Last week, I spent two days in New York City meeting with librarians, teachers, and magazine editors. It’s one of the best parts of the job — talking with people who love books about books.
This trip was all about our Spring 2011 books. We give a sneak peak at our books to some of the people who influence others in their professions — the “opinion makers,” as they are often called.
I’ve only recently moved to Chicagoland, having lived most of my life in the New York Tri-State area. So on this trip, like many others, I spent the weekend in New Jersey with family. That means that bright and early Monday morning, I was on a New Jersey Transit train bound for Manhattan. My first meeting was with Margaret Tice at PS 139 in Brooklyn, so I quickly dropped one of my suitcases at my hotel and hightailed it with the other (filled with f&gs and ARCs) to the Q train. In some ways, it felt like coming home — rushing for a subway train with way too much stuff in my arms.
After visiting with Margaret and her students in Brooklyn, I ran back to the subway and made my way to the new offices of School Library Journal. As most of you will know, there was quite a bit of shake-up in the review journal world this year. Three of the top five review journals were sold to new owners. For publishers, this meant changing our databases and that we would have to schedule separate times for meeting with SLJ and PW. Six months ago, when I last made this journey, Trev Jones (SLJ) and Diane Roback (PW) had offices a few doors apart. Now they were in completely different neighborhoods.
After a great meeting with Trev — which included a formal request for “fewer vampires” which I believe she’s asking of every publisher — I headed down the street to our new partners at Open Road Media. We’ll be launching the first 19 Boxcar Children e-books in time for Christmas, so there is quite a bit of planning to do. Plans include a trip to the Gertrude Chandler Warner Museum and interviewing fans and former childhood fans of the books from around the country.
I then rushed back to midtown for drinks with more opinion makers at The Algonquin — because it’s really cool to talk books at The Algonquin. Thanks to Rocco Staino (SLJ and Huffington Post) and Judy Zuckerman (Brooklyn Public Library) for being so enthusiastic about our books. Back at my hotel, I chatted in the lobby with Kuris Lowe, one of our sales reps from the West Coast.
I think this gives you an idea of the pace a publicist keeps on these trips. From 7am to 9pm, I was either in a meeting or making way to one.
I spent the next day visiting the new Publishers Weekly offices, Monica Edinger at The Dalton School, and the new offices of the Children’s Book Council. You know, despite the obvious differences between a public school in Brooklyn and a private school on the Upper East Side, the kids were remarkably similar — happy and excited to be with each other.
Time will tell how these and the other wonderful books we’re publishing this Spring will do, but they off to a great start. Besides, it really is the highlight on my season to present books for the first time to the people who will shepherd them into the world and into the hands of the children.