One ripped dress and lots of good advice

2 Jul

Remember a few weeks ago when the heel of my high-heeled shoe broke off while I was out dancing, bruising both my foot and my ego? Since then, i’ve recovered 100 percent, and my shoe has been repaired by a professional (I love those heels – they are good for every occassion – so I wasn’t giving up on them that easy). You’d think one wardrobe malfunction in two weeks is enough, but you’d be thinking wrong. Today the back of my dress got caught on the turnstiles in the lobby of my residence hall, obnoxiously tearing right up the back of my dress. It was an Ellen DeGeneres moment where I just pretended that I meant to get it caught and that I wasn’t fazed by it. What it really felt like was being a character right out of a humorous movie or book.

Speaking of books, the sales director at Random House spoke with us today and suggested an unusual assignment: next time i’m in a bookstore, follow the customers around; but the skill is in not looking like a stalker. This, apparently, is good research in learning “visual merchandising.” If the person stops and picks up a book, that means something about it caught their eye. If they put the book back down and walk away, that means something didn’t work for them. Practically every department in book publishing, from editorial to sales, promotion to marketing, spends a good chunk of their day trying to prevent the latter scenario from happening when a customer comes across their book.

We were also asked, “What was the last book you picked up and purchased, and why?” and “What was the last book you picked up but passed on purchasing, and why?” These are the types of things we’re learning in this program…think like a consumer. Unfortunately, with each nugget of information I learn, it becomes increasingly harder to separate myself from the mindset of the business of publishing (the process of getting the book on the bookstore shelf). I can no longer pick up my pleasure reads and turn off this insider knowledge,  but we were warned this would happen…

Another quirky tip I learned this week: books sell better whenever there is a cat involved. We were told this by a panel of editors who provided examples, so I believe them. No one really knows why, but all agreed it’s true. This is exciting for me since, as you may recall from my very first blog post, and the name of my blog, I have a thing for cats – gray cats. The books and magazines I’ve drawn up in my head over the years have all played on my gray cat theme, so if I ever followed through on one, the cat = success thing is super encouraging!


One Response to “One ripped dress and lots of good advice”

  1. Muzzie July 2, 2010 at 9:07 am #

    Wow, that is quirky!! I wonder why books sell better when there is a cat involved? Maybe it’s not for us to understand, but one thing is clear, your Gray Cat theme is here to stay! MEOW!

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