Friday, April 19, 2013

Love My Indie with Author Tom Leveen

Love My Indie is a feature where fellow bloggers, readers, and authors share their favorite independent bookstores. I love the feeling I get when I go into an independent bookstore - like it is filled with hidden treasures just waiting for me to find them.

Showing some Indie Love today is:

Tom Leveen
Author of Party, Zero, and manicpixiedreamgirl

I love my indie bookstore, Changing Hands!

Changing Hands used to be a little two-storey place on a college-town street called Mill Avenue when I was growing up. I met Brian Jacques (the Redwall series) there once, and it was truly inspiring. Now that I think about it, I believe I model my own school visits essentially on how he presented his books that day. So this indie bookstore has been influencing me since long before I ever attempted to publish.

Changing Hands moved to another part of town, and I didn’t think much about it for awhile, not until a random visit in which my wife and I ran into one of their book buyers, Brandi. Brandi—and then the rest of the staff, like Faith, Stephanie, Eddie, Robyn, Danielle, and everyone else there—took trembly, fragile little baby-bird new-author-me under their wings and shepherded my first novel, Party, through the paces to becoming a real live book on their shelves. They do this for tons of authors. Plus their list of authors who have done events there is tremendous. For instance, if I remember correctly, they were the first store to host a newbie debut author named Stephanie Meyer. (I think there were about, oh, thirty or forty people there…)

Tom Leveen at Changing Hands in 2012 (photo credit: Alecia Brouwer)
I’ve met all of my local author friends through Changing Hands, and gotten to do great events with them over the years. The store hosts an annual event called YAllapalooza, an all-day affair with young adult authors teaching classes and hosting panels, then having a big pizza party and game night at the store afterward. They connect with schools all over town, and there’s an event there of one kind or another pretty much every single night. The ambiance is bright and welcoming, well-stocked with new and used books, small gifts, and a calendar of events to die for.

But the real standout of Changing Hands is the staff. These are readers and lovers of all kinds of literature, and they will do anything and everything to find you just the right book. I had to remind myself to even refer to them as “staff” just now, because when I go, it’s hugs all around. These are my friends, and I wouldn’t dream of launching a new book anywhere but there. It is exactly the kind of place where aspiring writers should go, because bookstores are very much a part of the publishing world. We creative types tend to forget that we’re in business, selling products. Changing Hands is the perfect synthesis of business and art.

Tom at Changing Hands for the launch for Zero (photo credit: Alecia Brouwer)  
I would still be a publishing author without this gem of an indie store…but I’d be a lonely published author!

You can (and should) check them out at and on Twitter @changinghands

Tom, thank you so much for sharing your favorite bookstore. Changing Hands sounds like a wonderful bookstore that takes care of both their authors and their readers. I will probably never have the opportunity to visit there, but just knowing that a bookstore like this exists is enough. 

Tom Leveen is the author of Party, Zero, and the soon to be published manicpixiedreamgirl 

Truth is stranger than fiction...but not as cute.
Arriving April 23, 2013 in bookstores everywhere.
Twitter: @tomleveen

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