Thursday, November 30, 2006

Chronicle: ELNO Winter Edition; The Breathless Season

Folks, I'm still without a home computer, and to put the last topic first, it's begun to be a bit crazy around the bookstore. In addition to making schedules around everyone's vacation wishes and trading Secret Santas for the holiday party, we're working on beautiful new windows and display, a roster of staff recommendations, and other things to make the season bright. Yours truly is also scrambling to get the events schedule set in stone for the first few months of the new year and hoping against hope that our new website will be up soon, but those are my own struggles.

Suffice to say, it's darned difficult to find a moment to blog. But will you be surprised if I admit that I love it? Aside from that whole magic-and-mystery thing, the Christmas season is a great one to work in retail -- at least in a bookstore, where you don't have to feel bad about what you're selling and the customers tend to be great. Folks are excited to buy, so every effort seems instantly rewarded; the energy and atmosphere are electrtic; and there's some extra good will floating around that makes it a joy to be in a job that involves talking to people. I'll probably put in an extra shift or two at my alma mater Three Lives, just because it's the most magical place of all. But there's certainly plenty to be excited about around here, as we get this beautiful store into fighting trim for the highlight of the sales year.

HOWEVER, I do need to spend a minute or two to report on, yes, the third quarterly Emerging Leaders Night Out, which came off with great success last night at Under the Volcano in midtown Manhattan. (I was just glad to get the chance to walk -- quickly -- past the Macy's Christmas windows, since I'm almost never in the neighborhood.) Festivities kicked off around 7:30, and by about 8:30 the place wass wall-to-wall with publicists, editors, agents, booksellers, and everyone in between. Steve, Amanda and I got there a bit early and put up some posters advertising the Small Press Book Fair this weekend, thanks to the good offices of Anne Garrett of the James Fitzgerald Agency and her boss, who supplied the promos. I felt a bit more laid-back about this event than I have before (maybe because Steve did all the hard work in keeping track of RSVP's this time -- you rock, Steve!), so I didn't meet as many new folks as I have at the previous two ELNO's. Still, I was happy to see familiar faces, and lots and lots of new one.

Of course I forgot both my camera and the guest book, so there's no way to prove to you how cool it was (anyone see anything on GalleyCat, let me know). But I think it's clear that this project is gaining steam, and will continue to get better quarter by quarter. Thanks so much to everyone who came -- see you in February!