I was lucky enough to get an early-career crash course in business by working in the creative department of a quirky toy and novelty company in Seattle called Archie McPhee. (Our joke was that we could sell cockroaches to New Yorkers.) The skills I picked up at the wholesaler, retailer and mail-order purveyor of realistic rubber reptiles and fake rocks allowed me to start my own freelance business and eventually to help build—and then to run—the children’s bookstore at Amazon.com from 1997 to 2002.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books (2011 to 2015)
Marketing copywriter for seasonal catalogs, including frontlist titles and bestselling backlist titles.
Zangadoo Entertainment (2011 to 2013)
Creative consultant, book-publishing consultant, writer and marsupial researcher for a transmedia-storytelling startup in Seattle.
Red Wagon Toys & Books (2009 to 2010)
Part-time sales associate (with a hand in the children’s book selection) at a Seattle toy store while serving on the 2011 Newbery Medal selection committee.
Amazon.com (1997 to 2002)
Senior editor with complete responsibility for merchandising Amazon.com’s online children’s and teen bookstore, recommending books to customers with old-fashioned handselling via online features, critical book reviews and bimonthly e-mail newsletters to a large subscription base. Worked with children’s book publishers to creatively market books to customers. Worked internally with the buying department, coop advertising, marketing and PR to expand the business.
Archie McPhee & Co. Toys /Accoutrements (1989 to 1993)
Writer, graphic designer and publications director for the creative department of a Seattle toy importer, wholesaler and retailer. Planned and implemented publications, public relations and advertising programs. Helped develop company philosophy, image and voice. Conceptualized, wrote and designed catalogs, ads, press releases, newsletters and internal documents. Also designed toy packaging.