I have spent my whole working life with books. I started out in Blackwell’s flagship store in Oxford, bookselling in the Politics, Economics, Sciences and Fiction departments and ended up as senior bookseller in the Literature Department, responsible for buying, sales and the management of four staff. At the time, Literature was a key part of the ground floor and I was expected not only to grow sales but to keep a second to none range of the most up-to-date writing and criticism in the field.
In March 2000, I started working for Yale Representation as Sales Representative for the South East. In those days, the role was very much based on the road and I would set out each day, armed with a diary and plenty of order forms. Moving on 12 years, my territory has changed and I am currently representing Central London accounts, as well as Oxfordshire and parts of the Midlands. This means that I cover a diverse range of customers, from general bookshops to museums and multi-national retailers.
Over my period of employment, the role of the rep has evolved into what some could make a desk job but I find the best results are still served up by communicating in person with accounts, so in some ways not much has changed. I do however have more work to do for bookshops and galleries now. It isn’t just a case of selling but communicating with clients, giving recommendations and spotting opportunities too. It is a results job and it can be deeply satisfying to see books go on to be successful.