Wednesday, November 3, 2010
another round of sales conferences finished: 25 tips for reps
1. You always think everything will fit into one bag this time. You will always have to resort to two at the last minute.
2. There will always be a loud talker on the phone in the gate area. At the Milwaukee airport, a woman was complaining about Lucifer and the bad things he’d done lately. Yes, it turned out to be that Lucifer.
3. Travelling on Sunday means the pleasure of two hours with the Times. But not so pleasurable when it’s the week before a triumph of the lunatics election and the news is all depressing.
4. Scudding over the clouds and descending into Logan airport, always stunning.
5. The Silver Line bus will always be pulling away from the curb just as you get outside.
6. You’ve never quite arrived in Cambridge until you’ve spent an hour at Harvard Book Store.
7. The chance to pick up international newspapers in Harvard Square used to be exciting; now I don’t even bother to buy the Boston Globe.
8. With some editorial presentations, you can’t write fast enough to keep up; after others, I barely have a coherent phrase in my notes.
9. Some old books are as exciting to publish and sell as new ones. New editions of Oscar Wilde and Rainer Maria Rilke, for instance.
10. Covers, covers, covers. We never get tired of critiquing and over-thinking them but in the end it’s my taste against yours, right? Anyway, our jackets are generally magnifico.
11. After calling en editor you’ve known for ten years by the wrong name and realizing it ten minutes later, is it better to revisit the situation, or to just let it go?
12. The worst place to be seated at sales conference dinners is in the center of a long narrow table. You end up being on the margins of two conversations, and you run out of things to say to the person directly across from you.
13. When twenty people are dining at one very long table, texting is apparently now the preferred way to communicate.
14. Sales conference dinners are NOT all about the books. Conversational topics this week included marriages and divorces (number of), what it's like to hike the trail of the Lewis & Clark expedition, and the puzzling aggressiveness of Minneapolis drivers.
15. You will always hear at least one good unfamiliar quip from a British colleague. Up this week: “Well, she already has one cheek on the throne…” Anxious to find a context in which to use this.
16. A press that allows a dog to hang out in a basement office all day is a press I’m proud to work for. Hi Tabasco!
17. When we reps are asked constantly for honest feedback from the field, how honest can you be? Can I really say that some of my buyers fall asleep when they hear the word “digital?”
18. You dress for sales conferences in a more formal way than in real life. Sales conference colleagues have rarely seen me without a jacket and tie; most booksellers have never seen me in one.
19. Sureness, confidence, thinking on one’s feet: I have such smart colleagues! How to finally attain these things?
20. When driving from Cambridge to New Haven, dinner at Rein’s in Vernon, Connecticut is a must. Bliss.
21. US Postal service flat rate boxes: one of the most wonderful government inventions ever. My stuff gets home before I do.
22. Never leave sales conference thinking you have anticipated everything a bookseller might conceivably ask about a book. Within the first week out someone will stump you.
23. Befriend the sales assistants. They are interesting people, you will need them and they have great taste in music.
24. The secret of a successful meeting is a tray of cookies at 3:00.
25. If you can avoid flying home from LaGuardia on a plane full of Green Bay Packer fans after they’ve just beaten the NY Jets, by all means do so.