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Detecting 1for Beginners Front Cover
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The Book

METAL DETECTING FOR BEGINNERS: 101 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started

  • Trade Paperback – 1st Edition
  • Published April, 2016
  • 108 pp.
  • Fully indexed
  • 9 Illustrations
  • ISBN-10   0-9771329-8-6
  • ISBN-13   978-0-9771329-8-0
Detecting 101 Quickstart Guide -White's Exclusive Edition
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The Custom Edition

White’s Electronics Inc. licensed an exclusive, custom edition of this book to offer to their customers, which has already gone into its second printing. Its cover is to the left.

The Author

They say, “write the book you wish you could read.” A dozen years ago when I first started detecting, I had no idea there were groups for detectorists…or even websites for the hobby. It was 2004, and a lot of people weren’t really even on the Net yet, and the term “social media” didn’t exist.

So I wandered around, trying to find a book on how to get started. There aren’t a lot of hobby stores in our immediate area, and I couldn’t find much at the library. I finally went online and did manage to locate some detecting websites, but they were large and a little intimidating to navigate, and a little daunting to just jump in and introduce yourself. All those veteran detectorists and me just a newbie, I worried if I’d even be welcome (but it turned out to be great, everyone was kind and friendly). Still, that was a bit too involved, and—before digital tablets and smartphones—not very portable.

Mary Shafer, author
Author Mary Shafer. Right-click or Control-click to download high resolution image.

All the books I learned about were very specific: How to hunt for certain types of relics or coins; how to hunt certain areas or underwater; how to use a specific model of machine. But there was nothing general, just covering the basics for those who were just getting started. I’d recently seen a few such titles before I wrote this one, but one was a comprehensive “bible” type book, and the other is regular, 280-page book. The one I had in mind was a kind of brief, “quickstart guide,” that doesn’t take long to read and gets people out in the field and finding stuff as soon as possible.

I figured: Heck, I’m no expert, but I’ve been doing this for 12 years and I’ve learned a thing or two. And if I’m gonna do this, I’d better do it while I still remember what it was like to be a beginning detectorist. So, it was time.

I created a table of contents to use as an outline, asked some of my diggin’ buddies for their best beginner tip, and BOOM! started writing. It took me a few years to finish it between my day job and getting out to dig as often as possible. The book finally came out on April 15, 2016.

The Book and The Author In The Media

History Seekers LogoHistory Seekers Podcast  11/1/2016– Mary explores the basics of metal detecting with co-hosts Heath Jones and Scott Duncan, along with guest host Jeff Lubbert. 


Relic Roundup LogoAmerican Digger Magazine’s Relic Roundup Podcast  5/16/2016 – Mary joins American Digger Magazine publisher Butch Holcombe, and his co-hosts Jeff Lubbert and Heath Jones to talk metal detecting for beginners.


Smarter Hobby Logo

The Smarter Hobby Blog 12/2/16 – Mary was invited to contribute tips for beginning detectorists on Mark Orwig’s Smarter Hobby blog, where he explores the hobbies he loves, as well as the ones he wants to know more about. 


Relic News
A great interview with show host Laurie Gagne about beginning metal detecting. 12/7/16

Author In-Person Appearances

9/17/2016 – Nockamixon Community Day booth: Finds displays, book sales and detector demonstrations

The author at her display booth





Metal Detecting Workshop 7-10-167/10/2016 – Metal detecting workshop with D.J. Yost and Drew Waholek at the Hughes Memorial Library in East Stroudsburg, PA.






Press Releases


Pennsylvania Author’s QuickStart Guide to Metal Detecting for Beginners Gets Picked Up By Major Manufacturer

Riegelsville, Pa. – Word Forge Books of Riegelsville is pleased to announce that the first title under its Sweet Myrrh Books imprint, Metal Detecting for Beginners: 101 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started by Riegelsville author M.A. Shafer, has been licensed in an exclusive custom edition by White’s Electronics, Inc. out of Sweet Home, Ore. The book’s foreword was written by veteran detectorist, D.J. Yost, of Nazareth, Pa. Yost has for years written the hobby’s popular blog,

“I’m pleased and flattered that my work has been picked up by such a venerable and well-loved company as White’s Electronics,” says Shafer. “They’ve been a positive force in the metal detecting hobby for years because they always insist on quality, and I’m truly honored that they feel my book lives up to those standards.”

Shafer has been an avid metal detectorist for more than a dozen years, and says a few years ago, she realized that she had learned a tremendous amount in her first decade in the hobby. She remembers all too well how hard it was to find reliable, accurate information for beginning detectorists, and knew there were still no books devoted solely to getting started. “The old chestnut says to write the book you wish you could read,” says the author. “I no longer need to read this book, but with the hobby exploding in popularity, there are plenty of folks who do.”

She knows the kind of people attracted to this hobby tend to be doers, not readers, so she kept this QuickStart Guide short and to the point. “If you already have a detector and a few accessories, you can start reading this book over breakfast and be out in the field hunting productively before lunch,” she says.

The 108-page softcover contains a helpful glossary of terms, overview of the hobby and various specialization options, and information about equipment, hunting safety and etiquette, how and where to find places to hunt, and photographing, preserving and displaying your finds. A special bonus section contains resources about the hobby, and the book has nine black & white photographs and illustrations.

The handy 5 x 8 book has a film-laminated cover for greater durability for use in the field. It retails for $9.95 and may be purchased at any White’s Electronics retailer, or directly through the manufacturer’s website.