PR, Acquisitions and Covering the Miles...
The Annual Meeting of the Allied Social Science Associations was held in January 2006 in Boston. Senior Editor Juliet Lee shares her thoughts and experiences on the trip.
The highest turnout of browsers occurred on the first day, with more than ten book copies sold. The quietest day was the third and last day of the conference.
Most titles on international economics and quantitative finance were of interest to our booth visitors. International Economics: Global Markets and Competition (2nd Edition) and Economics with Calculus were especially popular.
The happiest of all visitors to the booth were of course our authors, who were participating, interviewing and/or presenting at the conference. Many authors such as Prof Michael Lovell, Prof Anastasios Malliaris and Prof Gerard Adams were all smiles and exhibited warmth reminiscent of Victorian noble gentlemen--they hold your hand and thank you profusely for the services rendered. Others such as Dr. Michael Ferrantino and Dr. Marcelo Bianconi were just too eager--visiting the booth more than once--to show off to their friends or senior associates what World Scientific has done for their respective books. Still others such as Prof George Kaufman and Dr. Gifford Fong expressed a desire to see higher sales, even as they foresee a longer-term collaboration in the future.
A number of prospective authors drawn to our booth--in part because they had been invited to publish with us in the past but have yet to commit themselves--took time to check us out. It was rewarding discussing with Prof K. C. Fung (University of California, Santa Cruz), Prof James Bergin (Queen's University, Canada) and Prof William Hsiao (Harvard University) on possible projects in the pipeline.
Visiting (prospective) authors outside of the conference took more guts than I thought I possess. Just when I learned which subway direction to go, differentiating between "inbound" from "outbound", I faced "downtown" and "uptown" in another subway, not to mention that there are express and non-express trains heading toward the same direction on the same track! It was a miracle that I had not landed in a wrong train. It didn't help that a couple of these meetings were unscheduled, making me an unsolicited visitor. Prof Lee Branstetter was really busy working at his laptop in his Columbia University office to prepare for a trip the following day when I knocked on his door. So was Prof N. Venkatraman at his Boston University office. Both were kind enough, though, to grant me an, albeit short, audience.
The virtual world of connectivity also becomes disconcerting when I realise that a professor fully affiliated to Columbia University is hardly at her office and that her PA is a virtual one based somewhere else as well...
In retrospect, as cliché as it might sound, the axiom "no venture, no gain" holds true. We ventured and I believe, we will gain (the vagaries of the subway system notwithstanding), even as some of the authors have responded positively with new project proposals submitted to us. One such response made my day--when Prof Venkatraman, mentioned by Thomson ISI as one of the most highly cited names in IT strategy, wrote back to discuss a possible "nice project worthy to be pursued" in a month's time.