My name is Bryce Kelly and I’m Exisle Publishing’s North American marketing and publicity assistant.
My interest in books started when I was a young child. I was taken by stories from the likes of Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, Lemony Snicket, and Maurice Sendak. When I chose to major in literature during my undergrad at Bard College, I fittingly chose to focus on children’s literature.
My love of children’s literature sent me on an unconventional path, from an editorial internship with a small publisher to co-hosting my two kid lit podcasts Unfortunate Associates and Radio Camp Half Blood.
My time at Exisle has been yet another opportunity to utilize my passion for both children’s books and books in general. In the months since I started this job, I have already gained invaluable insight into how books make their way to the audiences that will most appreciate them.
As someone who mainly reads adult nonfiction and children’s literature, Exisle/EK Books has been a perfect fit.
So much of my job involves pitching to various media contacts on why our books are worthwhile. It helps that I happen to truly like the content Exisle puts forth. It’s also a pretty cool perk that I get to see these books before they are published.
Every book I’ve had the chance to promote for Exisle has in some way interested me. For the sake of brevity, I’ll just talk about one.
Once I Was Loved by Belinda Landsberry is what some might call an “instant classic.” The premise feels comfortingly familiar and yet the story itself floored me with its ending. The first time I read it, I decided to read it aloud to a room full of unsuspecting millennials.
My twin sister, my high school best friend, and my boyfriend all gathered around as we took turns reading. I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that my confused mom walked into a living room full of four weeping young adults as we turned the final page.
EK Books often describes itself as “Books With Heart On Issues That Matter” and I really can’t argue with that. I’d venture to say that phrase applies to Exisle Publishing as a whole. Exisle’s books explore a range of human experiences. Their sincerity and thoughtfulness take me back to my early days as a reader, when every book was a mind-expanding adventure.
I feel lucky to be a part of Exisle’s team as I truly believe in what they stand for. I believe that books hold a tremendous capacity to encourage empathy and curiosity.
I believe, as Lemony Snicket would say, that books can be “like an island in the middle of a vast sea of ignorance, particularly if the library is very tall and the surrounding area has been flooded.”
Thank you, Bryce, for that lovely – and dare I say intriguing for those who are yet to read it – review of my book. It was such a joy to create “Once, I was Loved” and I hope it brings as much joy, and hope, to those who read it. But a word of warning… if you think it was hard to read this book and stay dry-eyed, imagine how many tissues I went through creating it! X