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Monday, January 12, 2015

GUEST POST: Every Writer Must Have Their Own Bookstore by Duncan McGeary


I'm in an enviable position for a writer. I own a bookstore. I've owned Pegasus Books in downtown Bend, Oregon for the last 30 years. My wife, Linda, owns a used bookstore a couple miles away, called The Bookmark. (Yes, 'His' and 'Her' bookstores.)

I'm looking forward to selling my latest, Tuskers, by Ragnarok Publications, via Angelic Knight Imprint. Because it turns out, there's nothing like being an author in a bookstore at the same time the customer is.

I found this out with my first book, Led to the Slaughter: The Donner Party Werewolves. I ordered what I considered a lifetime supply for the store, which really wasn't that many. You have to understand, even the best books in my store will only sell few copies a month. (Books are about one-third my store, and include used books. Comics and games take up the other two-thirds of my revenue.)

As I always tell people when they ask me what's selling, "I don't sell a lot of anything, I sell a little of a lot." Anyway, I put my book in the window and some copies by the cash-register and waited to see what would happen. I told my employees to point it out to the customers, but not to push too hard. (My manager says it sells best when he mentions it's by a "local author.")

To my great surprise, the books started selling. It helped that there were a couple of articles in local media. But sometimes the book just sold. Without my prompting. I heard comments from passersby on the sidewalk outside, intrigued by the cover and the title, not knowing that the author of the book was lurking inside.

It helped that it has very good cover, by local artist Andy Zeigert. Mostly, whenever I'm working, I will just lean over and say, "I wrote this book!" It's even better when they pick up the book of their own volition, "That's my book!" I'll say.

I can be a pretty good salesman -- it's what I've been doing for the last three decades, after all. Most people don't immediately ignore me. Some seem very interested -- and then don't buy a book, and others don't seem interested at all, but then do. But every day I work, without really trying, I sell a few copies.

There's a Catch-22, though. I'm only working a couple days a week these days, because, you know, I'm busy writing the rest of the time. I've completed five more books, of which the latest is Tuskers. Meanwhile, my wife also sells a few copies every day that she works. (As well as pointing out her own ebook, Telling Tree, by Linda McGeary.)

So they steadily go out the door. I am impressed that so many people are willing to take a chance on me. After a few weeks, my 'lifetime supply' suddenly wasn't enough. I ordered more copies, again thinking that would be it. Those also sold through. I mean, I can only sell so many copies in my store. It doesn't make me a best-seller. But it's fun to see them actual go out the door. (Most often with my signature, natch.)

I suppose eventually, it will be unseemly to keep pushing my own books. But since I get so many out-of-town customers, there really isn't any good reason not to keep mentioning them. It's almost enough for me to drop my writing and hawk my books full-time.


Official Author Website
Order Tuskers HERE

GUEST AUTHOR INFO: Duncan McGeary has owned Pegasus Books in downtown Bend, Oregon for the last 30 years. He met his wife, Linda, in a local writer's group, and they've been side-by-side writers ever since. He's the author of several fantasies, Star Axe, Snowcastles, and Icetowers (published by Tower Books), as well as two historical horror novels, Led to the Slaughter: The Donner Party Werewolves and The Dead Spend No Gold: Bigfoot and the California Gold Rush, as well as the Vampire Evolution Trilogy: Death of an Immortal; Rule of Vampire; and Blood of Gold, all published by Books of the Dead Press.

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