Students often think of the “Yale Bookstore” as the Barnes & Noble on Broadway, but one alum wants to change that.
Founded by Rob Brodsky ’84, Yalie.com — which was founded last spring, but has gained momentum in recent weeks — contains a complete listing of works recently published by Yale alumni. While other resources like the Yale Alumni Magazine offer a condensed list of published graduates, Yalie.com goes a step further by allowing visitors to the site to search for titles and then connect with the writers themselves.
“The number one thing is that this is a resource for discovering Yale alumni authors,” Brodsky said. “We all have something in common — we went to Yale. You can walk into a Barnes & Noble and put your hand on a book and you’ll probably be interested, so why not pick a book that have something in common with you?”
Yalie.com currently has 3,037 books in its database by 747 authors, Brodsky said. A designated “Alumni Search” page enables visitors to search a book by title, class year or genre, and also contains links to book written by Pulitzer Prize winners and U.S. presidents.
Though the site was launched last March, Brodsky said the idea for it dates back to 1995, when he bought the original web address. Ever since, he said, he has been trying to create a website that would be useful to both alumni and current students, but only recently could he dedicate the time and resources to launch the site on his own.
Brodsky said the YAM publishes a brief list of books written by alumni, but that the magazine does not provide access to an unabridged list. In addition, Yalie.com provides links to Amazon.com and the Barnes & Noble site so visitors can buy the books directly.
While Brodsky’s main objective is for published alumni to be able to market their books to the Yale community, the site is targeted at current students as well. Brodsky said he hopes aspiring writers will reach out to writers listed on the site for career advice and feedback.
“I’m hoping that students will go through and find someone and say, ‘Hey, I’m a Yale student,’” Brodsky said. “[The students] are much more likely to approach someone that way versus, ‘Hey, I’m a writer. What can you tell me?’”
The 30 genres listed on Yalie.com range from non-fiction to religion, travel to humor. Brodsky said he was amazed that graduates are writing on such a wide spectrum of topics, from cheese guides to finance manuals to biographies.
Colette Sartor ’88 said she did not get the impression that Yalie.com was widely known within the alumni community, but it could be a good resource for networking. Sartor, a writer herself, said that she is always looking for new ways for graduates to support one another’s creative endeavors, something she has found through a women’s writers group of alumnae in Los Angeles.
Kate Hattemer ’09 said that the site illustrates how multifaceted Yale graduates are. Hattemer’s novel, “The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy,” was published this year.
“The diversity of the selections is amusing … but also highlights one of the greatest things about Yale — that the students and alumni have such disparate, deep passion,” Hattemer said.
Hattemer added that having a way to contact professional writers when she was a student would have made the profession less mysterious.
Elizabeth Woyke ’00 — author of “The Smartphone: Anatomy of an Industry” — said that Yalie.com has given her book additional exposure, and that being able to connect with alumni is an important marketing strategy for anyone launching a new work. She said that the YAM only reviews about five books per issue and that the rest get buried within its archives, making it difficult for an unknown book to gain momentum.
“I identify strongly as a Yalie, and it’s nice to be able to have a work accomplishment, such as a book, highlighted within that context,” Woyke said.
Fifty percent of the proceeds from Yalie.com book purchases made through Amazon and Barnes & Noble links go to support the YAM.