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So I am just finishing up a long weekend of book signings. I had a signing every day from Friday through Monday. I also had a talk on Saturday afternoon that was filmed by C-Span. Luckily, all of the events were in Gettysburg where I live.

I’m always surprised by how much signings and festivals tire me out. For the most part, I’m just sitting around. There’s some physical activity with the set up and take down of an event. In between, though, I just talk with people and sign books.

When I get home, though, I am invariably tired. Then I have to do the unloading of the car, putting away all of my equipment, and unpacking books.

So is it a sign that I’m getting old? I hope not because I plan on doing this work for many years to come.

I especially like attending the festivals. Not only do I tend to sell a lot of books there, but I enjoy seeing what other people are selling. I have met some wonderful artists and craftsmen at these event. Plus, I can get my two favorite festival foods, Italian sausage sandwiches and funnel cakes.

It also gets me out of my den so I can meet my readers, which I enjoy doing.

I just wish I didn’t get so tired.

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Here I am at The Book Center in Cumberland, MD, on Nov. 19. I'm the one on the left, in case you couldn't tell.

I’ve been a published author since 1996 and an independent author since 2001. While each new book that I publish presents new challenges, I’ve been able to build upon the things I’ve done to market my previous books. It doesn’t make marketing my books any easier, it just gets me up and running faster.

Now, I’ve come to realize that I’ve learned quite a bit about marketing over those years even if I might not be able to summarize it.

However, I have just come to realize that by seeing how far someone else has to go. In working with a new author, I’ve seen in him a large reluctance to market, a narrow focus on market area, a heavy reliance on book signings and Facebook fan pages, and a resistance to stepping outside of his comfort zone.

I used to do a lot of those things myself, and I can see that looking back. I can also see how wrong those ideas were. For instance, one of the reasons I became an independent author was because I thought that I could focus tightly on marketing my novel to a limited area. That worked until I started getting orders from places outside of the area where I was marketing. Then I realized that I couldn’t be so tightly focused.

I was also resistant to go outside my comfort zone, but I’ve forced myself to do that because I’ve seen the benefits as my book sales increase.

This is not to say that I’m at the end of the long journey of learning how to market books. I’m not, not by a long shot, but at least now, I can look back and see how far I’ve come. I can see that I have learned marketing lessons and applied them to my work.

So experience does pay off if you’re willing to learn the lessons that it is teaching.

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