Tag Archives: Fountain Bookstore

Social Media: Scary Stuff

I went to a seminar on social media recently, put on by Social MediU, and it made me feel a bit stupid. For instance, I was only able to turn the above name, Social MediU, into a link for this blog because I cheated. I searched the web until I found the name already linked and cut and paste it into my blog. I do not know how to make the blue links myself yet.

Something I took away from the seminar is that I should be using Twitter. Twitter was very interestingly described as “the wild west,” and that’s the problem: I’m an east coast gal. Give me the tried, the true, the stable. Twitter seems unknown and scary. Who are the “right” people to follow? How do you know which tweets to retweet? How do you know that your very original comment isn’t going to throw you into a state of oblivion, rather than generate followers? You don’t know for sure, and that’s what’s so frightening.

Another piece of advice was to open a g-mail account, which I recently did. I might never have changed from comfortable hotmail, if a hijacker hadn’t forced the issue, but now I have a gmail account, and I can barely figure out how to use it past sending and receiving email (and even then, I think I accidentally archived some e-mails. They disappeared.) How to learn? Even if I could find the hours needed, it would be like a ten year old poring over a calculus book, trying to learn calculus. The brain function simply isn’t there. I’m hoping I’ll have a lightbulb moment regarding computers, but it hasn’t happened yet.

The seminar took place at Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA. The owner, Kelly Justice passed on a worthwhile piece of advice: make sure your give/ask ratio is much heavier on the give side. Go as high as 8:1 or 10:1. The one thing you don’t want to be doing is constantly asking for things. Get involved and show interest. Give praise and then give more. Finally, when something is really important, ask graciously for support. Never join Twitter simply to promote yourself, without taking interest in anyone else. Look up tweet chats, find conversations that interest you, and begin interacting. Avoid redundancy on your various sites. And blog often! If you’re running out of ideas for blogging, answer a question off of http://www.formspring.me.

The ladies who ran the seminar, Rebecca Joines-Schinsky of The Book Lady’s Blog and Michelle Franz of Galleysmith, recommend jumping in and getting started. Don’t be afraid to make a few mistakes. For the normal person, “getting it” will happen if you hang in there. For someone computer-challenged, such as myself, I may be hiring Social MediU for help.

I’d love to hear more about social media. Please write back if you have any gems to share!

Lucy Balch

Love Trumps Logic

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A Day at Barnhill’s

I recently spent a magical day at Barnhill’s Bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a book-signing. I didn’t sign many books, but I nevertheless had a fabulous time, finally getting to meet Second Wind writers Lazarus Barnhill, Claire Collins (Tracy Beltran), and Suzette Vaughn. In the process of hanging out, I got to know Barnhill’s pretty well.

First of all, it’s in a prime location. The president of SIBA, Kelly Justice of Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, summed it up well when she said, “Winston-Salem needed an Indie Bookstore.”

Inside Barnhills, polished hardwood floors match a centrally-located, hand-crafted check-out island. The cashier’s stand also matches the bookshelves, since it’s made from a blend of two types of wood.

The two huge storefront windows let in excellent light, and the throughway (you can enter through the back or the front) creates a friendly, open mood. The walls are covered with art and murals from local artists, and Tracy’s warm greeting is a given.

Unique gifts delight at every turn: In one cubby you’ll find an eclectic collection of letter openers. In another, homemade pickles. There is something for everyone, from jewelry, to ornaments, to children’s toys, to hand-sewn wine bottle gift bags, to gourmet tea, to fudge, to … well, I won’t give it all away. You need to visit Barnhill’s yourself … or, if you live too far away, you might have to settle for visiting online.

More about the wine bottle gift bags: They have an excellent purpose for being there. Barnhill’s also offers a wide variety of wines from the North Carolinian vineyards. The day that I was there, Ken, from Round Peak Winery, led a wine tasting, and I bought a red zinfandel and a sangiovese. I’d have bought more if I hadn’t been driving down to Atlanta the next day, before heading home to Richmond. I wasn’t sure that the wine would appreciate being jostled so much … but I’ll be back for more in June.

And, of course, Barnhill’s is a bookstore and has books of all kinds. If you don’t see one that you want it can be ordered. When I was there, Carri Davis, the massage therapist who was giving chair massages (proceeds to benefit the Shephard’s Center), found an amazing book by artist Mark Ryden.

And that’s really one of the coolest things about Barnhill’s. Being there is like being on a treasure hunt. You never know what you’ll find.

May you be around for many years to come, Barnhill’s!

Lucy Balch

Author of Love Trumps Logic, available at Barnhills’s

And at http://secondwindpublishing.com

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