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Kathleen Schmidt – Book PR Expert, Sports Lover & Mom of 2: My Follow Friday Featured Profile

Posted by on February 24, 2011 in Follow Friday Profiles, Social Media |

Have I mentioned how much I love Twitter? I officially signed up for the service in May, 2008 but didn’t really start using it in earnest until later that year and early 2009. I’ve met so many fun, interesting and smart people thanks to Twitter, and this week’s Featured Profile is no exception. Kathleen Schmidt (AKA @bookgirl96 on Twitter) is a New York City-based CEO of a book publicity company. It’s always interesting to hear about and learn from PR people in different industries. From Book PR to Fashion PR to Tech PR – the principles are all the same but the execution and industries are so very different.

Following Kathleen and reading her tweets its obvious she’s a true expert in the book publishing industry. Almost daily she shares insights (and lots of opinions) about developments in the publishing world – and life in general. She tweets about her family, life (and work) in New York, and basketball (she’s a big Knicks fan). Did I mention she’s prolific? 43,000 tweets and counting heading into the weekend; if you follow Kathleen, you’ll never be bored – she’s great!

Enjoy this week’s featured profile!

Twitter Name(s):

Bookgirl96

You can follow the self-professed "Bookish Broad" on Twitter: @BookGirl96

Which social media networks do you use consistently?

Twitter and Facebook

What was your “Aha” moment regarding social media (when/why did you decide to become engaged)?

When I realized that I could communicate with people who had the same interests as I do.

What do you do for a living?

President of KMSPR, a public relations firm.

Does Social Media play a big role in your job? Do you have any interesting success stories you can share?

Absolutely. 90% of my business has come through Twitter. Engaging with authors, agents, and other pr people has played an integral part in establishing my company.

How has social media changed your life in general? Personally and professionally?

Sure it has–for better and worse. I love the community of Twitter, and the opportunity to tweet during big events (Grammys, Oscars, etc). However, its no secret in my house that I may be on Twitter a little TOO much.

How do you see social media impacting the book publishing industry?

I think it already has impacted the book publishing industry. Authors can now engage with their readers without being at a booksigning, or going through an editor or publicist. In the same vein, editors/agents/publicists now have the opportunity to talk about books directly to the consumer. That was never an option.  Bethanne Patrick (@thebookmaven) has a wonderful meme called #fridayreads where people on Twitter share the title of the book they’re reading. It has really taken off and averages about 5,000 responses every week.

Do you recommend authors tweet? What about other social media channels such as Scribd?

I don’t think every author should tweet. When I first speak with a potential client, I ask if they have used Twitter–if they have, they are usually comfortable with it. If they haven’t, it is because they don’t want to…and that’s okay. My philosophy is to do what is best for the author and the book. If social media isn’t a good fit for an author, I don’t force the issue.

Have you made many professional connections through social media?

Lots.

Talk about how social media has impacted public relations – and how do you see this changing in the future?

Well, social media has given publicists another outlet to promote clients. It has also been a tremendous tool in keeping up with the news cycle, which always affects who/what you’re pitching. I think more opportunities will grow from social media as different platforms emerge.

How do you use Twitter? How about Facebook? Do they serve similar or different roles for you?

Twitter is for engaging with people on a personal and professional level. I also like to post links to stories I find interesting.  Facebook is a slightly more personal space for me. I post pictures for my family, catch up with old friends…but I am not on there all that much.

You’re very open on your blog about your battles with depression. Was it hard for you to initially reveal this publicly? What advice do you have for others who struggle with how much to reveal about their personal lives?

Yes, it was incredibly hard. There is a great deal of shame attached to depression, and you tend to feel like you need to hide it from the world. Well, that is exhausting. I felt that if I wrote about it, maybe others would feel less alone. I was right–the notes I’ve gotten from people have been tremendous. My advice to anyone writing about a personal matter is: only write what you feel comfortable revealing.

What are 3 must-read professional books you recommend?

That’s a tough question. People laugh at me for saying this, but “The Devil Wears Prada” is really an excellent primer for the younger set who want to be in magazines/book publishing. I haven’t found any “bible” for public relations or book publishing. It was all “learn as you go” for me.

How about your top 5 novels (the favorite desert island question)?

Letting Go by Philip Roth; Necessary Sins by Lynn Darling; Evening by Susan Minot; Love Invents Us by Amy Bloom; A Mouthful of Air by Amy Koppelman

You’re also into music it seems – you tweet about it and artists a lot. Have you worked in the music industry as well or are you just a huge fan?

My husband works in the music industry…but I’ve always loved music.

It seems like you have a million things going on – how do you manage your time?

If I figure that out, I will let you know!

How do you decide who you’re going to follow or become friends with on Facebook?

I have ignored a lot of requests from people who have no connection to me–no mutual friends, no relationship on Twitter. The people I follow on Twitter are authors, sportswriters, NBA fans, book reviewers, book bloggers, news orgs, entertainment writers, friends, publishers, agents.

How do you decide who you’re going to engage with and who you’ll simple “lurk”?

I don’t lurk all that much. I don’t engage with news organizations.

Do you think people should be thinking about using social media to help build a  “personal brand?”  If so, what kind of people should really be making this kind of effort?

I don’t think branding on social media is a good idea. People see right through you. The key, always, is to remain authentic.

What is your most memorable social media experience?

Becoming good friends with @katierosman.

Is your husband also into social media? Are you a Twitter power couple?

He is not, and we are not. I tweet enough for two people!

You’re a big sports fan too – which sports and teams are you most passionate?

NBA Basketball. I love the Celtics and I like the Knicks. I love the game in general…it’s exciting. I’d say football is second (Patriots), baseball third (Yankees).

Do you have a list of arenas/stadiums you want to visit to watch a game?

Boston Garden.

If you were an Olympic athlete, which sport would you compete in?

Curling!

Have you met any fun/famous celebs?

Yes. Prince. He would be the most famous, I think.

Have you tweeted with many? Which is more fun?

I don’t tweet with celebs. I don’t even really follow any.

Do you think most celebs are good tweeters?

No, I don’t. The person who I think does an excellent job at being authentic is Howard Stern…and I’m not even a big fan of his.

Funniest Social Media moment?

Hmm. Can’t think of one, but it’s always funny when people tweet during big events.

Biggest Social Media pet peeve?

I think my biggest pet peeves are when people on Twitter are constantly selling themselves. That is a huge turn-off. On Facebook, my biggest pet peeve is when people update their status with inane details of their life.

Any parting shots?

This was fun! Thanks!

Thanks for participating!

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