Why am I called the Booklady?
I have been writing since I was very young. When I was a pre-teen, I wrote a letter about the nature of loving others to a radio station. They put it to music and played it on a popular night show. I was surprised about that, but as I wrote more letters as a teenager, I began to realize that I just knew editors would publish my letters. I had letters published in Tigerbeat and TIME. Famous people like Milton Friedman sent me rejection letters, and those of you who write know that famous people rarely ever write you back: They just send a rejection form letter! So, even as a teen, I had a gift for writing and getting attention. Later on, in my twenties, I published Op-ed articles for local newspapers and co-wrote articles with my spouse about toxic waste and nuclear waste in weeklies.
I ended up working in a library and later in bookstores and eventually became a bookstore manager for Waldenbooks. There I had mulitple bookstores, across the country and ended up manager of the year for the Northeast region, doubling the sales of my store in Saugus, Massachusetts. What made me so successful was great merchandising, beautiful and smart displays, sharp and attentive staffs, and my claim to fame was holding major events in every store--other than autographings. My stores were community destinations.
I became Region One's Regional Merchandiser, and when Waldenbooks down-sized, I moved to Texas to become a bookstore manager near Fort Hood. I went on to manage the largest bookstore of its time, the Brentano's in Houston. That was a Class A store competing with B & N's iconic Bookstop and the jetset's Brazos Bookstore. Eventually, with the Brentano's brand on its way out and Waldenbooks acquiring the renowned Borders Books of Ann Arbor, I became the Community Relations Coordinator for Borders Books & Music of West Houston.
I was the bookstore spokesperson during the turbulent times of Satanic Verses and American Psycho and regularly defended free speech and freedom from censorship during protests over the NRA Wayne Lapierre's appearances at autographings. I hosted autographings with many celebrities and sold books on the road for a host of rational emotive therapists such as Dr. David Burns and Joan Borysenko.
I have worked and volunteered at newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations in my quest to learn more aspects of media and marketing. Recently, I even worked for Sprint as a cellular phone tech support agent, in order to learn more about the new technology. Yes, folks, it's all going to be on your phone and in your hands soon, even books!
I've helped many authors edit and plan their books, created marketing and promotions plans for them, and have written many testimonals for books. I have sponsored many cooperative events with authors and have created websites that facilitate book sales and give credibility to lesser known authors with a good product.
I currently teach Composition I and Composition II at Redlands Community College. I also teach How to get Published & Market Your Book at CVTech in El Reno, OK, and I teach Creative Writing at El Reno Carnegie Library.
I still write, edit books, make websites, help people get published, and teach writing, marketing, and motivational workshops. I have always said, "You can take the lady out of the bookstore, but you can't take the bookstore out of the lady!" The Booklady, that is!
I have been in "The Book Biz" a long time. Just so you have an idea where I started and where I've ended up, here's some of my writing and book history":
*Op Ed writing for various newspapers in Connecticut and also did freelance research and investigative reporting on diverse subjects as government involvement in the arts, nuclear power plants, & toxic waste
*Classes and workshops in “How To Get Published”, “Marketing on A Shoestring”, “The Secrets Behind The Secret”, “How to Create and Complete An Event” & “Leading a Meaningful Life”
*Private book editing and publicity
*Article writing for local mags like the Indigo Sun
*Columnist for the Houston Tribune
*Blog columnist for the Houston Chronicle http://commons.chron.com/booklady
*Interviewed on television numerous times, mainly for controversial book releases like American Psycho and Satanic Verses
*Started by retail experience with Waldenbooks in Oklahoma City in 1986 and was transferred to New England to manage two failing stores, which I turned around.
Store Manager (1987 to 1992): Waldenbooks Stores in Saugus, Mass. (near Boston), Methuen, Mass. (near Boston), Killeen, Texas (near Fort Hood), and Houston, Texas (Brentano’s).
The largest store was #5060 in Houston, TX, 8,000 square feet with a volume of $1.4 million, then the largest bookstore in the Waldenbooks chain, considered unique at that time for its specialty in-store events and coffee served! The Methuen store was 6,000 square feet with a volume of $1.2 million.
Saugus was a 2,000 square foot store that was failing until I came and turned it into a million dollar store, for which I received the Manager of the Year award at Waldenbooks, at a time when they had about 1600 stores.
• Manager of the Year in 1988 for Waldenbooks Region One, then promoted to Regional Merchandiser (Buyer) for the New England/New York City /Northern New Jersey area
• Increased store sales in every store by significant amounts. Top percentile was 148% to LY/plan in Saugus, Mass. (125% in Killeen, TX)
• Instituted regular events in all stores so successfully that many of the ideas were adopted by the Bassett Bookshop Events Manual. (Bassett was the original version of Borders Books & Music, before the Borders name was purchased.)
• Conducted workshops on in-store events, institutional sales, book fairs, marketing on a shoestring, & display set-ups at regional managers’ meetings
• Provided in-put at the national level for same, especially re: in-store events (in close contact with the company VPs)
• Advised managers company-wide re: book fairs & how to increase institutional sales
• Received numerous customer service awards. Especially known for exceptional follow-through with difficult orders.
• In Top Ten of institutional/bookfair sales for Waldenbooks company.
• Received awards & prizes for Preferred Reader Discount Card sales.
• Maintained a stable, loyal staff at Brentano’s and retrained unmotivated Waldenbooks employees into loyal, motivated customer service representatives in Saugus & Methuen.
• Ran the only bookstore in Houston with live music, parties, and community events, which all Borders and Barnes & Nobles nationwide now copy.
• Maintained (& still maintain) close community ties with internationally known theatres, museums, and other arts organizations.
• Maintained close contact with all forms of the media (TV, radio, newspapers)
• Kept budgets for special orders, other merchandising, & hours
• Supervised and trained staff
• Instituted weekly audit procedures to improve audit compliance
Other Areas of Expertise
• Public speaking on the publishing industry as well as the books & music industry, “How To Get Published”, “How To Market Your Book”, “Guerilla Marketing”, etc.
• Video production at little or no cost
• Public Service Announcements for radio: writing & creating them (free advertising!)
• Have written literary, art, and psychotherapy & communications articles for various magazines and newspapers in the Houston area (mainly) and the Northeast
Celebrities with whom I have worked
•President Jimmy Carter •Newsman David Brinkley •Historian Hedrick Smith •Astronaut
Buzz Aldrin •Rational Emotive Therapist Dr. David Burns •Fiction writer John Grisham
•Comedian Steve Allen •"Romancing the Stone"'s Catherine Lanigan •Baseball star Mickey
Mantle and sons •Mind Body Spirit author Joan Borysenko •Embraced By the Light author
Betty Eadie •Spiritual author John Bradshaw •Relationships author John Gray •TV host
Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo) •Power of Prayer researcher Dr. Larry Dossey
Contact Andrea Foster by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org . Leave a message by phone at 713.301.9843 or 405.368.5047.