Category Archives: book stores are magic

Completely and utterly overwhelmed. In a good way. Mostly.

So.

Remember yesterday when the Nowhere Bookshop website went live?  And Elizabeth (our superhero manager) and Victor and I were surrounded with hundreds of shirts and mugs and books that I was certain we’d still be surrounded with a week from now?  Well, turns out I’d underestimated the excitement and support because we got thousands of orders the first day.

um.  what.

This is a real-time look into the various emotions of yesterday…

Me when I saw how many fantastic people wanted to support this strange new Indie Bookstore that hadn’t even opened yet:

Me when I realized we’d almost made enough to pay for the wheelchair ramp we’re adding inside the store:

Me when I realized that we didn’t have nearly enough merch ready to ship:

Me when I told Victor that I need to make a giant rush order to the local screen printer to fulfill everything that was still coming in:

Victor when PayPal froze my business account because there was way too much activity on it and they assumed I must be doing something illegal:

Elizabeth when orders kept coming in faster than she could possibly keep up with them:

Elizabeth when she found out that our screen-printer was running low on the shirts we needed:

Elizabeth and I when we begged the screen-printer for help and he found a giant stash of what we needed in Illinois:

So, long story short, yesterday was incredibly successful/terrifying.  The first several hundred of you who submitted orders will get yours this week (please share them online if you like them!) but if you ordered something we’re low on it may take a few weeks for you to get it.  I’m sorry!   I know we already say that on the website as a disclaimer but I still feel bad that we didn’t have enough already printed.  As far as problems go it’s a very good problem to have and I’m so very lucky that you guys are understanding and awesome even through our growing pains.

A little behind-the-scenes look:

Currently Elizabeth’s guest room is a staging/packing area:

And my house is filled with boxes and boxes of books that are all being signed and personalized:

Thank you again for your support and your patience and for the wonderful community you’ve made and continue to grow.

Check out the website if you haven’t already.  And thank you again!

Welcome to Nowhere!

Big news…the Nowhere Bookshop website is open to the public!

And that means that you can now buy t-shirts, mugs, totes and signed or personalized books.  Will I write “knock knock motherfucker!” or “Thank you for hiding that body for me, friend” or other requested ridiculousness?  Of course I will.  

Over the last several days a number of you volunteered to test the website (thank you!) so I think all the bugs are worked out.  I sent emails to each of the people to invite them to try it and I closed the email telling them that the sizes were accurate and that I found that a size large fit me really well but that I’d probably do the 2X because I really love loose shirts.  Except that I accidentally sent it out with a typo to the first focus group, which means I told a dozen people in a professional email how much “I really love loose shits”.

Awesome.

This video seems only slightly more professional:

 

All the proceeds go to getting a new floor and accessible bathrooms and a wheelchair ramp and a bar and a million other things we need.

Thank you for helping make this dream come true for all of us.

Now click here and get your stuff before we sell out.  Free bookplates will be added to packages until we run out.  Go!

Y’all are too damn talented but I’m not complaining.

So some time next week (fingers crossed!) the Nowhere Bookshop will be live!  And that means you can help support the store by buying shirts and mugs and my signed books and totes and other lovely things.  And as a thank you for all your help I’m going to be dropping self-adhesive bookplates into the packages as long as my printer keeps working.

My friend Deni Kendig, artist and recovering taxidermist, created the bookplates and they are AMAZING.  For real, ya’ll.  Take a look:

The shop is coming along slowly but turns out that permits and assorted bullshit take longer than expected, but it almost looks like a real shop if you don’t look inside at what is most certainly the most “before” looking before-and-after picture ever.  Please send prayers and reliable contractors.

BIG NEWS

Very exciting news on the Nowhere Bookshop front…

We have a general manager!

And she’s amazing.

Her name is Elizabeth Jordan and she’s been the CEO of BookPeople in Austin (one of my favorite bookstores of all time) for years but she wanted to be closer to her family in San Antonio and we’re in San Antonio so this works out perfectly.  Especially because I am so overwhelmed and she is so amazing and I am melting with relief that she’s going Nowhere.

Elizabeth with her adorable kids

Also, I am constantly sending her texts of my ideas, like how we should have live chickens in the store (but with diapers, obvs) and she sends me back texts saying that she is not changing chicken diapers and reminding me of health codes and Victor is very happy that finally there is another grown-up involved who can talk me down off the ledge and also knows how to sell books and host amazing events.

I’m pretty sure this will be us very soon:

Except slightly less violent and also possibly drunk and maybe with chickens.  (But probably not chickens unless I can bribe the health inspector which Elizabeth says I totally can’t do.)

Welcome to Nowhere, Elizabeth.


Excited and terrified and a little bit nauseus.

So this weekend? I officially signed a lease for Nowhere Bookshop (and bar).

This is a picture of me in the space right before I started hyperventilating.

Technically I couldn’t do this without you so I think that means that you just signed a lease on a bookstore too so I am mentally high-fiving you on our ability to take risks while also begging you to tell me that it’s all going to be okay because JESUSCHRISTWEBOUGHTABOOKSHOP.

*deep breath*

Sorry.  Okay.  Here are the details.  The good news is that it’s in Alamo Heights, which is a cool part of San Antonio and it’s really big so that means we’ll have plenty of room for signings and author events and community meetings and book clubs and drag queen story hour and Beyonce.  The bad news is that it needs a shit-ton of work.  Like, new floors, and some walls have to come down and others up and we have to add a wheelchair ramp and some accessible bathrooms and a bar and it needs paint and furniture and a liquor license.  And books, I guess.  And customers.

I am totally overwhelmed but I have great people to help me (more on that soon) and it feels like people really care so fingers crossed I didn’t just make a terrible mistake.  There were stories in the newspaper and the San Antonio Current and William Shatner sang to me, so it’s been a strange couple of days.

what.

I suspect it’ll take until the end of the year before we open. I have ideas for fun things we can do before that but I need to plan a bit more on the details.  I will totally be asking for help though so if you live close maybe a small horde of you can show up and we can all paint it together when it’s closer to being done.  I want to do a mural outside but I haven’t really found an artist that matches the weird/dark esthetic I want so if all else fails I’ll draw something and project it on the walls and then we’ll just have a giant, community paint-by-number party until we get arrested for vandalism and public intoxication.  If you’re good at painting tentacles please see me because there’s gonna be tentacles.  And maybe ravens and cat heads.  I’m still thinking.

And there will be lots of ways to be a part of the bookstore even if you don’t live anywhere near Texas.  You are part of this family whether you like it or not.  (But I hope you like it.)

 

PS.  I want to have food because you need food if you’re drinking but I don’t want cooked food so what do you usually crave when you’re reading a great book and drinking a glass of wine?  Cookies?  Scones?  Pie?  Popcorn?  Those long licorice ropes that you can use as an edible straw?

Getting closer to Nowhere…

So!

Today was my 30th TMS treatment and it’s been hard.  We tried some new spots on my brain for treatment and it didn’t work.  So last week we went back to what helped last year.  And today?  I feel good.  Even though the weather is nasty and I’m tired and overwhelmed and scared.  I feel the normal sorts of emotions a normal sort of person would feel after coming out of a depressive period.  And it’s amazing.

I’ve felt good for almost a week now.  Today I have energy.  Instead of staring at my blog and thinking that nothing I write is important enough to share I find myself wanting to talk to you.  I’m responding to texts and emails.  I’m leaving the house.

I hope this time I can go into full remission, but if I don’t I will remind myself of these good days…and that life is so worthwhile, even when you have to wade through the terrible moments your brain throws at you.  And that’s a very good thing.

So here is what’s happening with me:

Ten years ago today I quit my job in HR to give myself a year to try to finish my first book.  It feels like yesterday.  It feels like a million years ago.  Both of these are true.  I still feel like the weird girl from HR pretending to be an author.  I still look at other writers who have accomplished so much more in the last decade.  But I’m proud of the three books I finished, and the two more I’m writing now.  I am slow, but that’s okay.  Thank you for making that okay, and for not giving up on me even when I’m not in the spotlight.

My friend Laura (of Beyonce chicken and dog grave-robbing fame) and I the day we both left our jobs. We haven’t aged a bit. *cough*

In other news, Nowhere Bookshop has a logo!

The one that you guys picked had some issues but it worked out because we ended up with something similar but even better…

And if you liked the other logo design options you’re in luck because I bought a bunch of them so you’ll probably see your favorite on t-shirt and bag designs in the future.

If you want to follow me Nowhere (I can’t tell if that sounds awesome or terrible) you can keep up with the latest on instagram, on twitter, and Facebook.

More to come soon…

PS.  Can’t wait for a t-shirt?  Click here.

Going Nowhere (but in a good way for once)

More bookshop news!

So.  I’ve been poring over the names I’ve given to all of the imaginary bookshops that I’ve opened my head since I was little, trying to decide which one is right for our real-life store and I keep coming back to one.

Growing up I spent more time in the land of books than I did in real life.  I lived in those neverlands that you can only visit in stories.  The places you grew up in that never actually existed.  The ones you got lost in and the ones you found yourself in.  Those strange countries that real and important, in spite of the fact that they exist nowhere at all but inside you.  And that’s where I got the name:

Nowhere Bookshop

And it works on a variety of levels because whenever I spend hours at a bookshop and Victor is like, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL DAY?” I always say, “Nowhere” and now I’ll actually be telling the truth.  Sort of.

We’ve seen a few locations that we like (more on that later) but now I need help on deciding what the logo should be.  Because you have helped to create this store in giving me such amazing ideas for the perfect store it seems only fitting that you should help decide the logo.  I’ve narrowed it down to these five designs but I can’t decide which one is best so I’m asking for your help:

CLICK HERE FOR THE POLL

Can you go in and rate each one?  Just click on the images to see each logo and then give each a rating from 1-5 stars (5 being best) and then click “submit”.  There’s a space that asks for your name and email but it’s not necessary so just leave that blank.  (The logos are still workable so you can leave comments on the design if you think it needs a change or should be a different color, etc.)

Thank you for being here.  And for being Nowhere.

The search for a bookstore, strike 2

So we’re still looking for a location in San Antonio to open our bookstore/bar.  First strike was Holy Haunted Hot Dog Magic Church Bookstore.

Last week I checked out The Spire:

It was gorgeous and accessible but there were issues with parking and it was a bit out of my budget to be comfortable so, strike two.

Looking at more places this week.  Wish me luck.

 

Strike one: Holy Haunted Hot Dog Magic Church Bookstore

First off, your suggestions and support about the bookstore I want to open were AMAZING and you seriously made me cry but in a good way.  In the spirit of keeping you in the loop since this is now *our* bookstore (as apparently almost all of you also want to open a bookstore or at least live in one) I have to tell you that I started scouting locations and the one I just looked at is an abandoned, haunted, 100-year-old church where Victor and I once saw an amateur magic show back when it was a fancy gourmet hotdog restaurant.  This is all true.  It is haunted as fuck and IT HAS A BAR IN IT and stained glass everywhere and a stage for readings and I thought it was totally the place, even though the outside was overgrown and something had died in the wall and it needed a lot of work.  Then we found out that the elevator doesn’t go to the mezzanine and it’s too small a space without it and accessibility is one thing we won’t blink on.  So sadly, Holy Haunted Hot Dog Magic Church Bookstore is not meant to be, which was very disappointing especially since that name fucking sings and it would be a great place for me to haunt in the afterlife.

Seriously though…look at it.

I mean…y’all.

Staircase to the mezzanine, which is gorgeously creepy and incredibly problematic.

The stage is awesome though so maybe they’ll let us rent it sometimes for author readings or ghost-hunting slumber parties.

So…the search continues next week.  Let me know if you have any other suggestions for San Antonio locations and I’ll keep you posted.

********

And on an entirely different subject, it’s time for the Sunday wrap-up!

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by the lovely people who make up Soul Happy.  I’ll let them introduce themselves: “We are 2 middle-aged, seasoned, menopausal, fed-up psychotherapists.  We are out to disrupt traditional talk therapy (which is what we did for decades).  We pooled our knowledge, experience, and resources, and developed a radical way to heal.  We just knew there had to be a better way to move people through their issues without rehashing over and over blah, blah, blah…not to mention the current dumbed down mani-pedi-therapy culture. We accomplished developing a quick, less painful and more effective, affordable, online at-home technique.”  You should check them out here.

Hello. Big announcement. Get ready.

So.

There’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life and it’s always seemed like a pipe dream because I’m easily overwhelmed and forever terrified, but recently I’ve learned that if you don’t at least try you never actually have a chance of it coming true.  I also know that I let my anxiety trip me up and paralyze me and sometimes the only way that I actually accomplish anything is by writing about it so that it becomes true and also so that you guys can yell at me when I start to doubt myself and hide.

So, after years of thinking about it…I think I’m going to open a real, live bookstore.

Wow.  That’s scary to even write.

It will be smallish and independent and will be filled with all the books that I want to read and that I want you to read too.  It will have space for authors to come and talk, and for readers to hide away in cubbies, and for groups to meet for book clubs and writing workshops.  It will have a small space for writers who need to write but who also want to not just hide away in their houses all day.  And I’ll be there too, writing and working and asking random readers if I can read the chapter I’m working on to them.

In my mind it is filled with shop cats and surprise ferrets and a margarita bar and old wooden shelves and new, lovely books and people who won’t talk to you unless you totally want them to.  In Victor’s mind I’m not allowed to bring any animals into the bookstore unless they’re strapped to my chest in a Baby Bjorn so that they don’t snuggle with people who don’t like ferrets.  I disagree because I don’t think those people exist and also Victor just read this post and said that he never agreed strap-on chest ferrets but I guess these are the things we’ll need to work out as responsible business people.

There will be online clubs so that you can drop in to the store every week even if you don’t live in San Antonio, and live-streamed events where you can show up in your pajamas at the store or from your laptop, and one day if it makes a profit I’ll have bookmobile so that I can drive around to book deserts like my hometown which currently has no bookshop and makes me very sad.  Also, the bookmobile will be filled with adoptable rescue kittens and raspberry donuts and I’ll pick up people along the way and we’ll go on road trips to visit authors and give out free books to kids AND OMG I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS.

*deep breath*

Sorry.

So here’s where you come in.

I have a lot of ideas and surprises that I’m working on but honestly I’d love to hear your ideas.  What makes a bookstore great for you?  What should we totally have or not have?  What’s your favorite bookshop ever and why?

And if you live locally I have another favor.  I’ve found a few spaces that are nice but maybe not perfect so I’m asking for your eyes because I don’t want miss something amazing.  Do you know of an open space in San Antonio that needs a bookshop?  Victor is leaning toward something in a nice, new shopping center with lots of light and a small bar and great landlords.  I’m leaning toward a haunted Victorian with a friendly ghost and giant chairs and maybe it’s also infested with otters.  We both agree that it should be 2800 to 4500 square feet with lots of parking for events and wonderful, lovely energy.

Thoughts?