I was going to be in New York this spring (recording Janet Evanovich’s "Finger Lickin' 15" for Macmillan and Patricia Briggs’ "Moon Called and Blood Bound" for Penguin), and thought it would be a great idea if my business partner Ali flew over too so that we could meet some of our US retailers.
Ali said that in principle it was a great idea, but we had to ‘justify the cost.’ These are words I hear a lot from my partner. You see, she’s convinced that my idea of marketing is to write our company name on a bunch of £50 pound notes and run down the street chucking them away with both hands. For some reason, she doesn’t let me anywhere near the checkbook.
But the download gods were with us – Virgin Atlantic had a seat sale and Ali had a discount voucher! Add to that the fact that New York hotels were virtually giving rooms away – we were set!
We crammed a lot of meetings into two days – hard work, but it was so great to put names to faces and to meet our contacts at IODA and emusic (great energy in those companies!). And I had my first trip to New Jersey, Stephanie Plum’s turf, when we popped in on Audible. Impressive setup they have there, with in-house studios, enormous open-plan offices and spectacular views. What a terrific group – we left fizzing with ideas!
Speaking of fizz: On Ali’s last night in town, we had a bit of supper at a tiny restaurant on Columbus. And of course we had to have a glass of champagne to celebrate our successful meetings. The champagne was poured into very pretty heavy glass goblets and at the last minute - with a great flourish - our waiter dropped in a gorgeous, fat strawberry. I didn’t know why Ali looked so unhappy. As it turns out, when it comes to business, my business partner may know how to pinch a penny ‘til it squeaks – but she can only drink champagne out of a proper champagne flute. Our adorable waiter was dumbfounded when Ali sweetly asked if he’d mind going and borrowing one from one of the other restaurants nearby. It’s a testament to her powers of persuasion that, like a sleepwalker, he walked out of the restaurant - and came back with a flute!
The next day, after a great lunch with Mary Beth Roche from Macmillan, we had a few hours to kill before Ali had to leave for the airport – so we decided to do the tourist thing on an open-topped bus. Trouble was, we were nowhere near an official stop. Not a problem. Ali jumped into the road, flagged down a passing tour bus and persuaded them to let us on - for free. You can see why she’s in charge of the money.
A really fun and useful trip! We agreed that there may not be an immediately tangible result, but it’s all about building relationships – and relationships are everything, both in life and in business. - Lorelei King
Happy 4th of July to all our stateside friends! We’d like to know:
What’s your favourite city for doing business?
And just out of curiosity...
Do you HAVE to drink champagne out of a flute?