Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sales Conference, Or a Tale of Awkwardness

The view from my
hotel room
I, Liz, flew to Florida very, very early this morning for the annual in-person sales conference for fall books.  For those of you dozens of readers who aren't in the book business, basically this is the company pep talk meeting, awards presentation dinner(s), and discussion of new books.  Parts of conference are exciting...and parts involve socially awkward people attempting to interact with other socially awkward people, to varying levels of self-awareness.  It's a hoot.

Here are some observations before I have to turn in my computer so that the IT people can remove an entire cat's worth of Zorro fur from my keyboard.

A beautiful site.

  • The Sanibel Resort is a Marriott property.  Marriott signed a deal with the devil (Pepsi).  My colleague Toni drove in from Tampa and brought me a case of Diet Coke, but she's staying in another building, so I had to claim my Diet Coke at the front desk.  I'm rationing.
  • Here's the thing: I work from home, not an office.  I therefore don't see the same people every single day, so technically I could wear the same clothes every day if I wanted.  To come up with clothes for five days can be a challenge.  
  • Also, we are book people.  We don't speak normal English...which is fine since the big boss, Markus, is German.  There is the whiff of desperation out there, the "Talk to MEEEEEEE!!!" of people who spend lots of time talking to the cat.
  • My boss asked me to be on a panel. She claims that my participation isn't just to provide an excuse to fire me.
  • Sales people flock to receive
    a signed book from Grisham.
  • John Grisham.  I sat at his table for dinner.  He requested the vegetarian plate.  Considering the frightening slab-o-cow that was deposited in front of me, I ate the whipped potatoes and the salad.
  • Speaking of Grisham, he has a new novel coming in April.  He's been a huge baseball fan all of his life (in spite of the fact that he's a Cardinals fan), and this is his first baseball-related story.  Calico Joe tells the story of a rising star playing for the Cubs, Joe Castle, and a struggling pitcher for the Mets, Warren Tracey, set during the summer of 1973.  Joe explodes onto the scene, breaking a record with his first few at bats.  He's a superstar in the making for the long-suffering Cubs fans (ask Gianna about her pain).  Warren Tracey's son Paul tells the story of these two baseball players, the baseball code, and a fateful August day when their paths collided.  It's a good read--reminiscent of The Natural.
  • I "celebrated" my fifth year with Random House.  And then I pointed out to a colleague celebrating her 35th year that I have only been alive 35 years.  I'm classy like that.
Unless Gianna figures out how to post on the blog, there might be a couple of days hiatus.  Just remember, Liz is always the answer.
Coming April 2012


  1. Hang in there Liz! There are worse places than Sanibel to be at Sales conference.

  2. except when the answer is Randy.