On the Spiral Staircase with Brett Cohen
Fall 2017 marks the 15th anniversary of Quirk’s first publishing season. To celebrate, we're chatting with Brett Cohen, Quirk’s president.
Brett started with Quirk in 2001 before we were even publishing our own books. Over the last 16 years, Brett has been a jack-of-all-trades. He was the first hire on the business side, brought in to develop our operational and financial procedures, as well as manage Quirk’s relationship with our sales distributor. He expanded that work into business development and strategy. He revised our marketing program by developing our consumer initiatives including comic con attendance, relaunching this site as an entertainment blog, and starting our social media accounts. Now, he continues to have his hand in all facets of the business ranging from finance and production to marketing and sales.
If you were stranded on Mars and could only have one book to read, what would it be?
This question seems poised to make me select my favorite book. While I have many favorites, there are only two books that I can recall reading more than once: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and The Drifters by James A. Michener. Both excellent books about people trying to escape their reality—in very different ways. In Ready Player One, people escape to a virtual reality OASIS where anything is possible. The Drifters run away to bum around Europe and Africa. So, I suppose if I were stranded on Mars, I’d want to escape my reality—and would likely long for the realities of Earth. So, The Drifters.
Tell us about something cool you keep at your desk.
My office has an assortment of fun pop culture stuff. Framed blueprint drawings of the DeLorean, a Lego Figure and R2D2. Funko Pop figures from the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie. A miniature hoverboard model. A signed Seth Godin action figure. And much more. So, yes. Some cool stuff at my desk. But, my favorite thing is a a quote from Seth Godin that my wife put on a canvas for me. It hangs next to my desk and says "The opposite of ‘more'. It’s not ‘less'. If we care enough, the opposite of ‘more' is better." Fancy way of saying “quality over quantity." And when it comes to our publishing, that’s exactly what we have always strived for at Quirk.
What's your fandom?
Just one? Ugh. Can’t do it. Let’s start with Back to the Future. But, off the top of my head, I would also throw in Star Wars, The Walking Dead, Beverly Hills 90210, Disney World, Seth Godin, the Philadelphia Eagles, vodka and bacon. I feel like I just shared a lot with y’all. Don’t judge.
What's an unexpected talent or side effect you've picked up while working at Quirk?
I don’t know that it’s an unexpected talent as much as an unexpected adventure. But, I wrote a book. Well, I wrote two books and co-authored another. Stuff Every Man Should Know, Stuff Every Dad Should Know and Recipes Every Man Should Know. It’s always fun to see these books in stores or get a random Facebook message from a friend who received one as a gift. An amazing highlight was when Stuff Every Man Should Know hit #103 on Amazon after Regis and Kelly discussed it as part of their opening banter.
If you were a Quirk book, which one would you be?
Geek Parenting. My wife and I do our best to expose our kids to all sorts of geeky things we love. In most cases, they jump right in and it’s something fun we can all share. We’ve watched Star Wars a zillion times and have seen the newer movies on opening weekend together as a family. We’ve also watched classic '80s movies like E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, The Goonies, The Karate Kid, and, of course, Back to the Future. As a family, we created the wall hanging above to celebrate many of the things we collectively geek out about.
Follow Brett on Twitter @BaconTheBooks.
We’ve been celebrating Quirk’s 15th anniversary all year and we’ll continue through this fall. Enter below to win a fun assortment of 15 books, one from each year we’ve been publishing—plus a bonus book published this year!
The mix includes The Action Hero’s Handbook, The Baby Owner’s Manual, Housewives Tarot, Field Guide to Cocktails, Penis Pokey, The Crimes of Dr. Watson, Creepy Cute Crochet, Signing Their Lives Away, Booze Cakes, Crafting With Cat Hair, Tales from Lovecraft Middle School: Professor Gargoyle, Swissted, Find Momo, The League of Regrettable Superheroes, Wonder Women, and My Best Friend’s Exorcism.
*Only open to US.*