Writing a book is only half of the story

The other half is marketing your book. You have to sell yourself and your product. Connect with bookstores and book clubs, join each and every organization that will have you as a member and every on-line community you can.

You have to sell yourself. Get friends to help, if you have friends. If you don’t, make some. This is not something you can do all by your little ol’ self.

Marketing your book isn’t that easy, but if you can sell yourself, you have a foot in the door when it comes to selling your product. Don’t just walk into a bookstore in ratty shorts and flip-flips and ask the owner pretty please to sell your book for you. Sometimes the naive approach will actually work, but it’s hardly professional, and you might find yourself on the short end of the profit-making stick vis-a-vis that bookstore owner.

Which is a strong indication that you haven’t done a very good job of selling yourself. People in business don’t like to work with amateurs. Do research about the bookstores in every area where you hope to sell your product. Know in advance which bookstores will carry ‘local authors’, and verify what types of work they will accept. Not every bookstore is willing to carry stories about elves battling demons from Mars. Find out in advance what sort of split the owner prefers. Do they purchase copies up front( few will do that, especially on the first few orders) or will they only accept books on consignment, with a 60/40 split at an agreed selling price?. They like to think they can rely on you just as you rely on them.

Once you have a bookstore targeted for an approach, call and make an appointment with the store owner. Introduce yourself over the phone. Be pleasant and courteous. Ask for the opportunity to meet with him or her to discuss the possibility of carrying your work. Don’t go in empty handed. Bring a demo copy the owner can read. Put together a promo pack for your book.

Most people who put in six months or a year or two years writing and editing a novel are not in it for the fun of it. They do all of that research and writing and rewriting for a profit (however small, a profit is still a profit). If you’ve done that much to build your future, don’t let yourself down by behaving as an amateur when you start the marketing phase.

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About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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