Back from Bouchercon, the World Mystery Conference, and so glad I went! It was a hectic couple days, and because of a book signing in Cleveland on Saturday, I had to leave early, but it was well worth the drive to Indianapolis for such a great conference.
My favorite parts? Well, I got to see a couple former editors (I’ve had so many, there are a lot of "formers" out there!) as well as my current publicist and publisher. Met with some old friends, made some new ones, spoke on a panel about mystery and romance and how they work together or against each other in books, and did a signing where I met a lot of really nice readers.
I also got to tour a book distribution warehouse.
OK, I know you’re going to say what a friend of mine said when I met her down in the lobby as I was on my way to the tour bus. "Why?" Well, I signed up for the tour of the Hatchett warehouse because I thought it would be interesting to see the process our books go through from printer to bookstore.
I wasn’t prepared to be so completely fascinated!
Now, I’ve never visited a distribution center of any kind before, so for all I know, they are all this efficient, organized, computerized and clean. But I’ll tell you what, the Hatchett warehouse (all 800,000 square feet of it) blew me away! From the moment each book comes into the warehouse until the moment it leaves, they know where that book is at all times. Their systems are mind-boggling and their capabilities were amazing.
Do book pickers need five copies of "Dead Man Talking" for an order? OK, as long as we’re speculating, let’s reword that.
Do book pickers need twenty-five copies of "Dead Man Talking" for an order? Then they scan their pick-up forms and a light goes on at the bin where the book is kept. Does a tow motor driver need to grab an entire pallet of my books? Then that driver can scans an order form, and a mumbo-jumbo magic radio control thingy in the floor of the building (don’t you love all that technical talk?) takes the tow motor to the exact spot where my books are stored.
Amazing. Truly. And one of the highlights of an all-around stellar conference.
Speaking of signings...I've got two this weekend. If you're in the area, stop in:
Saturday, 10/24 from 2-4 Borders Express, Midway Mall, Elyria, Ohio
Sunday, 10/25 starting at 2 Barnes & Noble, Chagrin Road, Woodmere, Ohio