Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

Off the Beaten Path: Rachel Fershleiser

This article was originally published on our parent site for the book publishing industry, Publishing Trends

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With the increasing fluidity among industries, it’s not unusual for executives to leave traditional publishing roles in favor of new business ventures. In this Off the Beaten Path series, we asked four former traditional publishing professionals how their publishing experience affects their roles in their current companies and what they miss about their old stomping grounds.

Rachel Fershleiser

Literary Community Organizer, Tumblr;
formerly in publicity at William Morrow and Scribner

How has your publishing experience been helpful in your current job/industry?

My job at Tumblr is to help authors, publishers, bookstores, libraries, etc. to understand and use our tools, so it’s invaluable to understand the challenges and goals those people are working with. I see myself as something of a bridge — it’s important that I speak both languages or I’m not much help to anyone.

What can publishing learn from your current job/industry?

We definitely work faster and most experimentally at Tumblr than at the publishers where I’ve worked. We can launch a new project in a few days and make it up as we go along.  I actually think an independent bookstore or small press is more like a startup that way. A lot of publishing houses can learn from them too.

What do you miss about publishing?

I miss being part of a female majority. I miss not being the oldest person in the office at 33. Mostly I miss being around book nerds all the time.

What do you like about your current industry?

I’m really so excited about what online communication can do for all kinds of people, but especially writers and readers. We’re enabling new communities united by passions and interests regardless of oceans, time zones, what you look like and who you are. Famous authors are taking book recommendations from 10th graders. Fans of obscure poets are trading chapbooks. Aspiring novelists are workshopping together. Fandoms are becoming forces for positive change. It’s all pretty incredible.

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