Before I found my current agent, just as I was finishing up the manuscript which would be my debut novel, I was pretty well broke and Christmas was coming, and I couldn't let down my kids. We needed money and began to look into holiday temp work. At one point I carried an application out of the Gymboree store in the mall and almost broke down in tears at the prospect. You can imagine how thankful I was to land a temporary holiday bookselling gig at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, which has been my favorite bookstore as far back as I've been buying books. (I wonder how many Christopher Pike books I bought in my teen years?)
Was it depressing to leave my warm cozy house in the dark of winter, after a long day with the kids, to put in hours on my feet in a retail store? Well, yes. But was it awesome to work in a bookstore? Are booksellers the coolest people ever? Yes, and hell yes.
During the course of my employment there, I landed my agent and sold my book, all the while surrounded by success stories, really, in the existing published books which passed through my hands every shift. One of my fondest memories is at the store Christmas party (held in March, because how can a retail staff find time during the actual holidays?) when the manager and staff toasted my book deal.
In June 2009 I launched my tour there to a packed house. I'll be back again on August 24 for THE LIFE YOU'VE IMAGINED.
I was just there this morning, in fact, buying research material for my fourth book (fourth! I can scarcely believe it). Would I have saved money buying them from a certain online retail giant? Why yes, in fact, let's do that math.... Yep. I would have saved enough to buy another trade paperback, if I'd purchased the cheapest possible used copies of the two books I purchased (thereby also robbing the authors of royalties). But helping my indie bookstore stay in business? The store which gave me a job when I needed one (saving me from Gymboree, thank heaven!), and still employs friends, and supports local authors?
Tell Joelle Anthony all about your favorite indie bookstore to enter to win gift cards! Or swag from her young adult novel, RESTORING HARMONY! http://joelleanthony.com/daily-writings/indie-bookstore-week-portland/