The following interview with Elisha Hartwig appeared in the the latest edition of the MEDIA CONNECT newsletter. To view our fall newsletter or to subscribe for future editions, click here.
Elisha Hartwig is an Associate Editor at Mashable’s New York City headquarters, where she researches and writes branded content. She graduated with degrees in both English literature and Spanish literature from the University of Oregon. After graduation, she moved to Madrid for one year where she taught English and traveled extensively before moving to New York. Follow her @ElishaHartwig.
MC: When you’re not at the office, what do you like to do?
EH: I’m probably at home reading, running or binge-watching a new television show – although traveling is my favorite hobby.
MC: What’s your biggest pet peeve when working with publicists?
EH: I feel like I get a lot of pitches for things that I don’t cover, ever. Just because I work at Mashable, publicists seem to assume I’d be interested in anything with a tech angle, when the opposite couldn’t be more true. Specifically to MashableReads, I love fiction, especially literary fiction — everyone here is heads down in tech news all day, that’s one of the initial reasons I started MashReads was to get people into a different world.
MC: What is one of the best success stories you’ve experienced working with a publicist?
EH: I adore the publicists at Riverhead Books — they try a lot of really out-of-the-box ways to get my attention, and show me that their book is the right selection for MashableReads. Additionally, MashableReads always creates really cool Vine, Instagram images, etc. for each of the books we pick and Riverhead Books does a great job maximizing those assets on their own social platforms.
MC: What’s your favorite part about working at your job?
EH: The freedom to fail. I started MashableReads as an intern at Mashable, and now it has been around for over a year and I’ve gone up the ranks to Associate Editor in the meantime. My day job is in branded content, but Mashable has given me the freedom to pursue a side project I’m really passionate about. The structure of #MashReads has changed a lot over that year, but I didn’t feel pressured to stick to that initial iteration. Instead, we learned from what went well and what didn’t, adjusted, and moved forward.
MC: What types of books are you tired of covering? What are you hoping to do more of?
EH: Please don’t send me any more business/tech books! More literary fiction please!
MC: What’s your preferred lead time? Will you consider older, but timely titles?
EH: For MashableReads selections — we’re choose books that have only been recently published. For example, if we’re choosing for December 2014, August 2014 would probably be the earliest published book we would consider, but we could also choose a book that was published that same month.
MC: What’s one piece of advice you have for book publicists?
EH: Have an idea of the books we’ve chosen for MashableReads before when you’re making your pitches — or offer to set up a phone call/meeting to discuss our strategy if that’s easier.
MC: Rather than straight book review, are you interested in slideshows, Q&As, guest posts, live chats or roundups?
EH: Possibly live chats and guest posts — but depends on the author.