This has been a very productive day

In fact, the entire week has been like that. Let me summarize this day for you, and then I want to spend a short bit of space and time discussing the why’s and wherefores of book signings and selling books at local events.

As I mentioned in my earlier post. I got up at four-thirty this morning. I’m usually up and well awake around five-thirty, but I had an idea I wanted to investigate. I purchased an inexpensive PDF file creator/editor on line and started to set up sample eBooks made up of the first three chapters from each of my books. That wasn’t such a  good idea – purchasing the PDF creator, I mean. I shortly learned that Word in Office 2010 (Beta)allows you to save a word doc as a *.pdf file. I don’t know if my Office 2007 allows that – I think not, but I’ll check.

Anyway, I added a page to my web site titled “Free Downloads”, wrote an into to the page suggesting visitors download and print the files or save them to their eBook readers and even send them to their friends via email if they like the material. Then I wrote short introductions to each novel, uploaded the *.pdf files to my doc storage on the web site and created hyperlinks to open the files on the user. computer.

Then I set up metatags on the page. Metatags, if you don’t know, are coma-separated, hidden strings of words that describe what you have on the page. In this instance I used eBooks, sample chapters, Author, murder mystery, Florida, and so on. Search engines check metatags and store in info about the web pages their spiders discover. So when you enter a search string like: “free EBooks”, you web site is going to pop up in the return.

About book signings and local events. Don’t avoid them. Run, do not walk, to each and every local event that will have you. Set up a table, wear a hat, bring plenty to drink, and smile prettily for the public. And bring copies of your books, and one or two pens. And a camera. and some sort of hand-out that provides a short bio, a description of your books, your web site URL, and your email address. If you have business cards and bookmarks, bring those as well.

I spent six hours in a parking lot this weekend, frying my brains out, and sold four books. There was very little traffic, and that made it depressing for everyone who brought stuff to sell. Some folks brought quilts, one woman brought packets of spices, another brought photographs in nice frames, and we all sat, smiled and prayed someone would stop by and at least talk with us. When I first got there folks were still setting up their tents. I don’t have one, I am very sorry to say, so I helped them set up their tents and tables, since I was already done with my booth.

Before three o’clock my brain was starting to boil. It was well over a hundred in that parking lot, so I packed up and headed home to a cold shower. But I sold four books. Three were purchased by the folks I helped to set up their tents. I made a connection with each of them. They liked me, so they expected to like the books.

If you can sell yourself, your new customer will close the sale all by himself.

Don’t shy away from local affairs, and don’t sit there like a bump on a log. Sell yourself. you are the best – and essentially the only – resource you have.

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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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