HELLO Book Riot Insiders!
Welcome to a look behind the scenes with me, Kelly Jensen, associate editor and community manager. I believe I might have the most non-traditional schedule of all of Book Riot, so buckle up!
Above is a shot of my desk. Enjoy feminism, great puns, and what might be the only image of a Book Riot editor who writes down scheduling information on paper.
My week is a little different than the rest of staff, since I cover (part of) the weekend. My own week begins on Tuesdays and it ends on Saturdays, with hours that are split through the day. I tend to get started working super early — 6:30 or 7 AM Central time — and run till 10 or 11, depending on how much I need to get done or how into a project I have fallen. There are periods through the month when I have meetings at 12:30 my time, and I’ll often just work from the morning until the meeting ends.
What are those morning tasks, you ask? A few things! First, I’m the person behind our Tumblr, our Pinterest, and our Goodreads accounts. This means my mornings are all about scheduling posts and pieces of posts up there, as well as putting out any fires that have started. This doesn’t happen a whole lot, though periodically, there are questions that need my attention in the Goodreads Read Harder boards.
Since my schedule is nontraditional, here’s a fun little Insider secret: our Tumblr and Pinterest posts are rarely, if ever, posted the same day as they are on site or on Twitter and Facebook. They tend to be a day or two behind. It’s both because it makes sense to do it that way schedule-wise so I don’t miss sharing Monday posts, but it’s also selfish — I want to read what was posted on my days off that I may have missed.
Scheduling doesn’t take all morning, but sometimes, it can take a good chunk of time. When I do finish that, I have a few less-glamorous tasks behind the scenes. Those include doing some tracking of sponsored posts and also my least favorite thing in the world: reading my email. Most of it is junk, and I hate having to clean it out. It’s like when you know that your life would be easier if you took out the trash bag when it’s full and yet you think it’ll be somehow easier if you just push the trash down further in the bag and keep piling things on top.
Spoiler alert: that doesn’t make it easier. Also, it’s kind of gross.
Other morning tasks for me include writing and plotting out what I’m going to write and taking care of the associated research/contacts with it. I try to allow one or two mornings a week where I give myself plenty of time to brainstorm and write things like my weekly “What’s Up in YA?” newsletter (which really doesn’t take long to write but can sometimes take a bit of time to research or pull together with interviews) and my weekly “3 On A YA Theme” column. I’ve also added a biweekly(ish) post that rounds up sweet bookish goods on a topic — see this one on typewriter fetish or this one on bookish goods for cat lovers. Sometimes I have other writing projects underway that I’ll either do the research for or sit down and write. My goal is trying to have my regular pieces for each week, plus one or two other posts, so there’s always many things going on and I kind of let my mindset dictate which gets my attention that day.
One day of the week, though, is totally different for me, and that’s Fridays. Since I cover weekend work, Friday mornings are when I schedule posts for the weekend, as well as set up the social media posts for Twitter and Facebook for Saturday. I do a little bit of that for Book Riot Comics, as well — back in the day when our little operation was smaller, I used to do all of the weekend scheduling for both Book Riot and Panels…and before that, Book Riot and Food Riot (RIP). That time opening up has given me more writing time and more time to work on other projects.
Then it’s lunch time, and when lunch time rolls around, I am usually out of the office. At least the virtual Book Riot office. By lunch, I’m frequently working on my own projects, my own writing, my own editing. Sometimes I even get the chance to read during this time. Everything I do in the afternoon is my time, since I’m not “on the clock,” and usually, my free hours end after I come home from yoga in the early evening.
Once in awhile — once a week at most, and usually far less — I like to do some work on paper. I’ll go to a local coffee spot that I’ve become obsessed with, where I bring nothing but pen and paper with me and write or plan. The amount of work I can get done in an hour there is pure magic, which is why I don’t like to do it too often. I want it there for when I really need to get things done. (It’s part coffee shop and part greenhouse and in the literal middle of nowhere and therefore, it is the best).
My evening work is different than my morning work in that the pace is different. It’s slower, for one thing, and more, it’s much heavier on the community management aspect. I’m the person keeping an eye on social media, responding to comments, moderating where necessary, and also, I’m pretty much entirely available to contributors for questions, brainstorming, or other needs. I keep this time pretty open and fluid so I can take on anything that pops up the moment that it does, but when it’s quiet, I use the time to also take necessary photos for social media, do some more work with Pinterest or Tumblr, ignore my inbox, or write.
(Above: a photo I took for one of our Book Date posts — there’s a really great arboretum near my house that I tend to get a lot of my outdoor pictures at).
Here’s why you’re here reading this Insiders piece, though. It’s not really a secret that I am an at-home zookeeper in my spare time. I’ve got three cats and, as of last summer, a bunny. This is in addition to whatever is currently taking up residence in the back yard — we’re the only fenced yard in the neighborhood and we’re lazy about cutting the grass (…here’s a life theme), so we often have stray cats, bunnies, frogs, and other sundry creatures habitating back there. This life chose me, and I’ve come to accept it means that I have a consistently messy house. My long furred cat is why we’ve had no fewer than five broken water fountains, a broken refrigerator, and regularly pull heaps of gray stuff out of the bathtub drain. The combination of bunny and cats is why so many of my books have little nibbles on them and why I have to be careful when taking photos of those books to only put the animals in those pictures when I know it’s the last one I need to take.
And I always have to mute my work-related calls on my end because every time I have one, there seems to be Kitty Indy 500 going on up and down the halls, complete with unbelievably loud shrieking and screaming.
That all laid out, here are animals pictures. Some are just animals! Some are animals and books! Enjoy & thanks for being part of Club Insiders.
Stage one of getting a bunny to take a photo with books involves chewing…
Stage two involves a bunny flailing because he was told no.
Stage three is giving up and remembering he’s an animal, not a prop, and will not always want to listen to me.
If you look closely, you’ll see the baby bunny occupying the backyard. This picture is from inside my office and she’s looking up at me and a kitty who is mewing at her. (I named this bunny Clover, if you’re wondering).
Here’s a bunny in a cat mask.
A mid-morning hangout session happening in my office. They’re discussing world economics and the lack of freely available food in the house. I suspect they’re also plotting book destruction.
We do have a shelf cat, too. She loves this set of shelves that my husband built for me. It keeps her away from the bunny, which is a bonus (though she likes the bunny).
This is the couch where I usually am reading, but as you can see, it’s being occupied by animals.
A happy animal in the sun. You’re welcome!
And one last shot of the bunny, who I’m raising to be a comic-loving feminist.