Most of the work is done for our Fall/Winter 2013 book season. We are just back from four trade shows. Kirsten and I were hosted by our fabulous reps Howard Karel and Lise Solomon at the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association show in South San Francisco, Anne by the gracious Bob Harrison at the Pacific Northwest Independent Booksellers Association show in Portland and all three of us by our fairy godmother, Dory Dutton, at the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association show in Denver. And author Charlie Quimby was hosted by John Mesjak at the Heartland Fall Forum in Chicago. Thanks to all.
We enjoyed the energy, generosity and enthusiasm for books of all the terrific folks we meet in this biz. And we learned a lot. We learned, for instance, that the shows aren’t as much about selling books as they are about building relationships. I admit, I was a bit naive about this fact. Charlie’s title, Monument Road, is getting extra attention and will even be on the ABA’s IndieNext list in November after a starred review this month by Booklist. All that is an accomplishment that Charlie and THP can be proud of. But it isn’t moving the sales needle much. We are still optimistic that this title will sell itself as it gets out there next month, but again, I’m surprised we weren’t able to create some orders now.
In order to do justice to great novels by new authors like Charlie, THP is going to have to build our brand a bit more. It means we will have to be more selective for awhile about the track record of the authors we hire. The trade respects, like nothing else, the author’s previous track record. If there isn’t one, and it isn’t recent, the trade is dubious and reluctant. I spent this morning on the dreary job of submission rejections. There was some good stuff in there from lively, attractive authors, but we just don’t feel we could do the titles justice. We are going to increase our focus on relationships with agents for the coming year and see where it leads. Onward, at any rate. -Mark Bailey