Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thankful: The Year I Became a Public Speaker

Or: Gratitude, Past, Present, and Future

I. The Recent Past

Hi! I'm thankful today for the year I've had since launching Zaidy's War. My publishing ambitions took a quantum leap forward the moment the book was released. It took no time at all for it to a) become my best-reviewed book, b) spider to libraries faster than anything I'd published before, and c) get gobbled up by reviewers, bloggers, and TikTokers with immediacy.[*]

While that steamboat was rollin' down the river, I paused to launch The Shakespeare Haggadah, and give it the attention it deserved. The book certainly did so (Hiring a publicist certainly helped. Thank you, Judy!). There wasn't a major article about the year's crop of new haggadot that didn't feature mine, and I got coverage in some major press, including the UK's Jewish Chronicle, and Yahoo!, which syndicated everywhere. I also received a book award from the New York Shakespeare group. On top of that, I was invited to participate in a few podcasts, namely New York Shakespeare Live, and the Cindy Grosz Show.

While *that* fire was burnin', I garnered speaking gigs of all kinds, in all places, in front of all kinds of audiences - with big assists from my publishers, publicist, and fellow Amsterdam Publishers authors. I delivered in-person talks, podcasts,[**] zoom sessions, book club drop-ins, book club zoom sessions, other forms of engagement, with many more of each forthcoming.

Now the award I received for The Shakespeare Haggadah (Which, BTW, is now my second-best selling book behind The Emoji Haggadah) was only the appetizer. For the entrée, Zaidy's War has scored three awards,[***] and is still in play for more.

I'm grateful to you for getting behind me and supporting me all the way.

II. The Immediate Present

The big wheel keeps on turnin', because I have talks scheduled I) in libraries and classrooms all around Jersey, II) at several Yom HaShoah engagements, and III) in my own Teaneck, NJ neighborhood, finally, which I'll be sure to keep you informed about.

III. The Awesome Future

Two more things I'm thankful for today, and then I'll let you get to stuffing yourself with turkey: 1) I just completed my 7th - and final - draft of my next haggadah. 2) I started the groundwork for my next Holocaust-themed book. There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh, says Ecclesiastes, and I'll continue plying my trade in both.

Happy Thanksgiving, from a heart that's happy to give thanks. I'm also thankful today for the hostages that are coming home, but I want more. I want them all.

And now, for some reason, I think I'm going to queue up Proud Mary...

-Martin Bodek

[*] A sampling:

My own contributions:

[**] The podcasts, thus far:
Jewish Agnostics, FL:
Too Jewish Radio, AZ:
Let Me Tell You a Story, ID:
Jewish Small Communities Network, UK:
The Jewish Link Pitch Meeting, NJ:

[***] The awards:
1. Finalist, International Book Awards, General History.
2. Bronze medal, The BookFest Awards, Memoirs-Portrait.
3. Winner, International Impact Book Awards, Memoir.