4.17.2006

Hearts and Flowers...oh yuck

Dear Miss Snark,

The publishing house with whom I work has a very cozy corporate atmosphere--bagels Monday morning, cocktails Friday afternoon, roving masseuse in between. I'd rather stick to work at the office and have my fun elsewhere, but I don't work there. I respond to chatty, smiley-face
ridden emails in kind. No biggie.

They gave me a gift certificate to a swanky restaurant when my book came out. They sent flowers for my birthday. They invite me to wine and cheese functions. I get lovely cards with my royalty statements. I'm fairly certain that I am NOT a particularly special author; this is
just their style.

My question: Should I hook up with the intern who is doing all this crap and find out the editors' birthdays and send them cards? Or does a thank you note suffice? I don't want to seem ungrateful, but this blurring of business and friendship is getting on my nerves.

wishing I were,

Emily Post



Dear dog in heaven, what travesty is this?? Not only smiley face emails but cocktails limited to Friday afternoons?? You must extricate yourself from this hell at once.

Suitabley refreshed by Monday gin, Miss Snark joins you in bemoaning the mix of business and personal relationships. Miss Snark has been eviscerated time and again for saying "an agent is not your friend; s/he is a business associate" but she harbors no grudges. She has however been known to send emails with smiley faces corrected to skull and crossbones.

Anyway, the answer is no. These little gestures are impersonal despite the fact they are designed to make you feel special. If your receive a gift you send a thank you note. That is all that is required. The "must respond in kind" method leads to madness...thank you notes for thank you notes. That behavior is limited to brides and flinty eyed Junior Leaguers in certain select counties of Georgia, Alabama and Virginia...bless their hearts.

10 comments:

bookfraud said...

i'm dying to know what house this might be, as they seem to be spending their precious corporate lucre on things other than thank you dinners. like maybe signing and promoting new authors?

maybe this is standard operating procedure to treat authors such, but responding with smiley faces is far and beyond the call of duty when it comes to thanking these people.

Bert Bariteau said...

Come on Miss Snark, you gotta be making this stuff up. This comment comes from a guy with 30 years experience around the government scene that regulates the State where Miss Snark lives. Contrary to Miss Snark's view of geography, Manhattan is not even the center of New York, let alone the USA, let alone the country. In Albany, we eat the flowers and the shrimp, drink the Champagne and ask ourselves, "What do they want?" Food for thought.

Dave Kuzminski said...

Yeah, and some female Virginians have been known to marry Alabamians or Georgians, but only because them thar Alabamians and Georgians mistook what Virginian meant. ;)

McKoala said...

Lunches? Cocktails? I don't want to be a boring old copywriter any more. Please can I have a job in publishing now?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Viking to me. I worked there some years back and it wasn't uncommon for the "cocktail cart" to come around on a special occasion, pushed by the publisher who wore a smoking jacket.

Anonymous said...

Unless I'm very much mistaken, it's Bloomsbury in the UK. They have all kinds of money courtesy of Harry Potter, and I know for sure that they have a house masseuse. You don't need to send them anything. Just relax and enjoy the process!

bordermoon said...

The person who should get a nice box of chocolates from you is the intern doing all the actual work of sending the stuff. Or the editorial assistant who's doing the actual work.

(Which publishing house is this? I want to work there! Assuming the cocktails involve a proper martini, that is.)

Anonymous said...

...cocktails Friday afternoon, roving masseuse in between.

Hmm. So it's not just the books that have a happy ending, then?

Carter said...

Yeah, and some female Virginians have been known to marry Alabamians or Georgians, but only because them thar Alabamians and Georgians mistook what Virginian meant.

You got that all wrong, Dave. I mean, iof they ain't good enough for their own kin, they ain't good enough fer us! ;)

...it wasn't uncommon for the "cocktail cart" to come around on a special occasion, pushed by the publisher who wore a smoking jacket.

And nobody had the decency to put him out, did they?

Cheryl Mills said...

As a New Yorker displaced in Georgia, I take (some) offense to the comments about Georgians. I mean, really, how about picking on the shallow gene pool of West Virginia instead? Or Kentucky? Ohio? Anyone?

Alabama, of course, is fair game. Play ball!