Monday, March 30, 2009

Hot Hook-Ups

From the desk of Ms. Spitfire...

My dearest Suzy-Q,

So what's new in the deep down? Are there any birthday plans for the triplets? I always did think that they threw the most fantastic parties---particularly for themselves. I don't think I've ever had as much fun as their 63rd! I can't imagine why Auntie Maybel Sue Jean disapproves so much of them! I think they're fantastic and far more fun than many people my own age...
This week has been a good one for me. I've been busy and surprisingly productive. The week felt full and strong-bodied, like a good cup of coffee. Not overwhelming and jittery, like too many hastily drunk espressos.

That being said, this upcoming week is going to certainly be a busy one. We're having a sales conference this week, which is--at least for me--one of the most important and pivotal parts of the season (remember? Three seasons in publishing: spring/summer, fall, and winter.)
I know I told you about launch, which is when all the editors present their newly-acquired books (for the "new" season) to the marketing and publicity team. Well, launch is followed by a flurry of weeks in which the marketing department and publicity department divy the books out to the marketing manager and publicist who will work on each title. These mini teams familiarize themselves with the books and meet with the editors to talk strategy, and then formulate their marketing and publicity plans. Depending on the type of book and how "big" it is, the marketing manager will begin to do some of the marketing work--particularly if the marketing plan involves something elaborate and long-term, such as partnering with a company that will promote the book, or making a book trailer.

All in all, the "behind-the-scenes" teams have several weeks after launch to get their act together before presenting the whole shebang to the sales team. This is sales conference--the big, important teleconference when the editorial, marketing, publicity and art teams band together to present the upcoming list (this one will be for Fall '09) to the sales force, who will (in the upcoming weeks) have to go out and sell the book to the major chains and independent bookstores.

By sales conference, marketing and publicity plans have to be ready. Advance publicity and already-under-way marketing extravaganzas are put on display. Cover designs have been mostly completed, although in many cases sales conference provides an open forum to discuss covers that--for a number of reasons--are actively disliked or simply fail to impress.
Sales conference is exceedingly important not only because it serves as a major motivational push for plans to be made and teams to get cracking but also because it makes sure that everyone all the way from editorial to sales is pretty much on the same page about the new books.

My last three weeks therefore have been frantic scratchings, scurryings and dashings-about of brainstormings, meetings with editors, cover design discussions, making of marketing plans for different books, and--lastly--putting together powerpoint presentations for each book about those plans. All leading up to this moment...

I'll write next week and tell you how it all went!


P.S. Antonio loves the hyacinth blossoms you sent me. I begged him to take care of them so that they wouldn't die. Besides, they cheer up the office so much. Hyacinths really do smell like heaven, don't they? If only I could have freshly blooming hyacinths all year round.


Chris Eldin said...

Good morning everyone!

Poor Ms. Spitfire has been very busy. But luckily Antonio knows how to cheer her up.

Sarah Laurenson said...

As a writer, it's always fascinating to me to hear what happens when the manuscript has left my hands (after being accepted and all that contract stuff).

I love the peeks into the inner workings of publishers. And I am, once again, in awe of the amount of work that is being done to produce a book. This business has to be one of the craziest in the world. So much time and effort for so little money. It is a labor of love all the way around, it seems.

Antonio said...

Izza so nice to be having the smell of heaven inna the offeece.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sales meetings! OMG. Meetings are the bane of my existence.