Next in the “Introducing AMACOM” series is Publicist Elizabeth Willse. Elizabeth joined AMACOM is April 2012.
What were you doing before you joined AMACOM?
Most recently, I was finishing my first semester towards a degree in library science. I just started my Masters in Library and Information Science at Pratt. I’ve worked as a contributing editor and social media strategist for Women’s Voices For Change, a news and lifestyle blog for women, and I helped launch a fashion illustration website called WouldYouRockThis.com I’m a freelance writer, and have written book reviews and features for the Newark Star-Ledger, BlogHer.com, Newsday, and other publications.
And would you believe, right after college, I worked as a personal trainer? Sometimes, I don’t believe it either, but it did teach me a lot about communicating with all kinds of people and thinking on my feet.
What are some of your responsibilities as Publicist?
I was hired to help coordinate AMACOM’s social media, including updates to the blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare. So I’ll be writing blog posts, working with authors and staff to edit and post guest posts, and updating messages and discussions in social media. I get to help select books for our weekly book giveaway on Twitter. Sometimes, the choice is easy, like tying a book about family and pregnancy to Mother’s Day. If there’s no big day coming up, it’s about finding inspiration in the backlist, and seeing what books could turn into a contest that would grab people’s attention.
There is of course administrative work, such as mailing review copies to book reviewers and updating the publicity database. I’m also a book reviewer, so I know how great it feels to have a package of books delivered right to your door. Free books to review and talk about! It’s like having a birthday every week! Getting to send out the envelopes puts me on the other side of the process, which tickles me.
What are the big challenges you face in your job?
Finding my way around the office. I’ve only been here a little while, and I’m still getting turned around. In seriousness, though, I think the biggest challenge is pacing myself around all these interesting, useful books. I want to read them all, not just the ones I’m specifically assigned. Going to the sales conference, and learning about the books we’ve got coming up felt like being a kid in a candy store.
But that’s a challenge I face no matter where I go, bookstores and libraries and friends’ bookshelves. There are fascinating books everywhere, and I wish there was time to read every single one.
What book are you really excited about right now?
I’m a graduate student juggling a new job and library science classes in the heart of New York city: you can bet I’ll be reading Success Under Stress as soon as I can. And Going Social, because it will have some great advice about social media. I’m also looking forward to reading In the Shadow of the Dragon, because I love a good cultural history.
What book are you reading at the moment?
The Readers Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, Second Edition by Joyce G. Saricks. It’s for a summer class I’m taking about genre fiction for teens and young adults.
What book do you want everyone to discover?
Something wonderful at the public library. Whether that’s a mystery, a cookbook, or a book combining nautical history with business advice, I’m a firm believer that public libraries are vital to their communities. (Also, do you see how I sidestepped the question? I can never pick just one favorite book to answer questions like these.)
Thank you, Elizabeth. Read more “Introducing AMACOM” posts here.