presenter, 2007, 08

Co-sponsor and presenter,
2007, 08, 09, 10, 11

University of Dayton Erma Bombeck Writers' Conference, 2006, 2008

Sisters in Crime,
Pasadena, 2009

On the Los Angeles Valley College Campus 2012, Rancho Library 2013

Wisconsin Regional Writers Association
Presenter, Keynote 2010

Book 'Em, NC,
Three Panels 2013

Presenter, 2013


Keynote, 2013


2014 Poster
Seminar Speaker, 2014

Learn of more about "Carolyn's conferences" and other picks.

Published Works Almanac

Other Interests


Carolyn's Poetry

Celebration Series

Carolyn's Literary Works

This is the Place
Published Shorter Works

Carolyn's How to Do it Frugally Series

For Writers
For Retailers

Editing Booklet

Like Carolyn's Great First Impression Book Proposal, Great Little Last-Minute Editing Editing Tips for Writers, is also only $6.95 Each of them take less than an hour to read.

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