Phil Jason interviews Patricia Jefferson
On June 25, I had the pleasure of meeting the proprietor of this unique bookstore, which is located on Reflections Parkway just off Cypress Lakes Drive. I knew right away that it was a special place. On that day, thriller author M. A. Richards was also at the bookstore with his wife Young for a book signing. After strolling around and enjoying the distinctive layout of the store, I just had to share Patti Jefferson’s vision with my readers.
- How — and why — is P. J. Boox different from other bookstores?
In many ways we are just like every other bookstore you have ever been in. We offer great mysteries, romance, poetry, children’s books and a bunch of other genres. In spite of that, almost everyone who walks through our doors knows that we are definitely NOT like any other bookstore that they have ever seen. I suppose it starts with the fact that our books are all displayed face out. You can see the cover of every book that we offer. Turns out that the old adage of “don’t judge a book by its cover” is really about making assumptions about people and not books at all!
Of course the biggest difference is the fact that the books we sell are all by independently or small press published authors from around the world. What does that mean for the average reader? Not much actually. I have never yet met a reader who cared who the publisher of a book was — they just want a good story with characters they can love or hate. Working with these authors directly gives us different advantages than a big box store does. For instance, most of our books are signed by the author and we can Skype or Facetime with them for a book club. Readers can connect and follow the authors on social media because they are accessible to their fans. It’s just a different way to connect authors and readers.
- How does your selection process work?
For a long time, independent or small press publishing had a bit of a stigma as being an inferior product to traditionally published books. In the recent years, however, independent authors have fought to correct that ill-conceived notion so it vital for us to be able to present the best books available to our readers. We get submissions on our website directly from authors and we also solicit select authors on-line. We judge the books by their cover designs, whether the manuscript was professionally edited, and we look at reviews in places like Amazon and Goodreads. We check out the authors other marketing platforms, and we are especially interested in books that have won national or international book awards.
- Clearly, you must have a different business model from the “usual” bookstore. Will you describe it? . . .
To find the answer and the rest of the interview, as they appear in the August 24,2016 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the August 25 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Palm Beach Gardens / Jupiter editions, click here: Florida Weekly – P.J. Boox