27 June 2010

New York City - Day 4 - The BEA

Wednesday the temperature soared to the mid nineties... humid too. Our group spent the morning trying to set up meetings with suitable distributors for our book. No bites. We were faced with the same response from everyone; you've only got one title, your too new, your too small, we don't understand your marketing, we don't get it...it was frustrating. I went outside to gain better cell reception and some sanity and tried connecting to a vendor from Toronto, the connection kept dying after about 30 seconds... I finally got a message through after about 12 attempts.

This frustration caused me to want a cigar, something I don't usually have until after a few drinks - but, I needed something to calm my nerves. I pulled out a cigar but had no light. I asked the closest person to me and they lit me up without hesitation.

I chatted with the fellow conference attendee that sparked my stoagie and found out that he was from New York and that we both had an interest in hockey. I asked him what he was doing at the conference and he explained that he was with Radom House in the digital marketing department. I was excited to hear this, after talking with so many people that didn't get what we were doing, I may have found the one person that may get it. He did. His name was Peter.

I believe Peter was genuinely excited about what we were doing to launch our book and after my cigar he offered to introduce me to a guy at Random House that would also get it and would also be the decision maker for their company, he described him as 'a guy that I sit next to at work'. We walked back to the private area where Random House strikes the big deals with retailers and authors and waited for his friend to arrive. We chatted while waiting and although he was generous with his time, I felt like Ray Kinsella telling Terrence Mann, "you've done enough, thank you for your time" in Field of Dreams (based on one of my favorite author's books). We chatted about hockey a little more until his friend arrived.

His friend was well dressed, Prada glasses and ready for business at the BEA, I was introduced to him and learned his name was Jeff. He opened by saying that he only had a few minutes before he was expected in a meeting but didn't seem rushed in any way and seemed genuinely interested in what I was pitching. Peter helped out with some of the details - I'm a helluva marketer, but a lousy sales guy. My excitement for the project may have resonated with Jeff, he noticed that and asked some very good questions about the project and the marketing - he seemed interested in helping me and even suggested a few companies to talk to.

While we were talking, my cell phone must have went off about 8 times, I tried not to let it show as I hit ignore over and over again - he made time for me, I'll be damned if don't reciprocate.... even at the expense of another meeting... which I was missing. He gave me quite a bit of time, then asked me to follow up with him by sending him a package, he presented me with his card, ...'President'.

I was taken aback, from Peter's buildup I was expecting perhaps a lead buyer, maybe a director but not the President. I'm glad Peter didn't tell me that in advance, I was out of my element and it was awkward enough without knowing that. Peter then took me to meet some contacts at Ingram and after spending an hour with me, we parted. I thanked him for the introductions and expressed how much I appreciated his time. He gave me his card, ...Vice President of Digital and Online Marketing. If I could have made a list of the 2 most perfect people to meet at this show, it would have been Jeff and Peter. Both were gracious with their time considering the fact that I'm a noob to their industry.

My luck didn't end there. Remember the fellow from Toronto that I was trying so hard to get a hold of on the phone? I bumped into him in the hall, amongst 10's of thousands of people - we had an impromptu meeting and he got it too. We were now getting somewhere, people began crawling out of the woodwork, now eager to meet with us and learn more about what we were doing. We finished the day at the expo on a high note.

We had some time to kill before dinner and my wife was out shopping at Macy's. I put on some shorts hand walked down the 15 blocks to the landmark NY store and found my wife, exhausted after an 8 hour day of shopping. I did a little shopping myself... but not much. We walked back to the hotel, checking out some of the shops along the way.

That night, we went out for a quick dinner in the theater district, as we had tickets to "A Behanding in Spokane" a broadway play featuring Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Anthony Mackie and Zoe Kazan. It was amazing, a very well written and executed dark comedy. After the show, we went to Rockefeller Plaza again, this time we went up 67 floors to the Rainbow Room and the Top of the Rock - the view of the city from there is spectacular. We took a handsome cab back to the hotel and followed up by having drinks in the hotel's lounge - $85 for 5 drinks... mind you, they were martinis.

It was only a day, but we packed in a weeks worth of activities. I love NY.

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