Winter Institute

Okay, you want the skinny on Winter Institute?  Here we go. This is my first time attending so this year is all I have to go on.  But I’ll give you my impressions so far.

How many people are here?

It’s small compared to other book/literary conventions: AWP–15,000, London–20,000, BEA—40,000, Frankfurt—286,000.  This is about 500 people and those people are mostly booksellers and big New York publishers.  There are very few smaller indie publishers.  Melville, Tin House, Coffee House, Graywolf and The Other Press are here, otherwise it’s mostly the big boys.

What are we doing here?

Building connections with bookstores and believe me, it’s been very helpful.  I have figured out what we can do to work more effectively with indie bookstores.  At least some things we can do better.  We need indie bookstores to love us, and there is a magic to creating that love, I’m learning the magic.

How are the accommodations?

The main conference is in the Omni which is a huge hotel with 510 guest rooms where many presidents have stayed.  It’s very fancy.  Unfortunately, only a portion of those rooms was available to this conference so a lot of people are drifting through the downtown hotels which means that I go to the Omni in the morning, attend meetings, come back to my downtown hotel and then go back there in the afternoon, coming back here by 6 pm.  I am fairly sure I’ll make it through the whole conference without having a drink in the bar, although, I had a salad yesterday with our author Ellen Meeropol.  Because the conference is at a hotel where a lot of people aren’t staying, you don’t really get the benefit of interacting as much as you could.  Next year, they promise that it will be in a city that is easier to get to and that we will all be at the same hotel.

Zeitgeist of the Winter Institute

Booksellers are king.  Everything here is about connecting with booksellers, booksellers networking with each other, learning how the book selling world works and that is great.  The big presses wine and dine the book sellers in the evening.  I like that, maybe next year I’ll take some booksellers that I love out to some fun places.

Fun at the Winter Institute?

This year,  I’m just chilling and getting work done.  I’m buckling down;  I’m learning a lot. Next year, I’ll see about fun. I know I’ll have fun in NY next month and in Minneapolis for AWP.

Published in: on February 10, 2015 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

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