We all get an avalanche of marketing and promotional emails from publishers, many of which are useful but are nonetheless variations on particular themes: a book is about to get big publicity on television, the following backlist titles are just the thing to go with a trending news story, and so forth. It is always striking, therefore, to see a genuinely original and uniquely effective missive come into our inboxes. The best example of this I have ever seen is my Como Sales Workman Rep Maureen Karb’s Annual Fall Sales Conference Recap.
I think that most of us frontlist buyers take an interest in publisher sales conferences. These clandestine gatherings not only sound like fun but they are at least in part designed to prepare sales reps to prod us into buying their wares. How could we not be interested?
Funny, opinionated, and wholly engaging Maureen not only opens up a charming window into the character and content of a sales conference to us buyers, but deftly performs one of its prime directives in the process: selling us on its big titles. Here is a bit of her newsletter to give you an idea of her laudable style.
“It was a fabulous couple of days. Not only were the books great, but everyone was in high spirits as we were ALL staying in the same hotel, braving the airport, exploring North Carolina, and enjoying the fact that we weren’t at the same bar we’ve been visiting twice a year for 17 years (for some, me, I think I’ve only been there…. 16 times maybe?).
We started on Tuesday night by hearing about one of the most exciting books —1,000 Books to Read Before You Die. This is a project spearheaded by Peter Workman probably 15 years ago that is finally coming into fruition. It is a book lover’s dream! Carefully curated, you won’t be able to wait to pick this up and see if your favorite is there and what Jim (pictured above) says about it! We also got to watch an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown to get us excited about probably the most ambitious Artisan cookbook EVER. One word: NOMA. That night they shuttled us to the Algonquin offices—where I’d never been before!—and we had a blast. Let’s just say I had so much fun that I forgot to take pictures.”
The whole newsletter is in fact full of great photos and anecdotes. Maureen’s missive demonstrates that being personable, entertaining and honest is the best means of handselling. We applaud a children’s book for conveying an issue through story rather than hammer blows and how much more effective are Maureen’s sales pitches for their being intertwined with all the fun reasons she forgot to take pictures. I look forward to getting Maureen’s sales conference recap every year, so much so that, as you saw above we presented her with DDG’S 2018 Sales Rep Missive of the Year Award when she came to the store today for her sales call. If you’d like to read her recap in full, which you should, it is here.