Out of Office

Wendy Lawton

Blogger: Wendy Lawton

As you read this on Tuesday I’m on an airplane winging my way to ICRS– the International Christian Retail Show in Cincinnati.

I’m guessing that when clients call or email and get their agent’s out of office message it must be frustrating. We often hear things like, “Goodness, you are gone so much. Are you ever in your office?” Let me share a little bit about why it’s good for us to put up our out-of-office messages.

When we are out of the office we are networking in ways that ultimately help all of our clients. You may have caught the fun Facebook messages from Janet Grant and Robin Jones Gunn. We saw photos of them enjoying a high tea, working on the set of Robin’s upcoming Hallmark Christmas movie, Engaging Father Christmas, sneaking in as extras on the set or cuddling puppies used in the filming. Hard to call that work, right? Actually one of the reasons Janet has accompanied Robin both last year and this year is that the film industry is all about relationships. Visiting the set for twelve hour days gave Janet the opportunity to mention a number of other books that would make great movies. Now that she is friends with these two groups as well as the many trips we’ve taken down to Hollywood has solidified Books & Such as the place to find excellent inspirational material for film.

When we accompany our clients on tour we interact with the store owners, buyers and front liners, pitching books from many of our clients. We also spend time listening to them as our clients are interacting with their readers. We want to know what’s selling and what’s slow. What trends are they predicting for the future and what’s missing from the shelves that they wish they had? This information is valuable and we pass it on to our clients.

When we make a trek to a publisher with one of our clients the relationships and the information is for all of our clients. The editors who gather are looking forward to us pitching them. So we pitch and we listen.

When we have lunch with editors we are pitching projects, finding out what they need or simply solidifying relationships. Since Rachelle’s office is in Colorado Springs she is able to do this often and faithfully shares the information with the rest of us.

So as Cynthia Ruchti and I spend this week out of office at ICRS we ask for your prayers— for energy, for creativity, for a listening spirit and for sharp perception as we walk the aisles, meet with editors and publishers, and get a firm grip on what’s happening in the industry.