I met Lucy Abarcia at the Romance Writers of Australia conference this year in Sydney. In order to serve the members of RWA with what they need, she brought a miniature version of her bookstore, EVER AFTER, an hour north of her location in Wollongong up to the conference in Sydney. I was impressed with both her willingness to work so hard to help us out and her great selection of writing books!
I’ve been a romance reader since I was around 13 and have always secretly wanted to have my own bookstore. Of course, I’ve spent half my life in the closet, so no one knew I wanted to have my own “romance” bookstore—I would have been so embarrassed. Why? Well, you all know the stigma attached to the genre and I was one of the shy ones. Even my family didn’t realise I wanted a “romance” bookstore and, when I told them what I wanted to do, well, they all had doubts that I would succeed. They all changed their minds when RWA asked me to run the bookstall three years ago for the Sydney conference. Mum and my oldest sister gave me a hand that weekend and they couldn’t believe the amount of writers that attended, not to mention the sales we made that weekend! It was a real eye-opener.
This year, when I was asked to do it again, I was excited but, at the same time, a little overwhelmed (it is a big job). I knew people would want new craft books, so it took awhile to organise and it didn’t help that I decided to go to the U.S. six weeks before (attending RomCon and the national RWA)! Silly me! But I have great staff and they knew what to do. We’re only two hours away from Sydney, so the logistics of getting everything up there isn’t a big pain and, financially, we do very well but, boy, the ordering and paperwork is a nightmare.
I love going to conferences! The atmosphere is electric and I become such a fan-girl. It’s loads of fun. I love chatting with aspiring and published writers, and even other booksellers (most of the time we meet sitting outside the publisher signings) and this year was no different. I adore reading debut novels, so when I meet someone who has a book coming out, I always ask for an ARC (advanced reading copy).
I cannot tell you how important it is for an author to promote themselves by sending out ARCs…if other booksellers are like me, it will make a huge difference in sales if we read an ARC and like it. It’s exciting being able to tell people that a new author will totally blow their minds with their debut novel. It’s happened here many times and there are many authors that owe a lot to booksellers for their constant vigil for an entertaining romance novel.
Lucy Abarcia is the owner of Ever After, a romance book shop in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. You can browse the store at http://www.everafter.com.au/ where you can find information on book signings, book club meetings, and more.