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A conversation with Little Shop of Stories bookseller, Justin Colussy-Estes

Little Shop of Stories in downtown Decatur is among a select list of “Best Indie Bookstores” around the country. Little Shop bookseller and store manager, Justin Colussy-Estes, took the night off to discuss the relationship between independent bookstores and authors, self-publishing, and give us insight into “what sells.”

We met during another awesome Mingle and Margaritas at Charis Books in Little Five Points, where lovely co-owner Angela Gabriel was our host.

Fabulous evening with Justin (back) from Little Shop and Angela (right) from Charis Books.Gabriel served as our host.
Fabulous evening with Justin (back) from Little Shop and Angela (right) from Charis Books.Gabriel served as our host.

My notes from our conversation with Justin follow (unless otherwise noted):

On independent bookstores, YA and KidLit: As an author, it is important to understand that all independent bookstores are different. Their differences is what makes them thrive. Independent bookstores understand who they are, and who they are within their community. They are successful when they own that identity.

Recently, there has been an explosion of independent and children’s bookstores. The ones that do well are the ones that know their community and have a very clear identity.

As a children’s bookstore, when we open a catalog to place and order, we have an instinct about what will do well.

What does this mean for authors?

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The business of publishing. Seriously, how much money will my book make?

The business of publishing. Seriously, how much money will my book make?

Literary agent Rubin Pfeffer was in Atlanta last spring. He gave an insightful talk about the business of publishing and how much an author makes from each book sold. This is what he said:

Once you turn a manuscript over to an agent you walk away from the creative side and you walk into the business side. Becoming a full time authors is down the road (way down).

How much money will you make?

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