This year I was the guest author for our sales rep to show around at the Great Lakes Booksellers Association Fall Trade Show. John Mesjak, who covers the Midwest for our distributor Publishers Group West, really knows his stuff. Believe me, it is quite reassuring for a publisher to witness their sales rep greeting (and being greeted by) booksellers by their first name. It just shows they’re doing their job. And when his job is selling our books, it’s a good thing.

Last year John had Nancy Pearl, the author of Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason. Those are some pretty big footprints to follow, but lucky for me John invited a different set of sellers this year.

Besides it being a free meal, and besides the fact that Lashish was one kick ass Middle Eastern restaurant, we all had a good time. Or, at least, I did. I enjoyed hearing about their stores. Some are just getting started, some have been around for a while. All love books and their business. And that is something I respect to no end—people who love their work.

Please meet my new Midwest bookselling friends…

McLean & Eakin, Booksellers, Petoskey, MI
Matt and Julie Norcross sat to my right. Jessilynn, their co-worker, was also with us. John couldn’t say enough about how gorgeous Petoskey is, and after hearing about their booming Summer business, I wanted to go out there for a Sand in My Bra beach party! Julie knew her travel lit and highly rec’d me getting a hold of the works of Jane Robinson. And I think I found the book she was talking about…Parrot Pie for Breakfast:An Anthology of Women Pioneers. Nice. I have to get out to Petoskey. Who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend relaxing in a resort town with a cool indie bookstore?

Books & Company, Dayton, OH
I don’t think Kathi believed me when I said I really wanted to see her store. I did. My friend Andy had told me about it last year. He was shocked I didn’t have it on my tour list then and I felt awful when I didn’t add them this year. So yes, Kathi, I really do want to come out to Dayton, believe it or not. But if you’re close to Dayton, you should go before I do. Those lucky ducks get to have an event with Lynne Truss of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves (Sat. November 20, 2004).They also have an event planned with Patricia Schultz’s. She’s the author of the best selling 1,000 Places to See Before You Die(Tues. October 26, 2004). The question is, which event will sell more books? I have to put my money on the travel book. For solidarity’s sake. (Can someone please grammar check this post in case Lynne finds it in a Google search? Thanks!)

A Woman’s Prerogative Bookstore, Ferndale, MI
These spunky women are all fired about their new bookmobile and for good reason. Amy and Jennifer sell books like crazy at the Michigan Womyn’s Festival every year. (And I was happy to hear that Sand in My Bra was a hot item at last year’s fest. Big thanks to Jennifer for giving me the tip on how to look for freighters that are seeking port to port passengers!

The Book Cellar, Chicago, IL
Wine and books. What a concept, why didn’t we think of that?! If Travelers’ Tales is reading this, we’ve got to get them a copy of Adventures in Wine. They would love it! Suzy, Monica, and Angela are all excited about their new store in Lincoln Square. The Book Cellar just opened this Spring! And look at that…a quick look at their travel section shows that they’ve got Hyenas Laughed at Me and Now I Know Why right up front! Cool!

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