Name: Abby Fennewald
Employer: W.W. Norton
Contact info: email@example.com, cell: (202) 597-0406
States in your territory:Maryland, DC, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana (So, 12 total – yes, I count DC as a state.)
Number of years as a rep: Zero! I’m 2 months in!
Best part about being a rep: Getting to come visit so many great stores! It’s been so fun to have a reason to come see so many great stores that I had always wanted to visit, and discover new stores I didn’t know about.
What were you doing before you became a rep?I was a bookseller. I was an events manager at Politics & Prose in DC and then Marketing and Events Director at BookPeople in Austin, TX.
Do you see Edelweiss reviews from booksellers? Most of them! If I go looking they’re of course in there, and I get some notifications when you submit them to the publisher. But add me as a friend on there and I’ll see them for sure!
Do you follow any stores especially closely on social media? What are they doing right? I’ve started following many of the SIBA stores, and the best ones are the ones that allow the store’s personality to shine through, whether it’s by featuring books that other stores aren’t or having a particularly funny tone in their captions.
What can a bookseller do to make a sales call more effective? I’m very much still learning this – but for this season, what’s been most helpful is the stores who really help me get to know them – if a book doesn’t work for you, tell me why! That way I can make better suggestions the next time. I’m also really interested in getting to know booksellers in the store beyond owners and buyers, so introduce me to whoever is working the floor!
Most memorable thing that’s happened during a sales call?A buyer answered a phone call and ended up talking to another business in town about how a regular customer has been sending gifts via the bookstore to an employee at this other business. They’re all okay with the gifts, but the customer is confused about which of the employees he actually likes. Next time he calls, the bookstore is going to help him clear that up! (Now that’s customer service.)
What’s one thing you wish bookstores would do, or do more often? I’m a big fan of the pre-order campaigns stores have started. Beyond that, I think one of the most interesting things stores can do is highlight backlist titles – it’s refreshing to recall a book from years ago that has fallen off the radar. It can give a great flavor to the store.
Favorite book you’re currently promoting: Well, from the summer list my favorite is Patsy, by Nicole Dennis-Benn. From the fall, probably James Verini’s They Will Have to Die Now. It’s just incredible war reporting and a true must-read.
What three things should a bookstore have when they come to meet with you at your booth at the #SIBA19 Discovery Show?Three seems like a lot – I’m most interested in seeing press packets and talking about what kinds of books have been working well for you in the past few months, or sections you’d like to grow and work on. And, if I haven’t been to your store, show me some photos!