Friday, as I was driving on my way to pick up my son from school, my business phone rang. I’d been expecting some call-backs regarding printing quotes, so I knew I needed to answer this and not let it go to voice mail.
I pulled over and checked the time to avoid those embarrassing greetings when you say “Good afternoon” and it’s really morning and then the caller wonders why you don’t know what time it is. It was still morning. Barely.
Hitting “send” to answer the call, I said in my most professional voice, “Good morning, Yaldah Publishing.”
Long pause. Usually not a good sign.
“Er… yes… Is this the corporate offices for Yaldah Publishing?” asked a male voice with a distinctive Southern accent.
I looked around my van, one toddler keeping himself amused in his carseat behind me. Corporate offices? I guess, technically, this is my satellite office.
“Yes, it is,” I said confidently. “How may I help you?” I hoped my toddler wouldn’t throw his toy on the floor and start a tantrum while I was on the phone or my corporate cover would be blown.
He introduced himself. Turns out he was making inquiries on behalf of PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association, about how small presses handle delinquent accounts.
I was happy to report that I’ve not (yet) had to deal with delinquent accounts. I told him that Yaldah only extends credit to independent bookstores at this time, and because we make an effort to know bookstore owners personally, if there’s ever a problem, we simply call them up and ask about it. So far, we’ve not had any problems with being paid on time.
He seemed pleased to hear that knowing independent bookstore owners made a difference. In truth, they are one of our biggest assets (aside from our authors, of course).
One bookstore owner in particular not only makes a point of ordering directly through Yaldah so that we don’t have to give up the wholesaler discount, but knows her customers well enough that she will recommend our books to customers she knows will likely enjoy them, as well as to her friends and colleagues.
We ended the conversation and I pulled back out onto the road to continue on to the school, just my toddler, my corporate office, and me.