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A Look Inside the Random House Sales Conference

March 11, 2011

Apologies for the somewhat quieter blog this week; we all just returned from our annual Random House sales conference. This is always an exciting, invigorating trip but it does tend to eclipse everything else for the days that we are there. Like many other years, we met in lovely Fort Myers, Florida. I will share a few pictures but please don’t be fooled: I took most of these on the first and last days we were there; the rest of the trip we spent most of our time in meetings so that we could best utilize the limited time we had together!

Here’s what we did during conference: discussed books and strategized with editors, publicists, marketing people and online specialists; learned best practices for all varieties of accounts, books and authors from other sales reps; drooled over a fall book preview for the adult and children’s lists (this is always the session where I make mental notes of all of the books I can’t wait to read); socialized in the hospitality suite; listened to WAY too many Charlie Sheen jokes; Skyped with Tyra Banks who is incredibly beautiful even on a tiny laptop camera; celebrated the reps who have been with Random House for milestone numbers of years ranging from 5 all the way up to 30+; honored reps who won awards for their 2010 work; and drank many, many cups of coffee.

Here’s what we didn’t do: eat the food! I’m only sort of kidding: the hotel loves to come up with strange and interesting new ways to pair food items together but the breakfasts were delicious, as was my favorite snack of the week, a chocolate-covered marshmallow on a stick. When going through my film I found many pictures of the food so clearly it was fascinating to everyone who took turns using my camera!

Last year, the idea for us to start this blog came out of our small group meetings at conference, and I think the energy that we get from meeting in person and working together to brainstorm new ideas and how to improve on existing systems is palpable. We all seem to be running on adrenaline, and there is never enough time to catch up with co-workers and longtime friends about their children, their business and the books they have read and loved. Random House has always felt like a small, family company to me, and one of the reasons that it does is due to how many employees have made it their home for such long periods of time. I celebrated my 10 year RH anniversary this year and I felt very emotional talking to co-workers about the book business over that time: who is no longer with us, who is still here, how technology has changed the way we work, and what became of the books we buzzed about at conferences gone by. What resonated with me the most is what we heard in speech after speech this year, that while times and the technology we use to reach new and existing readers has changed quite dramatically, what is most important about what we do will always remain the same: we bring amazing content to readers and support our authors and books every way that we can.

Here is a picture of most of our group (I didn’t want to travel with my good camera so the picture quality isn’t great).  You will see more about each of us in the coming months as we run more “Get to Know Us” posts. And we are also thrilled to share that we have some big plans in the works for our one year anniversary in May, including retrospective posts, new features, and a little “sprucing up”! We are also now on Twitter, so please join us there (@RAoReading) for more book and author conversation!

back row, left to right: Sarah W., Nic, Dandy, Sarah N. and Brenda; front row, left to right: Lillian, Kate, Bobbie, Erin and Tim

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Angela K Sherrill permalink
    March 11, 2011 9:42 am

    I love this line. It sums up what makes RH so lovable:

    “we bring amazing content to readers and support our authors and books every way that we can.”

    Amazing content, supportive staff. “Hear, Hear,” I say.

  2. Deanna permalink
    March 11, 2011 12:35 pm

    And congrats to Erin on her rep of the year award!!!

  3. March 11, 2011 1:46 pm

    Oh, the food. Why did I keep eating it? It was horrible this year, I’m sorry.

  4. Deanna permalink
    March 11, 2011 1:50 pm

    The pic at the top (I think I might have taken that one) was the best meal because there were a ton of veggie choices and it was the first night. After the 3rd day of the same salad (and clearly it had only been made once and recycled) I couldn’t even look at it.

  5. March 11, 2011 2:27 pm

    Thanks for letting us in on the people behind your great books.

  6. March 14, 2011 11:36 am

    Glad you had such a good conference, Lillian. Looking forward to talking to you about new authors and great books. Also hope to hear your ideas about helping a small business like mine to grow.

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