I'm starting to feel like a stranger in my own store. A kid came sauntering in, stopped abruptly and looked at me in shock.

"Who are you!" he exclaimed.

"Uh...I'm the owner."

"I've never seen you before!"

I've noticed over the last year or so that I'll be in the store with Matt or Cameron and a customer will ask a question, and I'll break in with my two cents worth and the customer looks at me with fish eyes, like "Who the hell are you? I was talking to the other guy."

It's a very strange experience after being "The Man" for decades.

For years I was aware of every little detail. I had an encyclopedic memory of my stock. I could answer almost every question.

Now I'm stumped lots of the time. I've resorted to saying they should ask Cameron or Matt, which feels lame to me.

But I made the decision to write full time. That's worked out well for my writing career. I always intended to watch carefully how the store was doing and come back if things looked like they were going off course, but they instead continued to improve.

I'd probably work two days a week instead of one if I could figure out a way--but both Matt and Cameron need their hours. For the first year or so, I still felt connected.

I turned the ordering over to Cameron--all but new novels. If he was going to run the store he needed that power, and sure enough, his choices aren't always my choices. But sales and margins are good, perhaps better than they would have been if I was doing the ordering.

Youth will be served.

I would have been both more conservative and less. More conservative in what my budgeting goals were, and less conservative in actually achieving them. I've said for years that I needed a CFO, someone who would ride herd on the budget, and with Cameron I basically have one. He sticks to the budget goals the way I never could.

The store feels vibrant and connected, even if I'm not...

Cameron and Matt are connected to comics in ways I never was. I mean, I did the job by sheer dent of effort, not because I totally understood what I was doing. So the comic part of the business seems open to growth, new and younger customers. Our subscription list is reaching levels it hasn't been in over a decade.

The boys are great at games, too.

I've been doing a decent job at books, and I've been turning my attention to those and it shows. So the store is doing great without me, and rather than feeling left out, I should be glad.