Pop-Up Book Fair Recap & An Anthology Update


A still from the video I shot at the Pop-Up Book Fair on Sunday, April 14th. My apologies for the somewhat poor quality — lighting was tricky.

On a particularly nice Sunday this rainy April, I had the chance to attend the Pop-Up Book Fair at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, local book publisher Curbside Splendor hosts this event with partners every few months or so, inviting other local book publishers to join in. The place is full of literary types (my people), table after table of locally-published lit, and there’s a bar — could there be a better combination?

I was able to connect with a lot of those who I had already interviewed for the Independent Press Anthology, and also met knew presses to add to our ever-growing project! As always, being around these individuals is inspiring, and not only from a writer’s perspective. These are true entrepreneurs pursuing their passion for good art and literature, and many of them are so dedicated that they continue to run their press as a second job, in their “spare time.” Every time I talk with a new press, I find more and more to admire about these individuals. And it is amazing how many more them are forming and growing every day.

Some of the presses I met for the first time, and am excited to learn more about, include: Criminal Class Press, Anobium, 7Vientos Press, Convulsive Editions and Burial Day Books.

Yes, it has officially been one year since I started doing all of these interviews. I can’t believe time has gone by so fast, but our project is still progressing — and growing even larger. I’m sure many of you have been wondering, “Whatever happened to that?” Here’s where we are now:

After a lot of careful thought, we’ve decided to create a local literary website, and possibly an ebook component that will be sold on the site. Since we have collected a number of video interviews, this would be the best way to share both the written and visual data we’ve collected. In addition to sharing the stories of independent presses, we will also share the stories of local independent booksellers and live lit series/events. This second portion of the project has not begun yet, but I hope to be headed out to interview and profile the individuals who help run these sometime this year. There will be many components to the site, including an event calendar for local literary events and possibly job postings. The plan is continuing to evolve — as is an official name! — but I will share these with you when I have them.

Until the website is up, I will continue to write and post updates here on my personal website. Stay tuned!

Video Premiere: Meet Gina Marotta, Your Chief Happiness Officer

At some point in all of our lives, we had jobs we didn’t love. Maybe it was working a concession stand in high school or waiting tables during college — it was okay, but not something we would want to do for the rest of our lives. But for some people, happiness and fun is missing from their current jobs, and they aren’t sure why.

My client, Gina Marotta, has a special talent: She helps both companies and individuals bring happiness, fun and passion back into the workplace. It is possible for all of us to enjoy what we do, and to wake up excited to go to work. And companies can help their employees feel that excitement and passion.

This video is an example of excellent teamwork. When we started, we knew what the message would be, but weren’t sure exactly how it would look. We brought in a third team member, Molly Rudberg-Leshnock of MRL Productions, and her new perspective brought in some freshness and focus. With Gina’s vision, Molly’s branding expertise, and my visual storytelling abilities, we created a video that reflects Gina’s message and passion.

Check out the video below, and visit Gina’s website! Also be sure to check out Molly at her website by clicking here. I feel so lucky to have met and worked with these inspiring women, and I’m sure you would enjoy working with them, too!

Who is Really in the Book Business?


Here are two customers who missed the memo — this is a still image from video I shot in June 2012, months after all Borders stores closed.

I wish I could say that I have many fond childhood memories of trips to the local independent bookstore. But the truth is that my dad used to take me to the local Barnes & Noble or Borders at least once a week in the summer, and I loved it. I’d spend hours browsing the aisles, trying to decide what to read next. Sometimes we’d go to both stores in one night. Back then I had no idea that these big chains were hurting local bookstores, nor did I understand that they were symbols of consumerism. Now that I’m an adult and a supporter of all things literary and independent, I get it — but I’m still saddened when I discover that both the Barnes & Noble and Borders I went to as a child have since closed.

Last week The Wall Street Journal reported that Barnes & Noble will be closing as many as a third of its stores in the next 10 years. The announcement once again had people talking: Is this the death of the book? Is this the end of the mainstream bookseller? The chief executive of Barnes & Noble’s retail group says it’s all part of the business evolving, and that the company will stick around.

As someone who is studying the independent publishing community, I have mixed feelings about this news from Barnes & Noble. I feel guilty for being a little sad about B&N’s need to downsize.

Just after this news broke last week, I watched an old favorite movie: You’ve Got Mail. (I spent the bulk of January at home sick, and I discovered that You’ve Got Mail plays several times a week on TV; it could not be avoided.) Watching the romantic comedy this year was more like a history lesson, a reminder of the ever-evolving publishing industry. Here is Kathleen Kelly, owner of the sweet, independent Shop Around the Corner, and Joe Fox, one of the owners of the big, bad, corporate Fox & Sons Books. Early on in the movie, the two are at a party, and Fox accurately guesses how much Kelly makes in sales each year. Kelly asks, “How did you know that?” and Fox replies “I’m in the book business.” Kelly looks taken aback and says, “I’m in the book business.”

Fast forward 14 years after the movie is released, and here we are. Today, it would likely be Fox’s store who is closing. Where would the picketers go with their signs and their chant of “One, two, three, four — We don’t want your superstore”? Perhaps outside of the Amazon headquarters? More likely they’d just write a lot of angry comments and blog posts online.

Maybe it’s karma. The big bookstores weren’t really in the book business, not like the independents. And so the “suits” like Joe Fox got what was coming to them. But still, part of me fears that this is a loss for all of us, and another win for online retailers. The enemy has simply changed from a physical one to a virtual one. And that enemy isn’t just around the corner — it’s a few clicks away!

As more of these stores disappear, my hope is that people turn back to the independents, back to the basics and the intimacy of a locally-owned shop. These small stores who survived the coming of mainstream retailers may be better equipped to handle the future, and unlike the stores we find in malls, they have a truly loyal customer base.

While I am working to share the stories of local independent publishers, my hope is to next share the stories of the booksellers. What are their next moves? How are they surviving? I hope to soon find out.

Marcy on the Web — Holiday Recap

I hope everyone had great holiday breaks! In case you weren’t online for the last few weeks (and rightfully so) here’s a recap of my holiday posts on Career Girl Network:

What are your highlights from the holidays? Keep checking back for more here on marcyfarrey.com — there are lots of great things to come in 2013!





Marcy on the Web — Weekly Recap

Here’s a look at my articles on Career Girl Network the week of December 3rd:

Build Your Reputation the Smart Way: Building a good reputation in the professional world is extremely important. If you want to be well-respected and viewed as an expert in your field, you need to put in some serious work. I single out one of the keys to building a good reputation.

Your Message: Keep it Short and Sweet: In a digital world, it’s even more important that you keep your message short and to the point. Here’s how to keep your focus and nail down the most important parts of your message.

Be Careful What You Share: We all know to be careful what we share on social media. We’ve heard the horror stories of people learning this lesson the hard way. But what about  what we say to our bosses, coworkers and clients on a daily basis? We have to be careful what we say in person, too. I explain why.

Single Career Girl: Be Proud of Your Career: I discuss one of my latest dating challenges — talking about my career. I explain why you shouldn’t “dumb it down” on any dates you go on. Be proud of your career, regardless of what stage it’s in.

Managing Your Office’s Holiday Activities: Are you in charge of creating holiday spirit in your office? Here’s a few ways to build morale and have a little fun.

Marcy on the Web — Weekly Recap

Here’s a look at my articles on Career Girl Network the week of November 26th:

 It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say it: If you seem to have trouble communicating with coworkers or those below you, you may benefit from this principle: It’s not what you say, but how you say it. This post reviews how to deliver constructive criticism.

Desired Job Skills for 2013: Why You Need Personal Branding: Some people roll their eyes when they hear about developing a personal brand. But as we enter 2013, it’s one of the most important skills for you to have when you’re job hunting. Start building your presence — online and off — before the new year.

What Every Employee Needs: What is the one thing every employee needs to ensure career success? They have to know they matter. That’s a pretty big statement, but it is possible, and I break it down.

Single Career Girl: Does Age Matter? This is one question I’ve been struggling with for a few months now. When it comes to dating, how big of an age gap can there be between two people? While I’ve been consistently told to date older in order to find more mature men, I’ve found many older men are just as immature. I look at the pros and cons of age differences in dating.

5 Ways to Manage Holiday Greeting Cards: Get your holiday cards out on time this year! Here’s a few ways you can go to make the process a little easier.


Marcy on the Web — Weekly Recap

This is a little late (I’ll blame the holidays), but here’s a look at my posts on Career Girl Network the week of November 19th:

Who Shouldn’t Be in Your Network: We’ve all met some of these people at networking events or at work. While we want to have a big, strong network, there are some people that just shouldn’t be in your inner circle. They are unreliable and in some ways, can hold you back. Watch for these people, and, while I encourage you to always be nice and polite, remember not to rely on them.

Surviving a Job You Don’t Love: If you’ve been there, you know how painful it is — going into work every day to a job you don’t love. How do you stay motivated, how do you keep your cool? It’s important if you want to exit your job gracefully, or at least with your sanity still in tact.

Don’t Fight Your Passion: You passion is your best asset — and you should use it in your career. Why some recruiters and hiring managers say it’s crucial to your success.

Eliminate Stress: Change Your Expectations: If you’ve been feeling a lot of work stress lately, especially surrounding a coworker or boss, the key could be changing your expectations. How I learned this at one of my jobs…

Show Gratitude, Not Favoritism: Why it’s important to be thankful for everyone — not just the people it’s easy to be thankful for. Show gratitude to more than your favorites.

Single Career Girl: Single for the Holidays: Single this holiday season? Great! Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a rough time to be “alone.” How you can enjoy the holiday season just as much as any person in a relationship.

Crafting the Video Holiday Greeting

Let’s be honest — sending out individual greeting cards all on your own can be a hassle. I always run out of steam after card number five, and most of my cards end up going out a few days late. Luckily, there are a lot of great alternatives now to paper cards, but one option you can use instead of (or in addition to) paper cards is the video greeting.

If you’re looking for a creative way to reach family, friends, connections, clients and customers during the holiday, a video greeting can be a great option. All you have to do is post it to the web or email it out in a newsletter. And while it may not seem as personal, if you put a lot of yourself or your company into the video, you’ll be sure to get a few laughs or smiles. Good videos get attention — and it will keep your audience talking. Think of it as an opportunity to tell the story of your past year, or share what is coming in the new year.

So what kinds of video greetings can you create? Here’s a few suggestions and examples:

Family Holiday Greeting — You can send out your own family greeting on video. You can either do a slideshow of still images, or actually shoot a holiday-themed video, complete with script. I found this great example from a company called Moving Portraits in San Francisco: http://vimeo.com/53998653. You can easily find a local company that does this.

Personal Holiday Greeting — A lot of individuals building a personal brand or blog like to send these out, but you can also send one out for fun. Again, you can use stills or shoot a video yourself. Let people know what you’ve been up to, and thank them for being a friend, customer, reader, etc.

Small Business/Non-Profit/Corporate Greeting — For businesses and organizations, you can use video greetings in a few ways:

  • To say happy holidays to your employees or customers
  • To say thank you to customers you’ve worked with
  • To greet potential new customers, and boost those end-of-year sales numbers
  • To ask for an end-of-year donation, if you’re a non-profit
  • To give your employees/coworkers a laugh at the holiday party

For the video, you can get as technical or involved as you want — you use still images collected throughout the year, or shoot a video with your whole office. Here’s a few things you can try in a video:

  • Sing a song
  • Write a brief sketch
  • Give a communal greeting from the lobby
  • Have individuals speak their message or give their appeal

And finally, here are a few real life examples. These are a few good holiday greetings from businesses and a nonprofit:




You have a lot of great options when it comes to creating a holiday video, and if you’re trying to do it yourself, finding templates or images online is fairly easy. You can create simple slideshows without doing a whole video shoot. Here’s one option: http://animoto.com.

If you do want to shoot a video and don’t have the proper equipment, look for small production companies or freelance videographers in your area. I shot a corporate holiday greeting last year, and am hoping to take on new clients this holiday season — particularly nonprofits and small businesses/entrepreneurs. If you’re interested in shooting a video and are in the Chicago area, send me an e-mail, and I can send you some samples of my work. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about holiday video greetings.

Happy Holidays!

Single in the Suburbs: Must Love Books

It has been awhile since I last updated my Single in the Suburbs series, but I assure you it’s because I’ve been busy networking, meeting new friends, and attending plenty of singles events and mixers. And I’ve learned one thing during this time: the next guy I date must love books.

A couple of months ago, I was set up on a blind date. I figured I might as well give it a shot. Besides, what else would I be doing? Likely sitting at home and watching a marathon of Say Yes to the Dress. So, I put on one of my best date outfits and headed to the city.

Within the first hour of the date, my love for writing and books had come up as a topic of conversation. My date’s response was, admittedly, disappointing: “I haven’t read a book since college,” he said.

Having just completed a graduate degree in writing, the idea of not having read a single book in four to six years was completely foreign to me. How would one spend their free time, how would one pass the hours on a airplane, on a train? In that moment, I realized my date and I likely had little to nothing in common. My life seems to revolve around and be consumed with stories, and here was a man who didn’t really make time for it. Sure, he probably watched movies and received stories in other ways, but clearly the passion for it just wasn’t there. How would he understand how I chose to spend my time?

I’ve learned since then to look for men who not only appreciate literary culture, but who have stories of their own. At a speed dating event, I was talking with a man who, once he heard I was a writer, asked, “So do you tend to like men who have a good story?”

After taking a moment to think, I admitted that actually yes, I like a man with a good story behind him. In fact, the story might be what first attracts me to someone. I’ve developed crushes on men simply from reading their writing, reading their stories.

But let’s be clear on one thing: I’m not talking about the kinds of stories some men tell me — the time he got super drunk, got super high on a drug, got caught in the middle of a knife fight or spent the night in jail. I’m talking about the stories that require taking real risks that matter, stories that show some vulnerability and are worthy of admiration: starting his own company, writing his first book, changing careers. What is his story — or does he just go to work from nine to five and go home to the TV and a beer?

My love for good stories consumes more of my life than I realized. It isn’t just in my work and my hobbies — it’s what I look for in relationships. It may seem like strange or harsh criteria, but it could be the key to me finding someone with whom I’m truly compatible. What can I say? I love a good man with a good story.

What a Storyteller is Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I hope all of you are relaxing and enjoying this time with family and friends. If you’re like me and working in a little personal writing and editing projects today, enjoy! For some reason, ever since I was a kid, I found holidays a great time to sneak in a little writing or reading that I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t yet. So if you’re sneaking off after all that food to read or write a little, I’m with you!

I’ve had a lot to be thankful for this past year — all the new, fantastic and passion-filled projects I’ve had a chance to work on; all the great organizations, clubs and small businesses I’ve engaged with; all the new friends and connections I’ve met — but I want to turn my focus today on what a storyteller is thankful for (or for what a storyteller is thankful, but seriously, no one would say that in daily speech). As writers, filmmakers and editors, it’s important to take time and recognize the people and groups who help our projects come to life. The following list is from my perspective, but I hope my fellow writers and storytellers will agree on some of these:

  • Our God-given talent and passion. Obviously, we wouldn’t be who we are without our love for stories and our ability to communicate them to our audience. This is something nobody can take away from us, unless we get in our own way. Remember that!
  • Mentors. I am certainly thankful for my family, friends, bosses and professors who encouraged me along the way, and who, to this day, continue to support my endeavors.
  • Our community and peers (including all writing programs). Our community of writers and storytellers is vital to our success, whether we found them on our own or through formal writing programs. Regardless of which types of stories we tell, we all understand each other and what it’s like to hit a rough patch. We are also the first to support each other — the Chicago writing scene is proof of that. I am certainly thankful for the writing community that has sprung up in Chicago and which hosts many great events to support local writers.
  • Independent presses and other independent groups. Independent, small businesses are a great home for us. Gone are the days when you could only see success with a big, corporate entity. Small and independent is the way to go, and it will help ensure your project is seen and heard in a way that makes you proud.
  • Our critics. Yeah, they suck and they make us angry, but we wouldn’t be where we are without our critics. Maybe we learned a valuable lesson from them, or maybe they are just excellent motivators. If all people did was praise us, would we keep going? Or would we just get bored and have nothing to say?
  • People who have ridiculously loud public conversations or act ridiculous in public. Seriously, you get so many great ideas from these people! You can form a whole character based on something you heard on the street — or you end up with a great idea for a documentary.
  • The Legends. Let’s not forget the ones who came before us and who continue to inspire to us. They are likely the people whose work you go to when you need a lift, and they are probably the ones who wrote the book of advice you’ve come to rely on. (Anyone else a huge fan of Bird by Bird?)
  • Our subjects and our audience. Nonfiction storytellers are always grateful for those who took the time to share their stories with us, so that we might share them with others. And of course, don’t forget the people who listen to all of our stories — they are the ones who keep us going, and who we also hope to help in some way.

So, storytellers, what did I miss? I hope you all enjoy your holiday, and that it leaves you with many stories to tell!