There are many links in the chain that connects writers to reader, like the fact that all manufactured objects books must be sold by their makers, or their existence as the center of a profitable enterprise will be threatened with extinction. Thus after editing and printing them, publishers place their books in the hands of marketing and sales staffs which promote them and introduce them to bookstores and libraries. This memoir describes the life of a publisher’s representative, or “book rep,” one of a lively and rollicking bunch of sales people with an important mission: to sell booksellers on the value of the books whose publishers they represent.
In this jaunty story of her career in the book world, Werris describes her accidental journey from a temporary job at the famed Los Angeles Pickwick Bookshop into the male-dominated world of wholesale book selling where she found adventure and success, and many notable characters. Her life as a rep was peopled with her career comrades, the other book reps, as well as the buyers for bookstores and the authors she met and often assisted. Adding shape and meaning to this memoir are Wendy’s family and friends, whose influence and failings and support led to her sometimes lonely and somewhat raucous life style. All are portrayed with loving attention to the details and quirks that bring their characters to life.
A nice Jewish girl in a competitive man’s world needs all the help she can get, and her principal resources were her Brooklyn Jewish background and the comic view she inherited from her father, a successful comedy writer. Book lovers and other readers will find in this memoir a refreshing plunge into an unfamiliar aspect of the book business, as well as a succession of eccentric and sometimes famous characters. Acknowledgments, index, list of publishers.