Your backstage pass to the world’s most prolific authors

JD Barker
Christine Daigle
Kevin Tumlinson
Jena Brown

What does it take to succeed as a writer? Join hosts J.D. Barker, Christine Daigle, Kevin Tumlinson and Jena Brown as they pull back the curtain and gain rare insight from the household names found on bookshelves worldwide.

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Keeping Bookstores Alive with Tom Holbrook

Tom Holbrook has been keeping bookstores alive since 2002, when he opened RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. By showcasing a variety of indie books, helping aspiring writers edit and sell their work, and hosting book signings and other events for smaller authors, Tom has made a healthy impact on his local indie scene and has kept the spirit of physical books alive in a world that is becoming increasingly virtual. Over nearly two decades of owning a bookstore, he has also written a few books of his own and has helped local indie authors publish many more. Fortunately, RiverRun has stood strong through the pandemic, a historically tough time for small businesses, and remains a staple of Portsmouth.

Whether you’re traditionally published or indie, writing a good book is only the first step in becoming a successful author. The days of just turning a manuscript into your editor and walking away are gone. If you want to succeed in today’s publishing world, you need to understand every aspect of the business – editing, formatting, marketing, contracts. It all starts with a good book, then the real work begins.

Join international bestselling author J.D. Barker and indie powerhouse, J. Thorn, as they gain unique insight and valuable advice from the most prolific and accomplished authors in the business.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How Tom created RiverRun
  • Why audiobooks aren’t as profitable for bookstores
  • Why bookstores need to have “extras”
  • The importance of assisting local indie authors
  • How COVID has affected indie stores and writers


J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

Tom Holbrook –

RiverRun Bookstore –

Music by Nicorus – 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – and recorded at Mill Pond Studio –

Contact – 

“Muggable” quote by Harley Christensen –

*Full disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links.


  1. Christopher Wills

    4 years ago  

    Interesting show today. I love bookshops. The print-as-you-wait machines were around just after 2000 and were the next big thing but ebooks killed them off. The original idea was as JD suggested, any bookshop could ‘stock’ every book ever published. Also one could choose one’s cover so one could create sets of books with the same cover. E.g. you could buy every Stephen King book with a cover that showed they were all a set. There was also the idea that one could take one’s own cover into the bookshop on a memory device and have a book printed with one’s own covers.
    They could add to the woes of bookshops as Superstores and shopping centres and airports could stock them as they are a glorified vending machine.
    One way Tom could stock audiobooks is to stock say, the top twenty audiobooks of a list like the NYT, like record stores used to stock 45s. But also, and here’s the competitive edge, he could have those booths that record shops used to have so potential buyers could listen to, say chapter one, of an audiobook to see if they like the story and voice before they buy. Also Tom could recycle through chapter ones playing them at low volumes in an area of his store whilst people browsed, to entice them to buy the audio version. I bet many who walk into a store have never listened to an audiobook before and could easily be swayed if they could hear examples.
    Great show.

    1. J. Thorn

      4 years ago  

      There’s so much possibility here. It’ll be interesting to see what bookstores look like in 9-12 months.

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