Why My Own Bookstore?

Why My Own Bookstore?

Since you're here, you know that I now have my own bookstore. But why did I want to open my own shop? It's not easy, and it adds another layer of must-do tasks to my already very busy writing life.

Once a bookseller ...

One of my most favourite jobs in my checkered career was being a bookseller. For just over a year, I sold books in Belsize Park in London, in a small indie bookshop which, sadly, has now shut its doors. Since then (and even before, if I'm honest), I've dreamt of owning my own bookstore.

Films like Notting Hill, or books such as The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George only increased my desire to have a shop of my own.

An online store isn't quite as romantic as having a dusty old space in West London, or a barge on the Seine, still it's my own space where I can sell stories and recommend books to readers.

Having my own bookstore also allows me to have a more direct relationship with readers, because larger shops form a barrier between us.

What barrier?

What barrier, you ask. Here's an example.

A reader buys my book from an large online store. Sometime later (I don't know how much later) I can see on my reports dashboard that I've sold a book. However, I have absolutely no idea who bought it. I also don't know if this person has bought any other books from me, nor what they think of my writing. 

However, the online booksellers do know who the buyer is. They also know an awful lot about the readers' browsing and buying behaviour through the cookies they collect and the algorithms they've developed. Or simply from the info readers give when buying a product online, or on loyalty cards when buying from a brick-and-mortar shop.

The large stores charge a fee for allowing the author to sell on their platform, but they do not share information about the customers with the writer. This leaves the authors totally in the dark about who their readers are, what they like or dislike about the writing, or for example, how many of the same author's books they have read.

For me to develop as a writer, as well as be able to carry on making a living from my books, I must know who my readers are, what they like to read, and what they think of my books. 

My own bookstore!

It's taken me quite a few months to get helenahalmebooks.com up and running, but I'm pretty thrilled with the site and cannot wait to share my hard work on making it look friendly and appealing to readers.

I have lots of plans to make the store bigger and better, by introducing swag like branded mugs, t-shirts and much more. There are also plans afoot with my printers (Bookvault) to produce paperbacks with author-signed bookplates. 

Would You Help Me?

You can help me make my new store a success in various ways, all of which should be very simple:

1. Have a browse. Just go to the home page: helenahalmebooks.com and have look at my shopfront. The more people visit the store, and the longer they spend on the site, the more visible it'll be to other readers.

2. Buy a book. All the ebooks and paperbacks for sale in my store are discounted (hurrah!). I cannot offer free delivery for physical goods, so I'm charging a little less for paperbacks to make up for the difference in price with the large multinationals who can offer free shipping. I'm determined to offer value for money on all of my books.

3. Write a review. Even (and especially) if you've already written a review on any of my books, please could you post it (them) on my store? Reviews give confidence to other readers that the story is what they are looking for. The more reviews, the merrier. All you need to do is to click on a green box titled, 'Write a review' on the book page below the book description (see image below).


Write a review button below the book description

I'd love to hear from you!

Please let me know what you think of my bookstore! If you have any ideas on how I could make it better, please do not hesitate to tell me. Or if there is a particular product you'd like me to stock – I'm all ears. Just go here to send me an email, or comment below.

Happy reading,

Some of the links above may include my affiliate profile on various online stores. If you click on the links, I get a small percentage at absolutely no extra cost to you.

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