After the Book Fair, 3-28-15

So this past weekend was my first book fair, but before I tell you how it went, let me tell you how I thought it had a real possibility of going. When it comes to work or business, I worry about the things that can go bad and let the things that go good, care for themselves. It’s a habit. For me it’s a way of making sure that everything goes as well as it should, but also, it lends itself to a sense of negativity that can be perceived by those around me as a downer. Truth be told, it isn’t a downer, it’s paranoia, and my greatest fear was that I wouldn’t sell a single book.

Now for the update. The morning drive to the venue couldn’t be better, weather-wise. It’s Florida, in March, need I say more? But for me none of that mattered, the car could breakdown, there could be a traffic accident, there could be an overzealous highway patrolman, or a simple flat tire. Any one, or combination of all, could and probably would, cause my first public appearance as a published author, to be ruined.

The forty-five minute journey took over an hour due to the fact that on a Saturday morning, when traffic should be light, it wasn’t. Good thing I thought about that and left a few minutes early. Unfortunately, each and every traffic signal along the way had a fully functional L. Davyd Pollack approach detector, which timed the switch from green to red in a perfectly choreographed display of delay. Fortunately, I worried about that too and my early departure time accounted for it. The entire trip was long and excruciating, and made even longer by the longest train on record that reached the railroad crossing just in time to light the flashing stop signals, and drop the barricade bars right in front of me. I did not account for that but alas; we arrived right on time, maybe five minutes later than planned but as they say, good enough for government work.

Then it was time for us to set up the display table and it all went very smoothly, which should have been a hint of impending doom. With a place for everything and everything in its place, the display table looked great, inviting, but not intimidating. When I looked at it from the front, I thought to myself, this is a table I would buy a book from. I was relieved—but my relief was fleeting. When I originally registered for the book fair, I specifically inquired about access to electric. Part of my presentation was to have my Kindle ready and waiting to show off my website/blog, and how easy it is to buy my books online. I was assured that there would be access to power and to my great surprise, there was. Only one problem, the access was twenty feet away and the extension cord that I brought just in case access to electric wasn’t as accessible as advertized, was only fifteen feet long. And the downward spiral begins.

However, defeat was not to be snatched from victory so easily. Thanks to the help of fellow author, R. L. Austin and his six-foot multiple-plug extension cord, my power problem evaporated. Thank you R. L.

There I was, front and center sitting behind my first book fair display ever, ready to take the ultimate insult, the biggest slap in the face an author can experience. That being, not selling even one copy of the marvelous book I poured my heart and soul into for the past ten years. The fair opened at 10:00 a.m. and at first nothing, but what do you know, a few minutes later a customer approached. I was nervous, real nervous and my presentation was a little stilted, and then, the customer nodded and moved on. It was okay though, first time jitters and all. Being in sales (one of my real life jobs), I knew there would be more chances to screw up and moments later, there were.

Shortly after, another potential fan walked up and heard a more polished version of my spiel, then pulled out his wallet and bought. I don’t know for sure, and of course, I can’t prove it, but I think there’s an excellent chance that I made the first sale of the book fair. My greatest fear evaporated just as easily as my power problem. A few minutes after that, I think I may have made the second sale of the book fair. And guess what. I sold the second book to that poor gentleman who had to endure my stumbling and stilted first pitch. He walked around to all the tables and after giving everyone a once over, came back to me. All I can say is WOW.

At this time, it should be pointed out that I’ve said us and we, not just me. This isn’t a mistake. My girlfriend Miranda, along with her son and daughter, joined me for this momentous opportunity to fail. The kids are still too young to stay home alone. Though I was fully aware that witnesses to my potential failure could only serve to make the experience worse, it was a good thing they were there. First and foremost, I wouldn’t be alone should I totally embarrass myself, and second, they were a great help. Her son took it upon himself to make sure that the sales force had all the promotional supplies they needed, and her daughter (the aforementioned sales force), used those supplies to the best of her ability. Thanks again guys.

In sales, there’s a saying and it goes something like this. He/she can sell ice to an Eskimo. Having been in sales, I knew many people who claimed they could. I never actually met anyone who had a snowball’s chance in H—Florida of doing so. That is, until yesterday. After watching Miranda’s daughter work, all I have to say is Eskimos, beware . . . and don’t forget to hide your wallets. By the way, it won’t do you any good. You’re going to buy the ice, but if you make it too easy, the poor child gets bored.

Suffice it to say that halfway through the fair, when many of my co-authors had already packed it in for the day, L. Davyd Pollack and his dedicated sales force (headed by mom Miranda, an excellent networker), were still closing deals and moving books. All in all, it was an outstanding success for me as a new author/publisher.

Now, to put things in perspective, I didn’t sell out. At the end of the day, I still had a box of books about two thirds of the way full, which I gladly had to load back into the car. Why gladly? Because, when I arrived that morning to set up the display table, I brought in two boxes, both full.

Thanks to everyone, especially all my new fans. I couldn’t have done it without you.

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Are You a Father or Are You a Mechanic?

As you probably already figured out, I’m a writer, not a mechanic. Yes, like so many these days, I call myself a writer and no, it isn’t because I’ve been laid off from my third job in four years. Just so you know, I’ve been writing for decades. My first full-length novel about a single father meeting the challenges of raising his son and in the process, discovering things about himself that he never knew—is finally out. It’s called, Positives & Negatives, Tricycles & Pancakes. So yes, I’m a writer and I’d be a writer whether I was stocking groceries at the local market, or mowing lawns up and down my neighborhood streets.

What I am, and what I do to keep a roof over my head, are two different things. It would be great if it didn’t have to be that way but for now, that’s the way it is. For me it’s very much like living two lives at the same time, there’s the writer life, and the everything else life. The everything else life is real and largely out of my control, the writing life is fictional and even though it only exists in thought, for me it’s no less real. The only thing the two worlds have in common is that I have no control, and I’ve become accustomed to it.

On the other hand, the differences between the two worlds are myriad, but can be summed up by two words, make believe. In the writing world, I can experience anything; life, love, hate, I can fall out of a ten-story window and I can die doing it, or more sensationally, I can survive. I can do anything, or more accurately, anything can happen to me and I don’t have to experience it in the real world. So why, when I meet a prospective reader for the first time, are the questions always the same?

“Are you a single father?”

“No.”

“Do you have a son?”

“No.”

I’ve been marketing my book for about six months and it’s always at this point that the prospective reader decides to move on. Not only do they not buy the book, but later, if someone who has tells them good things about it, their first response is, “He isn’t even a father.”

Ugh—I, for the life of me couldn’t figure it out. Why is this such a big problem? It must be a serious one but the reason continued to elude me. At first, I thought maybe if I ignored the whole thing and didn’t make it any bigger than it was, it would go away. Especially, as people read the book and then told others, you know, the power of word-of-mouth advertising. I was wrong. As more people talked about the book, more people would inquire with the same two questions. Are you a single father? Do you have a son? I’d answer no, and they’d move on.

What to do? What to do? I thought about my possible options. Morality and personal responsibility aside, I suppose I could put the cart in front of the horse and find a way to become a baby-daddy. As time rolls on I would not only establish credibility and standing as a father, but I’d have a son too, or maybe a daughter. How hard could it be? Every day, thousands of men become baby-daddies and they aren’t even trying. Of course, being a real father takes a lot more than just a pregnancy, but as I said, I didn’t see the reason why everyone thought it was necessary in the first place. Why did I actually have to be a father? Why do I actually have to have a son? I guess I was just missing it.

The following months did nothing to change anything. The same two questions were still pestering me so I decided to perform a thought experiment. I asked myself, Davyd, what if instead of writing a novel about a single father, you wrote a book about fixing cars? Would I, as a reader of auto repair books, buy it? And the first question that came to mind was, are you a mechanic? And the second, do you fix cars? I never even thought to ask if I was a writer.

The light bulb went off in my head. If I were a mechanic with 10-15 years experience fixing cars and a professional certification or two, sure, why not? I’d buy the book. But if I’m a writer who writes novels, short stories, and sometimes a novella, well . . . I don’t think so. And there it was, I saw the problem and I understood it completely.

However, in order for you to understand it the way I do, you’ll need to prepare yourself because the problem isn’t as obvious as you might think. To prove it, I’m going to tell you something that isn’t going to make any sense but nevertheless, is true. There is no problem. The fact that I wrote a book about a single father raising his son, when I am not a single father, and I never had a son, is totally and completely irrelevant. Here’s why.

Anyone who has read the book automatically and without realizing it, loses their skepticism before the end of the first chapter. In fact, most do it after just a page or two, and the reason they do, and the reason I never understood the skepticism in the first place, is this. I never set out to write a how-to book about raising a son by yourself. I don’t write non-fiction (at least not yet), so that was, and still is, the furthest thing from my mind. True, Positives & Negatives, Tricycles & Pancakes, is about a single father raising his son, but I didn’t write a book about the father that I am. I wrote the book about the father I wish I had.

You see, a long time ago I was a son, and I had a father. So yes, I do have standing and credibility regarding the subject and beyond that . . . I will say no more. If you have other questions, you’ll just have to read my book, L. Davyd Pollack’s book.

 

It’s Free

Hi all,

I know it’s been a while since I posted and there really is no legitimate excuse. The illegitimate excuse is that I’m busy. Which is true, just not a good excuse. Real life being what it is, and that includes mounting bills, I’ve had to put my dreams of writing for a living on hold and start looking for a job that pays (pretty much anything else). So if you guys hear of anything (in Florida), let me know.

In the mean time, I’m running a book promotion to coincide with a local book fair. The fair will be held on 3/28/15 from 9-5 at the Cocoa Beach Library (in Florida). This year I’ll be participating in it, so if you’re in the area, stop by and say hello. I’ll be giving away five FREE signed copies of, Positives & Negatives, Tricycles & Pancakes. If you’re not in town, not a problem, you don’t have to be present to register. Here’s a sneak preview.

Contest Rules

Win 1 of 5 free signed copies of:

Positives & Negatives, Tricycles & Pancakes

Step 1

Register your name and email either at the Book Fair or online through my website. Just ask me to add you to my mailing list. Please, one entry per name and email. Why anyone would want to enter twice is beyond me, but if I don’t say something . . . well, there’s always a smart-aleck.

Step 2

Okay, now go to my website and download: See Jane, Brothers, and In the Rough (totally free today 03/28/15 and tomorrow 03/29/15). All three are available at www.LDavydPollack.com . Don’t have a digital reader? No problem. At the bottom of my home page, you will find links to free apps that will let you read Kindle stories on your computer or smart phone.

Step 3

Now listen closely, this is crucial. Read the two short stories (See Jane, Brothers) and one novella (In the Rough). For those in Rio Linda, a novella is a really short novel, way under a hundred pages, about fifty.

Step 4

Yeah, I suppose this is crucial too. Leave a kind, original, and plot driven review for each story. It isn’t hard to do. When you finish a story, Amazon will automatically prompt you to tell everyone about it. Or, you can come back later and go to Amazon, do a separate search for each story, find the story, find the review section, and then leave a review—your option. As for the review itself, it doesn’t have to be long, two or three sentences in your own words will suffice and . . . Okay, it doesn’t even have to be kind, as long as it’s truthful, constructive, and not malicious.

Step 5

The first five people to email me through my website that their three reviews are posted, will be eligible for a free signed copy of Positives & Negatives, Tricycles & Pancakes (PNTP). I will confirm the reviews and then email you back for the delivery address. Once I have received the delivery address, I will send you, free of charge (including shipping and handling—when I say free—I mean free), one signed copy of PNTP.

This promotion is open to all registrants at the Book Fair as well as those who can’t make it but register their name and email address online. The contest begins on the 28th and ends when I have confirmed the fifth and final set of reviews.

What do you have to lose?