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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

May 21, 2021

In this episode Mark interviews author Susan Faw who is also the owner and founder of Dragon's Lair Artist Emporium, a physical bookstore in Norther Ontario that showcases books from indie authors.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode's sponsor.

This episode is sponsored by Findaway Voices.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

In their conversation, Mark and Susan talk about:

  • Susan's first meeting with group of authors at a library session with the Stratford Writer's Group in about 2012
  • How long it took Susan to write her first book
  • The actual work-related impetus of Susan writing her first novel
  • Making the move to Northern Ontario from the Niagara region in Southern Ontario
  • The population of the community Susan is in, which is about 6000 people
  • How Susan is keeping busy on the writing side of things with a series she is writing
  • The back story of creating Dragon's Lair Emporium
  • The grant for Northern Ontario women that Susan used to create the store's website
  • Opening the bookstore and then having to shut it down after 6 days due to a Provincial enforced shutdown due to Covid
  • Just how eager customers are to get into the store
  • Collaborative partnerships with the local high school
  • How, at this point in time, Susan is getting most of her stock from Ingram
  • Pricing setup advice and Susan's ability to see it from both the author and bookseller side
  • The fact that Susan is not doing returns, which is typical modus operandi for a bookstore
  • Coming up with creative ways to market books rather than just buying giant piles of books where half of them can be returned
  • A reminder that if an author sets a 55% discount via Ingram Spark, the bookstore actually sees 40%
  • Realizing that specific people who are only interested in discounted prices might not actually be your customer
  • The forms where authors can submit their books for consideration to be carried in the bookstore
  • What authors can do to help support the bookstore that is supporting indie authored books
  • And more...

After the interview, Mark reflects on the unique customers for print books in local physical bookstores, as contrasted to online shoppers on Amazon. He also reminds authors to consider their own books from the bookstore owner's perspective.

Links of Interest:


Susan Faw is a Canadian author of young adult fantasy and dystopian fiction. Her debut novel, Seer of Souls was awarded first place for the best young adult mythology of 2016, Chanticleer Reviews, and the grand prize of the Dante Rossetti for best young adult fiction of 2016, Chanticleer Reviews.

Dragon's Lair Artist Emporium is the brain child of owner Susan Faw. Frustrated with the lack of venues available to independent authors, she a book store dedicated to authors worldwide, who have chosen a self-publishing career.

Dragon's Lair Artist Emporium knows that there are many wonderful books deserving to be seen, and to be read. Dragon's Lair was born to give the independently published author what they have long been denied - space on a physical store shelf. Not only is this space for them, but their business model is built around showcasing the amazing, unrepresented talent that exists in the indie publishing sphere.