Yesterday Cathy Brett and I met up in Oxford for the OUP sales conference. Authors don’t usually get to go to these; it’s where all the books due to be published in the next however-many-months are presented to the sales reps. I assumed that the reps were divided up geographically – so one person would handle the South West, one for Scotland etc. But in fact, each rep has their own area of expertise and handles a different ‘channel’ of sales: Amazon, High Street shops (eg WHSmith), schools, libraries, book clubs, Waterstones etc. All of them need to know about the new books OUP is putting out, so that they can talk to their ‘channels’ and persuade them to place pre-orders.
Every now and then an author is invited along to a sales conference to talk about their own book. It’s a really nice way for the reps to feel that they’ve made a personal connection, and I’m sure it helps them to enthuse about the book when they get back to their desk. Cathy and I were invited in as a double act, and we dressed for the occasion!
Check out my truly amazing customised shoes! Cathy did them for me, and I LURVE them. In fact, several of the reps wanted them too!
Our editor Kathy introduced us to the room, and then Elaine, head of marketing, talked about the plans to promote and publicise the book (which all sound very exciting), and then I got up and talked about the inspiration behind the book and how much fun the whole process was being – and then Cathy got everyone to draw their own superheroes, with their own personal super power!
It was a lot of fun, even though the room was very hot and the poor reps were almost melting in the heat. The biggest cheer of the day was for the arrival of ice cream! And I felt for Gill, assistant editor, who gamely donned a unicorn outfit to big up one of the other books!
We were glad when our bit was over and we could relax:
We went out for drinks and dinner afterwards and it was really great to be able to get to know some of the reps a bit more. What lovely dedicated people – and a shout-out to Camille, who was a VERY bad influence on me! 😉
But almost better than the sales conference was the arrival of THIS!!
It’s an actual BOOK! I am SO excited. Look at the awesomeness!
There’s something really brilliant about bound proofs (which are what you call it when the publisher orders a special print run of the book in advance, not to be sold, but for reviews and to ‘build a buzz’). They don’t usually use the ‘real’ cover because it mustn’t be confused with the real thing when it’s finally published. But everything on the insides is pretty much as it’ll be in the final version, and I couldn’t be happier. It looks totally amazing.
Cathy and I had a great day meeting and talking to the reps and staff of OUP. It was All Good 🙂