27 Jan 2010
A beyond-all-expectations conversation with K. at Oceanview. She is definitely on board, so it’s two down and one to go in terms of team building. In retrospect, I created my own difficulties by not giving M. and K. more credit – particularly M. So many of the people I have dealt with in business over the years were stupid that I tend to assume the worst, which is probably not to my advantage. In any case, I now “get it.” I understand the selling process, and that means I can figure out how to help it along.
Basically, there are the chains, the independents, and the online sales channels. For the chains and independents, the first key objective is getting books on the shelves. Oceanview uses conventional sales reps for the chains. Each rep represents somewhere between five and ten publishers, probably closer to five is my guess. The reps actually visit the buyers for the chains face-to-face and pitch their “Fall line” (or whatever season it is) one book at a time. So the importance of a single line that encapsulates what a book is about is huge. (Mine is, “It’s a thriller about a college student who gets addicted to one of those online role-playing games.” More about that in another post.)
Based on the cover, the pitch, and the publisher’s reputation, the chain buyers either buy or don’t. The buyers, I have heard, revel in their power. With bigger publishers, where the buyers and employees of the publisher deal directly, the buyers often agree to place an order only if the publisher changes the cover design.
The bottom line for me is that there is no way to influence this situation.
The independents are a different story.
To be continued…
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Note: I’m using the blog format here to post a journal I have been keeping for some time. We will catch up to the present in a couple of weeks.