It’s here! My brand new online bookshop, Helena Halme Books is now open.
Why My Own Bookshop?
Isn’t life as an indie author busy enough without managing my own bookshop? The answer is a resounding “Yes”. However, the word “Indie Author” holds the clue to why I decided to open my own bookstore.
Before I publish a new title, I use a lot of services in order to ensure the title is as good as it possibly can be. Any published novel needs to be engaging with a brilliant plot and relatable characters. It also has to be as free of spelling mistakes as possible. This is why I use beta readers, editors, and proofreaders to ensure my books are as good as they can be when I launch them out into the world. I also use several services for cover design, book interior and marketing as well as printing and distribution.
So you can see, publishing an indie book is anything but a lonely business. However, of all the people and products in my production process, the most important are the readers. When I publish via, say, Amazon, I am one (vital) step removed from my reader. Because of the way all of the online stores work, I have no or little idea of who has bought my book. I can see what those (lovely) readers who write reviews thought of my book. Or I can see which categories my readers find my books in, but that’s about it.
Instead of guessing who my readers are, or what they like about my books, I want to speak directly to them (you). I can do this when I have my own shop. This may sound a bit control freakish, but I do like being independent and in control of as many aspects of the publishing process as I can. This is why I am self-published after all.
But buying books directly from an author has a benefit for readers too. (See below.)
Once a Bookseller …
There are other reasons, more emotional ones, for opening my own bookstore.
Did you know that I’m a former bookseller? Although my career in a bookstore was quite short-lived, I loved every minute of the time I spent in (now sadly gone) England’s Lane Books in London’s Belsize Park.
Recommending books to readers was my favourite part of being a bookseller. I often played the game of guessing what a particular customer was looking for as they stepped into the shop.
I also loved being a part of a wonderful team of booksellers. All day long, we talked about books amongst ourselves and our customers. Each day, we’d have a delivery of new titles and opening those boxes of new books was such a delight, which I miss to this day. In addition to all this, there were regular book clubs, children’s reading hours and author events in the little shop.
I remember particularly fondly the time when there was a queue out of the door and round the corner for David Nicholls, author of the huge best-seller, One Day. We also hosted Tessa Hadley and the children’s author, Julia Donaldson, among many others.
If I could, I would set up a small Notting Hill (You know, the romantic film with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts) kind of bookshop tomorrow. Sadly, I don’t have the money or the time.
Helena Halme Books
Since I’m not able to bring my dream of a brick-and-mortar bookshop into reality, I’ve gone for the next best thing. I opened my own Shopify bookstore online.
I am beyond excited!
The shop is simply called, HelenaHalmeBooks, and it features all my fiction titles in Ebook form. Paperbacks will find their way into the shop soon. The headline of the shop is Nordic Fiction with a Noir Twist, which I think is the right description of the type of stories I write. I hope you agree.
In my own bookshop, I can also offer the readers my titles at a lower price than any of the other retailers. This is because all of the other bookshops take a cut from the sales, so most of the titles on Helena Halme Books are around 25% cheaper than on Amazon and other stores.
If you’d like to buy paperbacks directly from me, watch this space. They are on their way into the product selection and will be for sale soon.
Go and have a look at Helena Halme Books and let me know what you think of my new shop!
Don’t forget that many of the books in the shop are priced lower than in other online stores, such as Google Play, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or even Amazon.