Judith Rosen, writing in this morning’s Publishers Weekly, looks at the changing role of sales representatives at large publishing houses and smaller independent presses, asking the question, ‘Can Sales Reps Survive?’ There is a notable mention of independent sales rep, Lise Solomon, who helped the sales push for Pulitizer Prize-winning book, Tinkers, by Paul Harding, published by Bellevue Literary Press. This is an excellent piece well worth checking out.
Still, the key to the rep business may no longer be synonymous with the key to the car. Independent reps continue to call on as many stores in their territory as possible, but they also tweet, blog, e-mail, Constant Contact, and GoToMeeting, as well as phone, to stay in touch with their accounts. “If there’s a rep who can call on an account in person, it usually benefits the account,” says Kurtis Lowe, head of group for Book Travelers West, who until last year was the only rep traveling to Alaska. Now he uses what he calls “a hybridization of personalization and electronic contact.”