Thursday, November 10, 2016

Booksellers Who Rock Our World, Part 1: Mysterious Galaxy San Diego

Welcome to Part 1 of a series that recognizes booksellers who have been especially helpful to my author clients as they seek to promote their books. In this series, I focus on those booksellers who are always ready to help both independent and traditionally published authors by offering signing events and meet-and-greets, promoting authors to their local communities, carrying the authors' books in their stores, and operating as advocates, advisors, and cheerleaders as authors seek to find reading audiences for their work.

The booksellers that appear here are the best of the best, my go-to resources for events, promotion, guidance, and support for my author clients.

The first bookseller featured in this series is San Diego's Mysterious Galaxy, which is a genre store specializing in science fiction, mystery, fantasy, and horror.  I chose this store to kick-off the series because it has been a long-time favorite of my San Diego and Southern California clients. Tucked away behind a See's Candy shop in Clairemont Mesa, Mysterious Galaxy has been a welcome fixture to book buyers and book writers alike.

What makes this store special is its undying support for indie authors and its spring, fall and winter local author events. At these events, Mysterious Galaxy assembles a large (20+) group of authors, who appear for an entire afternoon to promote their work to readers. Each author is allowed 10 to 15 minutes to talk about his/her book, and then the authors can stay to mingle, sell, and sign copies of their books for customers afterward.

Mysterious Galaxy supplies food, along with beer and wine, at these events, so the atmosphere feels more like a festive party and less like a standard bookselling talk. The store allows the authors to drop off copies of the books two weeks prior to each event and keeps them for up to a month afterward; in many cases, the books are sold before the events even begin. The best part? The authors have a chance to meet online prior to the events, so that by the time the day arrives, everyone seems to know everyone else, and the atmosphere is warm and supportive. These local author events provide a great forum for authors to meet other writers and pitch their books to a reading audience, and they're one of the many reasons Mysterious Galaxy is a beloved fixture on the bookstore scene in San Diego.

Maryelizabeth Yturralde
As part of the series, each bookseller has agreed to answer three questions about the store. Here's what the store's co-owner, Maryelizabeth Yturralde, has to say about Mysterious Galaxy:

How did your store come into being?
The short version: Mysterious Galaxy's "big book bang" came in the early 1990's, when my partners and I felt there was a strong Southern California readership for the kinds of books we are passionate about: books about "Martians, murder, magic, and mayhem," to quote our tag line. We opened our doors in May 1993, and even after approximately 1104 "New Book Tuesdays," we are still thrilled each week when we unbox new arrivals and put them on our shelves (metaphorically, in the case of our ebooks, but still...).

What is special about your store?
While Mysterious Galaxy is a specialty store with a focus on genre fiction, I think what's really special about us is our staff. Our booksellers are passionate and enthused about the curated selection we carry and about helping connect books and readers in both Southern California and the Galaxy's greater genre community.

What words of advice do you have for authors who would like to have their books featured in your store (or bookstores in general)?
Be aware of two things:
1) Booksellers are enthusiastic about community and sharing the magic of books -- but they are also in the business of bookselling, and they need to ensure that inventory is available to them at standard trade terms that make sense for their customer base/readers.
2) Visible inclusivity is critical. If an author's internet presence only directs readers to Amazon for purchase options for the author's books, it can have a dampening effect on other booksellers' enthusiasm for promoting the authors' works. In addition to Amazon, authors should be sure to link to an independent bookstore for sales, so that they offer customers a choice for not only what they buy, but where they buy.

Mysterious Galaxy
5943 Balboa Avenue #100
San Diego, CA 92111

Many thanks to Maryelizabeth and the rest of the crew at Mysterious Galaxy for participating in this series and for always being there for authors - this store is definitely a favorite here in San Diego!