Today, we are excited to share with you the fifth in our series of posts highlighting members of the Barefoot Books team. Sarah Spencer, our Global Sales Director, gets to spend each day talking with people who love books, and particularly children’s books. Isn’t she lucky! Read on to learn more about her work at Barefoot Books!
Q: When you speak to bookstores and other trade accounts, what’s the first thing you say? And the last thing you say?
A: This depends on the situation. If they’re calling us and are interested in placing an order for the first time or needing help with a special project they have, I first and foremost thank them for thinking of Barefoot. For potential new accounts, I ask if they’re familiar with our story and our list. If they’re not, I share our story and introduce the different sections of our list, highlighting the bestselling titles in each. I then ask what it is they’re looking for, what type of shop they have, what sort of customers do they serve…what’s the need that Barefoot can fulfill for them? This goes for current accounts as well. Always ask for and listen to what the needs of the customer are and try to make it work. Listening is the biggest and most important part of selling. I always close the conversation by thanking them again for thinking of Barefoot.
Q: What’s the best part about being the Global Sales Director at Barefoot Books?
A: There are several parts! First, the selling part is fairly easy because our books are beautiful and otherwise of a high quality content-wise. Now that I have a son and am perusing bookstores for titles to add to his library, I’m all the more aware of the strength of our list from the types of stories to the style of illustration. I’m both honored and proud to sell Barefoot. Next, encountering a fascinating array of people makes this a great job. Working with reps, distributors and directly with accounts – be they retailers, literacy organizations or other publishers (to whom we license foreign language rights) – is amazingly rewarding. The conversations are always interesting and I tend to learn something new with each one. Finally, the travel. I love attending the trade shows, particularly abroad in Bologna, Italy (Children’s Book Fair) and London (London Book Fair) but NYC (BEA and the gift shows) is always a good time too. There’s nothing like having one-on-one time with the customers.
Q: We know you have an adorable one-year-old son, Hugh. What’s his best Barefoot Books story?
A: Currently, it’s Who’s in the Farmyard (Hugh loves the ‘cockle-doodle-doo’) but he’s also captivated by the Bear series. He enjoys Secret Seahorse and One Moose, Twenty Mice as well. When we’re winding down for the night, it’s I Took the Moon for a Walk and, for a time before Hugh discovered he could tear pages, The Boy Who Grew Flowers (which makes my husband cry every time he gets to the end!).
Q: What are storytimes like in your family?
A: They usually take place when we’re trying to get Hugh ready for a nap or bedtime at night. Sometimes we manage to all read together in the morning in bed too. Hugh loves books already (he’s a bibliophile just like me ) and is very adept at turning the pages.
Q: Could you describe in three words what your first year of motherhood has been like?
A: An adventure that was both exciting and exhausting.
Q: If you were to travel back in time to when you were ten years old, what advice would you give yourself?
A: Stay young, be playful and live your imagination as much as possible.
Q: If your life was a song, what would the title be?
A: This is a hard one! May I steal from the Grateful Dead? “What a long, strange trip it’s been…and continues to be”
Q: Do you have any suggestions for good beach reads?
A: For me, mysteries are the best beach reads. I tend towards the English writers for this genre: Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie and PD James.
Q: What ethnic food do you most enjoy, and why?
A: I like everything! Top of the list are Indian, Thai, Greek, Italian. Anything that’s flavorful, savory and a little spicy from time to time. That’s how I like my chocolate too, by the way: dark and spicy! One must always finish off a meal with a little chocolate.
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