Saturday, February 1, 2020

Year 5 of an Indie Writer: Week 5 AKA Virtual Bookshelves Never Go Out of Stock

by
Scott D. Parker

I couldn't believe what I saw.

Or didn't see.

Gregg Hurwitz: A New-to-Me Author


For a few years now, the Orphan X series by Gregg Hurwitz, has been circling my radar. I'd download a sample onto my Kindle, but never get around to it. I'd see the second, third, and fourth books in the series be published, but still I didn't move off high center.

Until late last month.

At  one of the paperback racks at a Barnes and Noble in far west Houston, I saw OUT OF THE DARK, the fourth volume in the series. Unlike in the past, when I see a book that captures my attention, I read it, no matter what number it is in a series. But when I realized it was an Orphan X novel, I was reminded that this series is one I should try.



So I walked over to the regular bookshelves and pulled a paperback copy of ORPHAN X, the debut novel in the series. This was late December 2019, in that timeless week between Christmas and New Year's Day. As an avid audiobook listener--who easily could have downloaded the audio version, I know--I resolved to read the paperback. Frankly, it had been awhile since I picked up a new paperback and actually read it. (I always pick up books, but don't always get to them.)

I read the entire book, finishing a week ago. Loved the book, the character of Evan Smoak, and Hurwitz's writing style. I'll have my full review this coming Wednesday (as part of Barrie Summy's Book Review Club) but I can tell you now it's a winner.

I was so jazzed to read the next book, THE NOWHERE MAN, that on Tuesday evening after rehearsal, I drove over to a Barnes and Noble (not the same one). I strode past the hardback section--where INTO THE FIRE sat, having been published that same day--and made my way to the paperback section.  I found the Hs and looked.

And looked. And looked. I checked the Mystery section just in case Hurwitz's books were considered mysteries by B&N. You know what I saw?

Zero Gregg Hurwitz books. A New York Times best-selling author.

Are Virtual Bookshelves Better?


If you read my column from last week, you'll remember one of my goals in 2020 is to create an online bookstore. Sure, there is nothing like going to a bookstore, browsing the books, and picking one up to read and buy. It really can be a magical experience.

But what happens when something like the absence of Hurwitz books occurs?

You go elsewhere.

And that elsewhere is either another bookstore or it is online

This is where an online bookstore has the edge. As long as an author is willing, the shelves of the online bookstore are always stocked. You can always find something you're looking for, especially if an author is willing and set up to sell direct to you, the reader.

It's not just ebooks either. I plan on having paperbacks available for direct purchase--complete with personalization. Audio will come later.

Just imagine the virtual bookshelves of an author's bookstore: ebook, paperback, maybe hardback, audio, video links, and more.

Exciting to imagine, huh?

Gregg Hurwitz in Houston


I love the serendipity of me finally buying that first book in the Orphan X series, reading it, and loving it. This coming Monday, at Houston's Murder by the Book, Hurwitz will conduct an author event and book signing. Love the timing. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

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