The following interview with Rachel Fershleiser appeared in the premier edition of the MEDIA CONNECT newsletter. To view our summer newsletter or to subscribe for future editions, click here.
RF: “Love Me Back” by Merritt Tierce. It’s not out til September, but I heard her read at the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 event and I was blown away. I love books about interesting women making potentially bad decisions while they’re figuring themselves out.
MC: When you’re not at the office, what do you like to do?
RF: I like to cook (especially soup), grow illegal tomatoes on my fire escape, and take long walks around New York.
MC: What’s your biggest pet peeve when working with publicists?
RF: I hate getting mass emails that clearly have nothing to do with my taste or my job here. No, I don’t want to interview your conservative economics expert for my YA book blog. You know that already. Communicate like a person, please.
MC: What is one of the best success stories you’ve experienced working with a publicist?
RF: Launching the Reblog Book Club with Rainbow Rowell’s team at St. Martins was a dream. We all loved the book, the process was creative and collaborative, and everyone was focused on creating the best possible experience for readers.
MC: What’s your favorite part about working at your job?
RF: I love the Tumblr community. This network is over 180 million blogs, but somehow it’s retained a personality — passionate, creative, nerdy, kind, enthusiastic. We don’t like a book, we LOVELOVELOVE a book. We treat authors like rock stars. We respond to our favorite works of art by making more works of art.
MC: What’s one piece of advice you have for book publicists?
RF: Don’t shout into the void. I know you’re busy, but building meaningful relationships will always serve you better than blasting willy-nilly.
MC: What is the strangest/craziest tactic someone has used to get your attention?
RF: Riverhead Books’ publicity department is crazy in the best way. They’ve sent me a wig, a plastic fork, a bottle of bourbon with cigarettes and red lipstick. But the wacky ideas are always deeply rooted in what makes each book special, a way in to the author’s point of view or teasing an event with a wonderful sense of community.