How does the publisher reach this market with commission reps?
Several commission rep groups or individual reps work in each of these territorities. Publishers hire a rep or selling group to sell for them exclusively in each territory. Border states like West Virginia may swing from one territory to another.
Special circumstances may require a different territorial structure, but, by and large, these traditional territorial boundaries are observed. A publisher who secures coverage nationwide will find that he has five or six groups with a total of twenty-five to thirty reps in the field, each calling on from 50 to 150 accounts. Depending on geography, title and market mix, frequency of calls required, and other such considerations, a single rep may sell selected accounts for a group or cover a whole territory by himself.
How does the publisher recruit a network of independent reps?
One way to go about recruitment is to start in your own city or region. Consult local booksellers and other publishers and seek to interview and hire a suitable sales group for your home territory first. Frequently, that group or rep can then recommend reps in other territories for you to contact. A quite complete listing of independent reps appears in LITERARY MARKET PLACE (LMP) under the heading “U. S. Book Distributors & Sales Representatives”, (R.R. Bowker Co., New Providence, NJ 07974). The current edition should be available in your public library. The NAIPR Membership Directory for the current year is available, free of charge.
Regional booktrade exhibits or the national BookExpo America meeting are events at which reps may approach you or can be contacted and enlisted. A classified ad in Publishers Weekly, American Bookseller, or the ABA ‘s Bookselling This Week could also produce inquiries.