Category Archives: Meet The Insider

Meet the Insider: Jaclyn Gary

Meet the Insider Series

By Tiah Short

jackiebookstore.png

Tell us about your bookstore.  Your name and position.  Where you are located and what genres do you carry?

I’m Jaclyn Gary, the owner of Mahogany Reads Café, which is an Indie Bookstore located in Holly Hill, Florida (just outside of Daytona Beach, Florida). We carry all genres of books, such as, both fiction & non-fiction, urban street lit, romance, erotica, and poetry, to name a few.

What inspired you to launch your bookstore?

My husband Hood Ink wrote a book called Bad Karma, that we self-published. Through that journey I realized that there aren’t many platforms available for self-published authors to get their books out to the masses. Bookstores such Barnes & Noble and BAM have strict guidelines as to books they accept into their store. This gave me the idea of starting a bookstore that is geared towards independent authors/publishers.  With all that’s going on in the world today, I just want our people who are doing right to feel accomplished by having their books in print and in a bookstore.

Can readers purchase books from you online?

Readers can purchase books online at http://www.mahoganyreads.com

What authors have you worked with and which one did you enjoy the most?

I’ve worked with Author Bernie Richmond and of course my husband Hood Ink the author. I’ve enjoyed working with them both. Bernie has a bookstore in Miami so she has been kind of a mentor to me throughout this whole process.

What type of books do your customers enjoy most?

Because I just opened my physical store (Saturday 11/5), I’ve only been selling Bad Karma by Hood Ink. The readers seem to like that genre, so I will have plenty of urban street lit in stock.

How do authors and publishers contact to you for book signings and to pitch their books for placement in your stores?

I can be contacted via email at mahoganyreads@gmail.com

What has been one of the challenges of running a bookstore?

The challenge that I’ve faced has been trying to get the store open. Due to Hurricane Matthew that affected Florida’s east coast a few weeks ago, it pushed our renovations back a few weeks. But with God and determination we are now open.

If you had any advice for authors and publishers, what would it be?

I would tell them to remain professional and consistent. This is a great platform for all parties involved (the bookstore owner, the author, and the publisher). If you say you’re going to do something be sure that you do it. If something comes up and what you said you would do changes please keep the line of communication open.

If you had any advice for future book sellers, what would it be?

My advice would be to go for it. You only fail if you don’t try. We need more bookstores. We need more places that cater to us. We need a place to go to make ourselves feel proud to be who we are. So, just go for it!!

Please share with us how authors can contact you via email and social media?

I can be contacted via email mahognayreads@gmail.com,

 

Facebook at www.facebook.com/mahoganyreadscafe, Instagram at www.instagram.com/mahoganyreads and Twitter at www.twitter.com/mahoganyreads

 

tiahnew

Tiah Short is the Founder of Urban Literary Review and CEO of DC Bookdiva Publications, Find her online at dcbookdiva.com.

 

 

Advertisements

Meet the Insider: Valinda Miller

By Tiah ShortValindapromo.png

VaLinda Miller has been with the federal government for 30 years and has worked both domestically and overseas in financial and administrative capacities.

Originally from Washington D.C., VaLinda has resided in Charleston, SC for 15 years, since the financial area of her agency relocated to Charleston. In addition to her volunteering to work with libraries in DC, Virginia, Maryland and other states, she is currently on the Board of the Friends of the Charleston County Library and Friends of the state of South Carolina Library.

In May of 2014, she purchased The Booksmith in Seneca, SC. She plans to retire in the next two years from the Federal Government. She is a regular blogger that heavily promotes Library and related causes, she has one beautiful daughter Kendra and loves her mixed-breed dog Tommy.

 

Meet the Insider.

 
Tell us about your bookstore. Your name and position. Where you are located and what genres do you carry?

The Booksmith is located in Seneca, South Carolina and has been around for 25 years.
We sell all genres – Fiction, non-fiction, Christian, African American, South Carolina history, USC and Clemson books/items, cookbooks, teen, kids, etc. We also sell jewelry, holiday decorations, scarfs, puzzles, board games, coffee, tea and biscotti.

VaLinda Miller and I am the owner. I purchased the store in May 2014.

It is 3 and half hours from Charleston, SC, 2 hours from Atlanta, 8 miles from Clemson University, and 45 minutes from Greenville, South Carolina.

What inspired you to launch your bookstore?

I attended a class in Florida called “Owning a Bookstore Workshop Retreat” by Paz and Associates. I attended it on a whim not knowing if I could afford a store or run an online store. The company suggested I look into The Booksmith since it was close to where I live.

Can readers purchase books from you online?

Not yet. Our website should be up in one week. We are blessed that we have a USPS Post Office inside the store where we can mail books directly to the customers.
What authors have you worked with and which one did you enjoy the most?

We have worked with a few local authors:
Billy William “What the Girl At The Picnic Said”
African American Author – Joyce Galloway Mece – The Sad Apple Tree
Dottie Frank
John Stamp – Shattered Circle

We enjoyed John Stamp’s mystery books.

What type of books do your customers enjoy most?

Best seller listings, SC History, mysteries and fiction.

How do authors and publishers contact to you for book signings and to pitch their books for placement in your stores?

Facebook, twitter, Instagram, email or visit the store

What has been one of the challenges of running a bookstore?

One of the biggest challenges is not enough money. I had planned to retire when I purchase the store, a year later, I realized that I could not afford to. Over the past year I have made many changes from the previous owner and cut back many unnecessary expenses in order to keep the store running. It is also hard to work a full time and part time job while being updated by my manager (who is doing a fantastic job) on a daily basis and I trust her.

If you had any advice for authors and publishers, what would it be?

Don’t submit or publish a story without someone other than friends/co-workers reviewing your work. Another review always adds value to the story. Do not invest a lot of money using other services without doing your own research into them. Don’t write with the ideal that you are going to become rich. Write because you love to write. Write your own story from your heart. Writing is a skilled enhanced over time and not the first book will be knocked out of the park.

If you had any advice for future book sellers, what would it be?

Do not borrow money. Yes, it may seem unrealistic and crazy, just don’t borrow. I have been in this business for two years and in the first year I listen to publishers, the previous owners and others on how I need a credit line to order books.

It does not work. Here is an example. You place an order for $500.00 worth of books or sideline items on January 1. The bill is due January 30. Will you have the money on January 30 to pay it in full? What about rent, utilities, payroll (the biggest expense), water, advertisement, etc. Will you make enough money in 30 days to pay those expenses as well as the $500.00 worth of items purchased?

Buy with cash. If it does not sell by the allotted time you want, return the items back to the vendor (and watch that deadline too. Many vendors have a deadline on when an item can be returned and the discount may be lower and you have to pay for shipping).

Watch you MONEY very carefully – every single day and please avoid borrowing.

Please share with us how authors can contact you via email and social media.

Email – valinda@thebooksmith.com or kenval89@gmail.com

Facebook – thebooksmithsc

Twitter – @TheBooksmithSC

Instagram – thebooksmithsc

 

tiahnewTiah Short is the Founder of Urban Literary Review and CEO of DC Bookdiva Publications, Find her online at dcbookdiva.com.