Productivity

We’ve evolved.

When I started Books & Whatnot in 2014, my focus was to help booksellers with marketing tips and tricks. Free tips and tricks. I never wanted to ask booksellers to pay for the content. And I’m not very good at crossing the wide gap between marketing and sales, so instead of figuring out how to monetize, I took another job at my local NPR station, KMUW, to keep this website going.

Fast forward to 2021, and that job has grown into director of marketing and digital content, podcast creator, producer, app wrangler, and more. I’ve been interviewing authors for the Marginalia podcast since 2016. And just yesterday we launched another podcast which features a conversation between those who provide book coverage for the station. It’s called Books & Whatnot. Yep. You read that right. It made sense to give them the name.

I’ve heard from several of you that you continue to use this site as a tool for your marketing plan. That’s why, although I do not have the time to create new content, and although I no longer send the email newsletter, I continue to pay the monthly fees to keep this website up and running. Because I still want to help.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you all a heads-up. If you see Books & Whatnot post on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, it’s still me. But with a different focus.

Say As I Do: Olga Tokarczuk

Say As I Do: Olga Tokarczuk

Today the postponed 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Olga Tokarczuk “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life.

I spoke with Tokarczuk a year ago about her book, Flights, for KMUW’s Marginalia podcast. I always ask authors how to pronounce their names. Here’s what she told me:

 

Say As I Do: J. Ryan Stradal

Say As I Do: J. Ryan Stradal

I recently spoke with J. Ryan Stradal about his new book–The Lager Queen of Minnesota–for KMUW’s Marginalia podcast. I asked J. Ryan how to pronounce his name. Fortunately, he recently asked his dad the same question.

Here he is:

 

Review (Plus): ‘Bikes for Sale’

America’s Review:

I often laugh when I tell people how my best friend and I met–we were arch enemies who later discovered we were destined for friendship all along. Friendships can be difficult, especially if one has been hurt or rejected at some point in their life. Friendships require revealing one’s self beyond outward appearances, which can be difficult for students, especially if they already suffer from past judgments.

That’s why I was excited to find Bikes for Sale by Carter Higgins, which is perfect for classroom introduction. Illustrated in bright colors are Maurice and Lotta. We meet them individually and learn that they love to ride their bikes–one selling lemonade and one sticks. Each has a separate agenda to fulfill every day, each one interacting with the world within the same circle as the other one, but never encountering each other until one fateful day when their bikes, and worlds, collide.

The book is perfect for my classroom because it perfectly describes my classroom: a room full of Maurices and Lottas, each living their own life without knowing the other exists. Every semester there is a new group of students for my rotation in the classroom and we all stare at each other with our own apprehensions and mysteries. Each student brings a story to my room and each student believes their story to be the most important. It isn’t until we start doing group work and discussion where they have to divulge what lies in their soul. Often times it is much more prodding than they want to occur.

In the classroom:

I’m excited to bring Bikes for Sale in to my classroom for various reasons. It will allow an easy conversation to occur about our individual lives and what we bring to the classroom. Maurice and Lotta will allow me to discuss their clothing choices, how they have named their bikes and the city in which they live. Maurice and Lotta are also cute animals, and who can resist a story about cute animals? I can group those with similar interests and hope they will find friends. I can do all of these without doing much more than wandering around the classroom and eavesdropping on the conversations. As a teacher it is imperative to work on social skills in the classroom regardless of the age of students. Highlighting these individual desires and collaborating with peers helps form friendships and a sense of self within them. I’m excited to see how the class emerges from this cute story of friendship.


Bikes for Sale by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Zachariah OHora (Chronicle Books | 9781452159324 | April 2, 2019)

Say As I Do: Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

Say As I Do: Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

I recently spoke with Brad Meltzer about his new book with co-author Josh Mensch–The First Conspiracy–for KMUW’s Marginalia podcast. I asked Brad how to pronounce his name and the name of his co-author.

Here he is: