I'm hanging out today in an Edmonton hotel preparing for fall sales conference next week. Sales reps literally get boxes filled with catalogue and information sheets on the books, along with manuscripts or excerpts, background information about the authors, reviews of previous books etc. It can all be a bit overwhelming. But one of my favourite ways to prepare and make notes on the new books is to listen to the editorial presentations on the audio CDs that my publishers provide - which is what I am doing this morning. The editors have lived with these books for months and their personal anecdotes and passions can go a long way towards helping us develop our key selling pitches. Plus, they are crucial for getting the reps enthusiastic about reading the books. I've always maintained this energy has to start right from the get-go; if the reps aren't excited by the books then we can't get the booksellers and librarians interested and in turn they won't pass the enthusiasm on to their consumers or patrons. So much about the book business is word of mouth.
We'll be previewing the fall season for you in a few weeks with our picks for must-reads, but in the meantime, I'll tease you with the covers of two highly anticipated Canadian novels, that I'm certainly looking forward to reading - The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews and The Origin of Species by Nino Ricci, both out in September. I'm posting the covers because I think they are both stunningly beautiful but also in honour of my colleague whose love of bird-watching has been badly hampered by the snow we've been travelling through in Alberta this week (sorry, geese and gulls don't count). We have seen some fairly large magpies however.