So That Happened…Searching for Good CLit!


By Hope Madden


My company recently wrapped up its national sales meeting, which reminded me of the best story ever about our sales meeting and the world’s sweetest person.

I had the amazing good fortune to work for the nicest lady on earth for the first ten or so years of my career in publishing. People in the office refer to her as Mrs. Claus. She is the dearest, kindest person I think I’ve ever met. She’s also pleasantly naïve. Take, for instance, that time she put together her presentation for our national sales meeting.

It was a few years back, and she was planning to present her children’s literature list to our sales reps, explaining what they were selling and the best way to sell it. She’d already left for the meeting. She left me a stack of her printed power points to peruse and copyedit, as necessary. I was to send my hand written corrections to her with another colleague, who’d be flying out the next day.

Yes, it makes no sense at all to hand write changes on print outs of power points. She has since adapted to the electronic age.

Her slogan for the presentation was: How do you find good children’s literature? But, she couldn’t get that to fit properly in the power point, so she abbreviated.


Oh, my.

This was the theme of her presentation, to be given several times to several roomfuls of seasoned sales people, who, come to think of it, might actually perk up and start taking notes.

The slogan was followed by several bullet points for the balance of her speech:


  • What is good CLit?
  • Who is looking for good CLit?
  • How do you sell good CLit?

Obviously, I found a handful of changes to make to the presentation.

Indeed, I felt a bit of urgency about the changes. Unfortunately, the colleague who was to hand-deliver the changes just in time for my boss to update her speech had decided to take an earlier flight.

I tried calling my boss at the hotel. No answer.

She didn’t yet have a cell phone.

I was desperate. Panicked, even. I couldn’t let this dear, wonderful woman present this particular speech in public, in front of all her colleagues.

Luckily for us all, I flipped out in my office, drawing the attention of another editor who had not yet left for the sales meeting. Thank God! This particular editor was less naïve and, honestly, less good natured than my boss. She absolutely relished the idea of breaking the news to her. And, of course, thereby saving the day.


As I ran this blog past George, I admitted that I couldn’t quite find an ending.

He said it was OK, sometimes you just couldn’t find it.

I disagreed. How hard could it be? It just didn’t seem right to stop without finding it.

He seemed baffled by this idea and nodded off.


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