Another free download coming and a short intro to “Branding”…

Another Free Download

My third novel, “Twisted Key” (4 1/2 stars), will be available for free download to your Kindle on December 20 & 21.

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Here’s the back text:

Terry Rankin has a new client; Fatima al Natsche, a Muslim woman living under a sentence of death for her work on behalf of women suffering under Islamic law. Terry’s a businessman – he’ll protect just about anyone who can pay the freight. In fact, he admires Ms. Al Natsche and the sacrifices she’s made to get her message out.

But then her daughter flies over from Norway and gets snatched off the street in front of her mother’s home, and all of the masks come off and all of the dirty little secrets come out to play in the Florida sun.

And here’s the link to the book page on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Key-The-Bend-ebook/dp/B004YDQ5VW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1355756151&sr=1-1&keywords=gary+showalter

Do me a very big favor and please repost this notice for me.

Write, write and write some more

And then rewrite, and rewrite and polish. And then send it out to beta readers and when you get their comments, criticisms and concerns, rewrite again. For however long it takes (years, probably). Never mind the hours of thinking, the miles of travel and interviews with locals and hiking through small towns and large cities, swamps and piney woods and taking photographs and drawing maps and sketches of homes, apartments and other buildings large, small, old and new. Or however or wherever you do your research.  Never mind all of that; that’s the fun stuff. And eventually it will get your book written, whatever the subject or genre. It’s called perseverance, and it works just as long as you stick to it.

But it won’t get your book sold. Don’t get me wrong; perseverance is the key to everything in life. But it’s not the only tool in your toolbox. In the same way that you need some measure of cleverness to write an interesting tale or to sort out quarks from besons in quantum physics, you have to be very clever indeed to market yourself and your new book to an unknowing (and unsuspecting) readership.

That is marketing, and promotion. And those two subjects are just about as alien to a writer as you can get. Writers are by nature introverts. Marketing and promotion, however, require that you put yourself way, way out there where people can see you, and talk to you face to face. And you have to talk, and smile and make sense right back at them. And all the while you wish you could be sitting at your computer writing another story in the privacy of your own mind.

But you can’t; not if you ever hope to make a living as a writer.

Personal appearances aside, you can do a lot of this stuff on line. After all, that is where your market is today.

The first step in selling your work on-line is to create a ‘Presence’. You need a web site, and you need a ‘Brand’. For introverts, this is a tough one. You have to do a bit of bragging. For this you are probably going to need one really good friend. Or at least an honest neighbor.

Describe your work in one sentence or less.

Seriously. Come up with a phrase that describes your work, and do it by comparing your work to one or more other authors who write in the same genre. Readers know these other authors – how does your work compare, and why should anyone buy anything you write, ever? “Joe Shmoe is Ernest K. Gahn by another name.” “Jane Flury writes in the vein of Jane Austin, if Jane Austin were on steroids”. What you are doing is climbing up the coattails of those other authors so you can stand on their shoulders. It’s okay – they’re probably dead and really won’t mind. Much.

Don’t get squeamish about this. You really do need a brand or nobody will recognize you.

Think about this for a minute; think about the number of author’s you’ve read over the years. How many can you come up with? You can write them down if you need to. Now write down the titles of their books. How many titles could you come up with?

Readers remember authors. Titles not so much…

There are other ways to create a brand. Do some research on branding and get to work on this chop-chop. It is that important to you.

Come up with a “Brand’ and do not ever change it. Stick to your guns, and be sure to stick your ‘brand’ on every business card you ever print, use it in your email signature line, on your web site and your blog page and every bit of text you produce to describe your books and yourself.

Set up a blog (yes, they do actually help get your name out there), post frequently (not every day) post intelligently and be sure to link to other blogs and post comments on other blogs frequently (this creates links for you and search engines rank you by the number of links to and from your blog and your web site).

Social media is not a deal breaker for you, but as long as some people, somewhere, think it is you should have at least one social media page about yourself and your work. And use it.

What you will find early on is that you are going to spend a LOT of time marketing yourself. Probably much more time than it took you to write your tome. Never mind; just go and do it. In the same way that you invested months/years in your writing, you have to invest the rest of your life in marketing and promotion (you also have to write lots and lots of stuff or readers will stop buying your work when they have read everything you’ve written).

And be patient; in this day of fast meals and fast cars and fast everything, patience is not king, but that’s just too darn bad. You need patience. You need to build your brand over time. Potential readers will need to see your brand six or seven times (at the least) before they begin to develop any awareness of you as an author they ‘know’ and ‘trust’. That takes time, and that is why you never, ever change your ‘brand’.

And for the same reason, do not change your web site. It does not have to be beautiful or even up-to-date. Because with the web site it is all about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). And that, boys and girls is a chromatically variant equine indeed.

I’ll let you work that one out for yourselves.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all.

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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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2 Responses to Another free download coming and a short intro to “Branding”…

  1. Thanks for the information on branding, you mentioned it in a comment you left on my site and since then I’ve been thinking about it trying to come up with something. Hopefully I can take what you posted here and make some progress with that.

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