I’m not good at being an entrepreneur, I think.

Mural by Jennifer Khoshbin and Nanako Pastol

So, this month Nowhere Bookshop will finally be open for business (if we can get everything together) and everyone has asked if we’re having a grand opening but honestly, that sounds terrifying so last month I told Victor and Elizabeth that instead of a GRAND OPENING LAUNCH PARTY we should just have a series of mediocre openings (like, one a month for a year) so that people don’t feel bad if they miss it because then they can just come to the one next month and it won’t be super crowded and busy that way and then Victor and Elizabeth looked at me and sighed because I guess you’re supposed to have lots of customers to stay in business, but then this coronavirus stuff happened and suddenly they’re like, “You fucking planned this” and I’m totally not organized to plan a pandemic but also it is a tiny bit nice that the advice to “avoid giant crowds and stay home reading” is something I’ve been excelling at my whole fucking life.

Wow that was a long sentence.

ANYWAY, I think what we’re going to do is open sometime this month but not have a giant party and that way you don’t have to feel like you have to come for one specific three hour party where everyone is crowded and our team freaks out because they’re all new, and instead you can just drop in whenever you want to come and enjoy the quiet loveliness of an introvert’s delight.  And if you want to come to one of the many mediocre openings we plan to have in the future you can and we’ll have fun things going on that day.  Like giveaways or contests or live baby alligators or something.  And for those of you who can’t travel or come to visit anytime soon we plan to have an online grand opening where we have a live-streamed party with basically just me and a bartender and maybe I’ll read some of my upcoming book or we’ll just get drunk together and gossip about our favorite reads and dress up the taxidermy and then fall asleep in the stacks and you can just order Nowhere merch and books on our website.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  Yes.  Yes, it totally would.

Also, a giant thank you to everyone who has joined the Fantastic Strangeling Book Club or supported us in other ways because honestly this has been a very expensive endeavor and opening an independent bookshop during the middle of a pandemic is pretty much a recipe for bankruptcy but with your support we’re able to keep going even through the craziness.  Your support holds up the business and our employees and authors and basically a whole microcosm of awesomeness and I can not tell you how grateful I am.  Thank you.

I’ll post more soon but I just wanted to keep you posted and also I wanted to say that I’m usually a big hugger but until the coronabullshit is gone I’m not going to hug but I will still TOTALLY take selfies with you so if you see me you should totally still stop me to ask.  It may sound overly cautious but I’m immunocompromised so I have to be really protective.  The combination of anxiety disorder and immune system crap makes for shitty bedfellows but chances are that we’re going to be okay.  But go wash your hands just in case, okay?  And get enough sleep.  And drink liquids.  And keep an eye open for our series of mediocre openings and our online grand opening where literally no one will be at the store but me.  I am the worst business owner ever.

116 thoughts on “I’m not good at being an entrepreneur, I think.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I would be willing to fly down from Kansas City for one of your small grand openings.

  2. Maybe use the wide angle lens for selfies so you can stay 6 ft. away from each other?
    You’re kind of a national treasure and I feel strongly that measures need to be taken to protect you!

    (I think maybe all selfies should move to the back-to-back Charlie’s Angels fake guns pose until further notice. ~ Jenny)

  3. Any virus that has the courage to get anywhere near the shop will see all the dead animals and decide some other virus has already beaten it to it, so will simply move on. Just to be safe, you can stock a couple of Bruce Lipton’s books in cause there are any doubters out there. YOU ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU THINK. Enjoy the heck out of this shop; it looks great.

  4. Jenny, thank you so much for being you. I wouldn’t want you to be anyone else. You are going to do fantastic! I cherish you and everyone in the Bloggess world. I finally have a place.

  5. It’s a 5 hour drive from home to Nowhere but I will be there………this might be the opening line of a country song.

  6. Why not have the whole first month be a Grand Opening month? Then it’s low pressure and people can come in and if they buy a book they can get a free bookmark or something (while supplies last).

  7. Keep yourself safe and healthy! I was wondering if Terry Scratchett could live on the roof? That would make for an iconic landmark if the murals haven’t already!

  8. I can’t get to Texas so I’ll totally be there for the Online Grand Opening getting drunk while you read me passages from your new book. Now to go find some taxidermy to dress up….

  9. I’d say that you’re a FANTASTIC business owner because you created an online book club that supported this endeavor to help get it off the ground. Not a lot of entrepreneurs think like you do, and that’s why you’re such a success.

    I hope to come to one of your openings. I’m going to Crocodile Management School through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, so I will be properly trained to manage a live alligator. I was hoping for croc MICRO-management school, but they were already full.

    Good luck on your new endeavor!

  10. I am so excited for you and the store! I am not excited for pandemics. Except the game Pandemic. Because it is fun. Unlike the Coronavirus.

  11. Will import iguanas from Florida for one of your opening events as we have waay too many. Best of luck with the bookstore and can’t wait to see everything unfold online! I enjoy being a part of the Strangelings book club and knowing that in some small way I am helping a independent bookstore owner (and terrific blogger!) be successful.

  12. It’s now MANDATED that I be an introvert.
    Social distancing was made for me.

    I look forward to coming to the shop when it opens and lurking in a corner.


  13. Life size cardboard cutout you to take selfies with while you live stream to Nowhere from home to keep you safe. Bazinga! ❤️

  14. In light of everything that is going on, a large grand opening wouldn’t be appropriate anyway. It’s better to stay safe and keep it small.

  15. I have never felt the need to visit San Antonio until now. I love being part of your book club but I would love a selfie 6ft apart or in The Charlies Angels pose. Either would be awesome.

    Love The Other Jenny

  16. terry scratchett would look so awesome hanging from the ceiling! with a little dot of red enamel under him or above him – it’d be like he’s chasing a laser pointer!

    i’ll see myself out.

  17. I want to take a trip specifically to see the store. I’ve never been to Texas, but now I have a reason!

  18. Good luck Jenny! You’re being far more sensible than you think. A lot of people could take a lesson from you…as usual!😘

  19. Oh please do an online opening for the UK introverts. As much as I’d like to come to the store, I’ve promised not to visit the states till you get a new president. (Voters of the USA please don’t make me wait too long 🙏)

  20. Oh please do an online opening for the UK introverts. As much as I’d like to come to the store, I’ve promised not to visit the states till you get a new president. (Voters of the USA please don’t make me wait too long 🙏).

  21. I can’t wait to get to SA at some point soon! I think your plan for a year of mediocre parties is inspired genius- like the supper bowl of introverts uniting separately.

  22. Normally, all I have to look forward to when we return to San Antonio each spring is a series of annual medical and dental appointments: boob smooshing, crack & peek, swish & spit, etc.

    This is way better. I shall reward myself with a visit to Nowhere after at least one of these appointments. Maybe all of ’em.

  23. I am so excited for you! And a year of monthly mediocre openings sounds like a fantastic idea. Heck, why stop at the end of 1 year? Just celebrate your fabulous bookstore EVERY month! 🙂

  24. You are perfection, a business owner who understands me, and if I lived anywhere near the shop, I’d totally be there. All the time. Begging you to get a store cat that wouldn’t crush me if it landed on me, (though that one is cool too) but a cuddly one. 🙂 Sorry for being Dutch and useless to your business far as frequency goes. <3

  25. Congrats, Jenny! I am so excited. I live in Michigan but will totally attend the online thing…wearing my Nowhere Bookshop t-shirt. I hope I can bend a trip to SA in the future!

  26. I am so totally definitely gonna come visit at some point. I have a sister in San Antonio that I haven’t seen since I was 5 years old anyway. Plenty of excuses. I just wish I could make it THIS month for the opening…just..sadly not doable. SO EXCITED for you, though!!!

  27. I’m totally going to the online grand opening and I’m even going to dress up!! By “dress up” of course I mean put on a bra. I have loved being a virtual part of this scary adventure with you. You are so real and brave and really brave. Virtual COVID19-free hugs to you <3

  28. rather than multiple grand openings, you could have monthly “welcome to nowhere” parties inviting people to come get to know the store.

    i’d be tempted to build a custom bookshelf just for sir terry scratchett, but i like the idea turtlesong posted above about hanging him with a laser dot on the floor below him.

  29. You know pandemic or not we’re still coming to the book store. We love you that much.

  30. Will the baby alligators be available online? Because I’d totally party with a book and a baby alligator in the comfort of my own home.

  31. I told my husband last night, “Finally my hermit lifestyle pays off, instead of getting me labeled as a “weirdo loner!””

  32. How about a series of “Micro-Grand Openings” each with a different theme. Maybe “Dystopian Fiction to Plan for Your Future” or “Crafting Books to Build Your Post Apocalyptic Life Skills” I’m just spitballing here. Wait. Can’t spit in these pandemic times. Does that mean I’m just balling?

  33. I love you so hard. I’m totally conning to Texas to be at one of your mediocre opening parties. Maybe. But like in October. Is it still hot in October?

  34. Stay home and read a book sounds like wonderful advice. And I would definitely join in on an online party! And I need to check out the merch. . .

  35. I love that you embody exactly what you want your store to be, quiet, relaxed, and introvert-enjoyable. I love your idea of mediocre openings. Remember, it’s the little things that count anyways. 💗

  36. Thank you so much for taking time and a close-enough selfie this week. We are so grateful for your writing and this community. Sorry to miss the openings!!

  37. I like Dell Ann’s suggestion. Also, an online Grand Opening is perfect for people who like books and are worried about getting breathed on (hi! [waves, points to self])

  38. I feel like I’m totally scoring here because I live in SA so no matter where the store is I can probably get there in 30 minutes. Yay me!

  39. Love the mediocre openings idea….would not expect anything but the unexpected from you. This idea fits you and your store! Good luck, stay well.

  40. This is the only reason I have EVER thought “I wish I lived in Texas”.

  41. I think a string of ‘soft launches’ is a delightful way to start things off!
    I was just last night checking Amtrak tix to SA – I mean I’ve driven it a few times but I do love the train only Covid Eileen disease.
    I will be there when I get there. I could not possibly be more excited and REMEMBER I have dibs on the Harry Potter Under The Stairs (or was it the ramp? Doesn’t matter) room.

  42. Perfect solution to mark the opening of a huge venture! The way I see it more celebrations = better financial returns! Being local-ish, I plan to make many events:) I will need them to get through the anxiety of this pandemic hysteria – people are so fucking weird!

  43. I’m definitely coming to the online grand opening. I recently had surgery and cannot fly so that’s the only opening I can attend. I’m so super excited.

  44. I am so looking forward to an online grand opening! My plan had been to fly from MA to TX when the store was going to open, but the other day I caught a sneeze with my face (someone else’s uncovered sneeze), which was awesome if awesome means slimy and stunningly gross. I even washed my face and eyeballs immediately with hot soap and water. I’ve never washed my eyeballs before.
    But today, I started coughing. So, I am not going anywhere except to my PCP once she calls me back.
    But I can drink with everyone at the online opening.
    I am SO EXCITED about this bookstore.

  45. I, for one, hate grand openings since they are always so crowded that you can’t see what you came to see. Plus, sometimes my mind continues to believe that the place will always be as crowded as it was on that one day, which makes me decide to never go back. That means your plan for many mediocre openings is perfect if your target customers are introverts!

  46. Totally need a blue screen photo op. Or a cardboard cutout for selfies. Or little personal totems. I dunno. I’m in WA state so I alternate regularly between what is UP WITH THESE BAT SHIT CRAY CRAY PEOPLE? PEOPLE GETTING INTO FISTFIGHTS over TP at my COSTCO!!!! ! to WE ALL GONNA DIE!

    I’d rather stay at home. At least my “Hyper Germ-Aware” status was already stocked up on anti-bac wipes and sanitizers. HA! Take THAT COSTCO!

  47. I’m Nadine, but I am called “The Minx”. I have no idea why. I’m have a few autoimmune diseases, including the one-in-a-million “ Stiff Man Syndrome”, who brought along his best friend, diabetes 1, to keep him company.
    I am with Jenny in that you can have a autoimmune syndrome AND be immunity compromised. The best masks in the whole world are Made In Japan.
    This was my motherfucking save your ass comment.
    ~The Minx~
    P.S. Is anything left of Nancy W. Kappes’s barrels of Judy Garland Trail Mix? This disease is so damn painful, really.

  48. I love the idea of 12 mediocre openings. It’s way nicer for my introverted self and way more can be involved. I can’t wait for the online grand opening : )

  49. I can’t wait for the online opening party!! And when this corona crap is over, I will be on a plane to come visit in person. Love you and HUGE congratulations!!

  50. My 89-year-old father is willing to travel to San Antonio in November, and I’m coming with him just so I can bring him to the bookstore. I’ll like he, he will love it…. See ya around Thanksgiving.

  51. Totally road trippin’ for one of the mediocre openings! I need ALL the selfies – the mural, Terry and YOU (not in that order, of course).

  52. Worst like a fox…I think multiple mediocre openings are genius. You’re an inspiration to me. Like others have said, you’re a national treasure. Hugs! But not the kind that transfer germs. Thanks for being and expressing you.

  53. “A series of mediocre openings” sounds like a book I would read!

  54. I’m up north in Canada and would love to come to a mini opening if I could. Good luck to you and I will definitely buy things online!

  55. Jenny,
    I’m coming to see you later this summer. Can’t wait! Staying at The Emma–a fave hotel– and you’ll be one of my first stops!
    Besides being such a fan of you. I adore your followers. I spend lots of fun time reading all the comments and have derived hours of pleasure, sometimes even a laugh out loud.
    Y’all are all the BEST!

  56. I hope you are a better business woman than you think. You have a good groundswell of support here. I like the book club. I just don’t like facebook.

  57. Sounds tome like you are the best business owner ever. I always dreaded the mandatory gatherings when I was a worker bee. These casual gatherings so SO much nicer! I’m too far away to come in person but the online gathering sounds like fun!

  58. I’ve spend most of my adult life actively trying to avoid groups of people so a mediocre opening sounds like PERFECTION. Wishing the very best of luck to Nowhere!

  59. I like the idea of a soft opening – just put up an open sign and concentrate on web sales until the planet is healthier. Then have a grand opening day. Like when people run off to Vegas and get married, and then have a big party for friends and family a few months later.

  60. My daughter and I are planning on coming sometime this summer, if at all possible. It’s a bit of a haul from Florida but we both are willing to travel for a good bookstore. (The only one here is a BAM and it sucks!} There is an independent one that we try to support but they are more used and not a good selection of new… still, I have found many gems there.
    Looking forward to visiting in our Nowhere tees and our Nowhere bags!

  61. Can anyone who walks in pet your giant pussy? I mean Terry Scratchett…

  62. I am in awe of your adventure! It’s going to be great, would love to visit SA and see your amazing bookstore/bar in person.. You’ll be great!

  63. YOU and NOWHERE will be FINE!!! I KNOW IT!! Alligators and Iguanas not with standing.

  64. I can safely say I have NEVER wanted to visit Texas, but I retire in June, and I’m thinking a road trip to “Nowhere” might just be in the plans. Rock on, Jenny!

  65. love the mediorcre openings idea!!! and im in austin a fair amount will come down to one of em when ive got enough spoons and re corona virus ive been saying for a month(i was born for this been in training my whole life!! no crowds.. no sports.. not see folks for 14+days… (bingo thats my whole life thank you aspergers and various anxiety disorders!!!:) not gonna impact my life one bit LOl

  66. If you get baby alligators I promise to only pet them and not try to take them home. I’ll be in SA this weekend to visit fam and we were going to come by and take pics of the awesome mural since you proly won’t be open yet. I am soooo excited to come get a drink and read at Nowhere, I’ll probably bring yarn to work with too. <3 <3 <3

  67. So excited for the opening!!! I can’t wait to visit when corona-craziness is done!!!

  68. Jenny, you’re not the worst small business owner ever. I worked for him and you’re MUCH nicer than that guy.

    Also, these aren’t mediocre openings, they’re soft openings and that’s totally a thing. And I’m sure some marketing person will tell you that you are supposed to then have a Grand Opening or something, but I say have as many soft openings as you want. It’s your store and we’re all weird here.

  69. I was supposed to be in SA in April but they canceled the conference. So bummed.

  70. u should make medical face masks with Rory’s face printed on them for the opening

  71. Well, first of all, love the cat. But all bookstores have real cat mascots as well. Everyone knows that! I would volunteer myself personally, as I was born in San Antonio, but I don’t live there anymore, so I can’t. But you should have one. We felines love sitting on books and we’re soo cute we attract lots and lots of customers. Just something to think about.

  72. On Teri Scratchett…can you put her up on a bookshelf, cut off her butt, and then adhere the tail to the ceiling? Like she’s non-corporeal and is extending through the ceiling? And the tail curves back down and is poking back through? Not sure if the proportions would work…but might work.

  73. I am so up for celebrating at your on-line Grand Opening party – and distance drinking as well! A
    hygienic elbow bump to you!

  74. Put up a plexiglass wall for selfies. No one will know if you’re behind it and the other person is in front of it.

  75. Love it! I’m so not a party person, but I do like watching one from afar. When I can afford a book, I’ll definitely purchase from you online whenever possible. This virus will make introverts of us all, and the rest of the world will be forced to do what we stranglings do best. Snuggle into our couches, reading books, staring out the window, wondering when the world will end, fighting to stay positive, and vowing to stay strong. We are experts at this self isolating stuff, so we will do awesome!

  76. You are wonderful and absolutely not the worst. A grand online opening is perfect for the times. I look forward to buying books from you.

  77. This is all just too, too fabulous. I have one question: How does a bookstore stock its shelves? Do you go to some magical website and order books to be stocked in your store, or is there some wholesale place you physically go to? Also, do you want to stock books for everyone’s taste, or only books that appeal to really awesome people like yourself? Seems a bit mind-boggling. All that discretionary power! Are you only going to sell new books, or will you have old first editions and collector’s items, stuff like that? So much to know!

  78. I can’t wait to got to the Nowhere Bookshop! I joined the FS Book Club, own all your books, and going to buy some bookshop merch. I am not a fan of crowds so I will look forward to your many “grand openings”.

  79. I so love Sir Terry! and I love the small opening things idea too. Don’t know if I’ll ever make it to Texas but I’ve got your T-shirt, and love knowing that the Nowhere Bookshop is there. You know if people would be careful not to come in in large numbers, they could still come and buy books.

  80. May I just say, damn! I can totally relate to that gloriously anxious post! I mean, not to what you were communicating, I’m not trying to open a book store amidst a novel virus. OMG! A NOVEL virus, this is! I love novels!! But with the novel Coronavirus, I’ll just stick to the e-edition, not the not the paperback kind where viruses can travel. But to the stress and anxiety of being able to make it through each day! Personally, I love the idea of self-quarantining into a book hole!! Can I tell work I may have the virus and need 14 paid days off to stop the spread and protect my community?!? Jenny, you’re the bomb.com!! And coming here to read your hilarious shit always makes me feel better! Rock on!! ✌️ P. S. I’m totally stealing your idea of throwing an online party and hiring a bartender!!! 🍾

  81. All of the sudden “self isolating” is a good thing. I’ve been doing it forever!! (sorry if this offends anybody…just trying to add levity)

  82. I’m so proud of you. You’re the type of person who makes me think I can DO stuff, and change things, and not have to alter who I am to accomplish said things. If you ever want to host a strange artist who paints strange pictures to do a show at Nowhere, I’m your gal. I never offset my costs and typically just incur more debt, so my expectations are nil; I just want to do it to hang out with the Cool Kids (that’s you). And to ogle the taxidermy, because that’s totally my aesthetic. Best wishes with your Pandemic Mediocrity Opening (wait, that sounds gross).

  83. Not for putting up on the site.

    My suggestion: make an appearance of a couple of hours and then have someone as a designated dragger get you out. You’ll be curious as all getout, but better to be safe. And I say that because this Coronavirus thing is blown out of all proportion, amped up by the news people. There are already up to 50,000 deaths from other flus every year in the US alone. So, the deal is for you and everyone else to be cautious generally during flu season. For sure you don’t go out when you’re really tired or depressed, when your immune system is likely way down the scale.

    And on this Coronavirus panic: Have your grand opening. It’s expected and all. Don’t worry about attendance. The book club will help carry the store just fine and you got publicity. Now I would get the automatic no-touch sanitizer dispensers for the bathrooms just on general principle. But you can always have something silly like an 18 1/2 week celebration down the road if people calm down by then. This panic is very depressing to me. You are already proven braver than the sheep that Americans have become, so maybe it’s hard to see how people are so obsessed. Your carpenters aren’t panicking. Your manager ain’t. I doubt most people who are the atypical reader of your blog and books are that bad. Now people need to make money to eat, of course, but if the store shelves are cleaned out, what do you eat? And empty shelves means someone came out of their underground bunker to buy up the stuff, so they’re just fake sheep. Just wait until the first case is reported in your city and brace yourself. It’s exactly like that Twilight Zone episode where aliens just gaslight a small town and the residents go nuts.

    Have fun with the bookstore. You’ll probably want your corner to hide in so I hope you have at least a small space surrounded by bookshelves. More space for tchockes then. It will be a lot of hours, more than you probably expected. Always ask anyone, “What kind of books do you read?” as a gauge. My favorite bookstore locally was owned by a couple; two small stores (perhaps even a third the size of yours) of mostly used books and remaindered books. They had their finger on the pulse of their readers, for sure to stay in business for so long. That was clear when they retired and sold the store to someone who couldn’t buy what what the customers wanted, which was just a little of this and that at a price level just enough to make you want to buy. My interests are all over the place but mostly non-fiction, so I am not typical at all. But the old owners made me happy enough to end up with a lot of stuff to donate to the library.

    So I hope you have a section dedicated to book club features and your recommendations. From the club response, your book likes count for a lot, you Oprah, you. Hope you can keep up or get enough referred to you to keep everyone in the club happy. Plus if your manager knows used books and is a canny buyer, have a selected section of those to be different from the big box bookstores. That stuff (if not total junk) can always be moved along on Amazon or eBay to refresh the stock.

    Al the K

  84. Someday when I can fly again I’m definitely coming down for a visit!

  85. “And for those of you who can’t travel or come to visit anytime soon we plan to have an online grand opening where we have a live-streamed party with basically just me and a bartender and maybe I’ll read some of my upcoming book or we’ll just get drunk together and gossip about our favorite reads and dress up the taxidermy and then fall asleep in the stacks and you can just order Nowhere merch and books on our website”

    I BEG YOU to do this. If possible, earlier in the day in the US = less late at night in Europe – I know that a Real Party should start at 9pm earliest, but that’s going to be 3am for me. And as a Yurop person that can’t travel I’ll never have a chance to get drunk with you… typo! To gossip about our favourite reads with you otherwise!

    (I foresee monthly online opening parties for various time zones…)

  86. Anybody want my copy of American Sherlock? I’m not a nonfiction person at all

  87. I would love to attend, but dang it’s so far from me. But I can’t wait to support the online bookshop ASAP! I need books for me and my kids during the crazy cancelled school biz. I’ll watch the live party too!

  88. Are you sure that’s Sir Terry Scratchett? Because it looks like Llyan from the Prydain Chronicals!

  89. oh if i lived within three hundred miles of that place…it looks wonderful, even unbooked. There are so many things you could do with that space, too, in addition to books, to get people in there–even a small area for craftspeople to work, to sell, to exhibit. sit ’em in the windows. =)

  90. I may or may not be obsessively checking the blog daily to see when y’all open. Because I live in SA and am beyond excited for the kind of quirky bookshops I love (I assume it will be quirky…. like how could it not be?) There’s already a giant cat that awkwardly doesn’t fit and I assume will loom over me at some point.

  91. I’m totally here for the drunk readings and photoshopped selfies.
    This is the best place for sanity, right here. If anyone can show us how to survive this, it’s you. Jenny, we love you.

  92. I’d say that you’re a FANTASTIC business owner because you created an online book club that supported this endeavor to help get it off the ground. Not a lot of entrepreneurs think like you do, and that’s why you’re such a success.

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