Yes, you can learn from this nitwit

Hey Miss Snark,

My name is Legion and I work at BigHairyPublisher. I was visiting your website today, and I was curious to see if you forward me your physical mailing address. I’m interested in sending you a copy of a new book we’re publishing called (redacted so the poor author doesn't get hit by stray clue pellets) young (type of book) writer. The book is (description) Please reply with your mailing address to let me know if you would like me to send you a copy. I look forward to hearing what you think!

All best,


First, let's be clear about this: I don't review books. I don't accept comp copies of books. I don't talk about books other than ones a real live reader has told me about or one I found on my own.

Second, I know this is a form letter and all, but it's also a waste of your time. Publicists have to balance their amount of (very) limited time, against how much research they need to do on placements all the time.

The trick is, do the research at least once. I wouldn't gripe at all if you offered to send me a book (even if I wasn't interested) if I reviewed books, but I don't review books at all. You'd know that if you'd even skimmed the postings for a week.

I know it doesn't cost you anything to add my name to the bcc list of bloggers you send stuff to. Fine and dandy, no problemo, fire away, I stand ready at the delete key.

Here's the important part though- if you are an author, pay attention: this is what publishers call reaching out to blogs and you can see it's ineffective as hell.

Learn from that. If you read blogs, start paying attention to the ones who mention books and review books.

Keep good notes.

When your book is ready to launch, here's what YOU email to me:

Dear Miss Snark,

I've noticed you read a lot of mysteries on your Library Thing blog roll listing. I have a new mystery coming in Summer 2007 (Publisher). Here's the link to the Powells listing. (in other words watch for what books get mentioned and look for why your book will match her interests)

I've also noticed you are enchanted with Lee Child as I am. He was gracious enough to provide a blurb. "Blurb". (obviously this is best if you find a Lee Child fan but really, blurbs are good)

DorothyL readers have commented the book is "this" "that and "the other".

I notice you didn't include a way to send books to you on your bio. If you don't like to receive books, darn, cause I'd like to send you mine, but if you do like to get them and let me know your mailing address and I'd be glad to send one to you.

Miss Snark, thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours truly,
The Butler who Did It

This is what YOU do and you start researching NOW.

Publicists do not have enough time to do this outreach effectively. You do. Do it.


ORION said...

Interesting...my take on this? As a blogger ya gotta be a member of the community -- NOT swoop in with your book in hand out of nowhere and say hey buy my book or review it!
I am really sensitive to this issue as I see this happen on other message boards.
You can't post in retrospect.
People here know who you are and how long you have been around.
On the other hand -- being an active blogger is a wonderful way to network and become a contributing member of a writing community.

Anonymous said...

I've been getting more of these emails lately. I think some not all but some PR people are desperate and clueless about the right way to market a book. I review only what I buy and what I want to review but that doesn't stop the email requests.
Sad to think some authors are dependent on these people for sales and reviews. Ah such is this luverly little bidness eh?

Daniel Hatadi said...

Hey there Miss Snarkalicious,

I smell something similar going on in my neck of the woods. Like you, I'm a fan of crime fiction (and a wannabe writer), so I went ahead and created a community based around my passion.

Only one month later and I'm starting to see a number of members coming on board who seem to only have the motive of promoting their books, which are definitely not crime fiction.

It's a hairy issue because I don't want to keep out people whose interests intersect crime or mystery, but I also want to protect the members of my community.

I'm happy to see that you've posted something so clear cut, and only hope that I'll be able to do the same. Let's just say I am now drawing inspiration from your fountain of gin.

(just inspiration, not gin)

Davy said...

FYI, there's no such word in Spanish as "problemo." It's "problema." And it's "el problema."

Yeah, I know. A feminine-ending noun with a masculine article. It happens in exceptional cases. La mano, por ejemplo.