Ghost in the Shelves: Get to Know our Local Author Program

Since its beginning in 1941, The Haunted Book Shop has been a literary hub for Mobile, bringing together writers, readers, and creatives of all kinds. We continue this tradition today of being a vital community-minded asset to Downtown by hosting local author signings during the LoDa Art Walk, story times, genre chats, workshops, book clubs and more.

We also created an Author’s Program which includes a Writer-in-Residence. The goal of the program is to provide support as well as foster a symbiotic relationship between local and regional authors and the bookstore. The Writer-in-Residence program not only gives writers a place to work, but also gives them casual, organic visibility to customers.

The back half of our Writer’s Room is dedicated to the Writer-in-Residence space, featuring a desk and reference books for a writer to have a place to write. Writers have access to free Wi-Fi and a Keurig. Also available is an area for the author to set out their books and swag. Books would be rung up on our register, with the store getting the usual 40% commission. Writers in our Author’s Program may use this space for free for a limited number of hours a week in exchange for us getting this percentage of book sales and also answering any questions customers might have.

Our Writer’s Room is located on the mezzanine level. Its walls are filled with books from crafting dialogue to writing science fiction to researching time periods, and everything in between. We have shelves for author biographies and literary criticism as well as a shelf of how-to books for our young authors and illustrators too!

Are you a writer interested in our program?

Here are some of our rules and parameters:

• The space is available for those who have purchased a membership to our Author Program. Memberships are $10/year. This includes:

  1. 10% Discount on writing books located in the Writer’s Room (Mezzanine level)
  2. Use of the Writer-in-Residence space in the Writer’s Room
  3. Stock up to five (5) copies of each title of the author’s works at the bookstore in our Consignment Program at a 70/30 split instead of the standard 60/40 (70% of sale price goes to author and 30% to the bookstore)
  4. 10% Discount on writing workshops unless otherwise marked
  5. Have a copy of your book on a designated shelf in the Writer’s Room as well as in the local section of each genre

• Members must reserve the space using the reservation link
• Two time slots a day are allotted (except on ArtWalk days and holidays) and members can reserve up to two slots a week
• We have a sign up that says to customers, “If earbuds in, do not disturb writer”
• No active selling. Meaning, you can’t come and stand in your area and approach customers, trying to sell your book. Or worse, tell a customer not to buy whatever they picked up elsewhere in the store, saying it’s awful, and then pimp yours. This has happened at our store, otherwise it never would have even occurred to me someone would do this. It’s meant to be more of a passive venue–a place like Starbucks where you can write and if someone approaches YOU, great.

This isn’t ideal for every writer. If you’re someone who doesn’t typically go to coffee shops to write, or, need complete silence, it may not work for you.  But there’s something magical about hanging your Writer-in-Residence shingle outside the door. It may be just the validation you need to let the words flow free. (Though while the bookstore is open by appointment only, it is actually pretty quiet.)

Ready to sign up? We’d love to help you achieve your literary goals!

The Ghost in the Shelves: Get to Know Us Series features posts highlighting aspects of our store that might not be obvious or well-known. 

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