I'm here in St. Paul enjoying being immersed in a totally new experience for me: textbook publishing. It's completely different than the trade and reference publishing I have always been involved in. It can take up to two years to edit and produce a book. Reps actually go to schools and colleges and meet with potential buyers one on one.
Yesterday was a long but interesting day. In the morning we spent two hours per book learning about the newest textbooks from EMC. Discussion focused on the unique features of the books as opposed to the competing books, and on strategies for selling these books. The reps are all very experienced, enthusiastic, and clever in figuring out ways to sell the books.
After a fantastic Italian buffet in the hotel atrium, it was time for JIST to introduce itself to the reps. Unfortunately, weather and other issues delayed several of our presenters and sales reps, so we had to wing it. I was in charge of advancing the PowerPoints for our presentation to the college reps. Thank goodness our marketing VP arrived just before the presentation started, or I would have had to speak with no preparation about books I've never read!
After a full day of presentations, they loaded about 150 of us on buses (the reps plus the entire EMC/Paradigm Minnesota staff) and took us to the riverfront, where we caught a dinner cruise down the Mississippi. The food as fabulous, the weather finally cleared up, and we enjoyed getting to know our new colleagues and exploring ways we can all work together in the future.