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April 14, 2008

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Doug Riddle

I don't know if they teach that tactic in management school or not, but I have seen similar "phrase/statements" promoted in writing books regarding communication with agents and editors.

Thought it sounded like a dumb idea then and it doesn't sound any smarter when communicating with a reviewer.

Elaine Flinn

Would sending flowers work? Or, chocolate?

Rae

"I am not susceptible to the Jedi Mind Trick." Heh ;-)

spyscribbler

I'm not sure about flowers or chocolate, but I bet sending a M.I.S.H.A. would work.

ali

Thanks for that David -

I have pasted the URL of this post to people who also send me such emails.

Reviewing is more a labour of love than a minimum wage desire - sometimes I wonder why I bother

Ali

Clea Simon

I think the "I look forward to reading your review" folks are probably just trying to be polite (their version of "and now I won't bother you anymore"). Clearly it's not working!

Whatever happened to a simple, "If you'd like any more information, or have not received a copy, please contact (me, my publisher, the great god Bast) at this address."

Froggie

You should have read this comment I am leaving by now. I look forward to hearing your response, so please email me as soon as you have responded.

Deborah

Froggie's clever comment reminds me of when I was working in an office, and people would call to tell me they had just emailed me a document, and they looked forward to reading my email response, and would I mind giving them a call when I send the email so they know to look for it.

Patti McCoy Jacob

Elaine - My favorite flower: tulips, any color; My favorite candy: See's Victoria Toffee, any size.

Well, preferably their largest size.

Just throwin' that out there...

Patti

Elaine Flinn

Patti!
See's candy?? You too? Still the best damn candy around. Haven't gotten past the truffle section yet-but I'll check out Victoria Toffee.

Hey, if you're buyable, I'm buying.

We should talk. :)

Patti McCoy Jacob

Elaine - oh yeah... I'm buyable. Especially if it's Victoria Toffee. My mother, who could care less about sweets, pretty much WORSHIPS Victoria Toffee. You really have to get a sample next time you pass by a See's store. Almond Roca has nothing on this particular bit of sucrotic delight. (yes, I made up that word - but you get my meaning...) And the thing is, I used to pretty much worship Almond Roca. So go online, Elaine - they deliver!!!

And regarding David's question about whether they teach this tactic in management school, as one who had a business degree that concentrated in management, I would say that even though I think David meant for his comment to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, I really don't think he was far off. Not just in business school, but people in general today are taught to be aggressive if they want to be noticed. They're told to be "in your face." The initial letter, the follow-up letter, the did-you-get-my-follow-up letter.

Not to mention the letter containing the lifetime gift certificate to See's candy... (not a hint, Elaine. I swear :))

Thing is, we are convinced today that out of sight really does mean out of mind. And yes, that's true to a point. But I think it would behoove a writer or publicist to trust that a reviewer, especially one with David's reputation, has enough talent and knowledge as a reviewer to know which books to mention in his column. To trust that he will at least read the book, or give it the ol' college try, at least up to page 60 or so. To basically back off and let critics like David decide on their own if they're going to review their book. And I guess if I was David, I'd look at the amount of books I'd have to choose from each week to comment on, and look at the finite amount of space newspapers allocate these days for reviews, and feel very frustrated and even mildly annoyed by writers and/or publicists who are constantly harping me to review THEIR book. As if I couldn't figure out on my own whether or not it deserved comment in my column.

But you know what? I believe that's the responsibility of the writer's agent and/or publicist. Those types of people should know better, and should advise their clients accordingly.

Jon Jordan

i love the emails with a huge number of other reviews added to it. Like I'd be a fool not to review this important piece of work.

I actually had an author email me to tell me what a great interview he was and that we would really generate a lot of buzz by interviewing him He then proceeded to tell me all the things he was able to be witty about. In particular was hs great knowledge of self publishing.

I also love when I get a note asking for three tear sheets of the review and for a notification of when it will run. Because sending out tear sheets is more important than getting the magazine out on time. And for each issue it would only mean mailing out 100 or so letters....


I get the wanting to know if a book arrived, but yeah, after that, let it go...

David J. Montgomery

I'm glad that other reviewers have chimed in with their support. When I was thinking about writing this post, I was afraid maybe I was just being curmudgeonly. So I'm glad to see that other people find these tactics annoying as well.

The thing is, if you received one email a month or one letter, it wouldn't really matter what it said. But if you multiply that by the number of authors and the number of books, you're talking about (potentially) a constant intrusion.

I like people to email me and would never want to discourage that. (If I didn't want messages, I wouldn't include my email on all my websites.) But that doesn't mean a little common sense shouldn't be exercised.

Cheryl

David,
You - a curmudgeon? Never. *wink*

Jim Hansen

"I actually had an author email me to tell me what a great interview he was and that we would "really generate a lot of buzz" by interviewing him He then proceeded to tell me all the things he was able to be witty about. In particular was hs great knowledge of self publishing."

Just out of curiosity, did this person actually say he was "witty" and that an interview would generate a lot of buzz? Also, did Crimespree review any of this authors books? Were the reviews positive? How did you respond to this author? In a polite way, or in a derogatory manner? Did your reply state that you "help people" who in turn "help us by subscribing or advertising?"

JMH

"I actually had an author email me to tell me what a great interview he was and that we would "really generate a lot of buzz" by interviewing him He then proceeded to tell me all the things he was able to be witty about. In particular was hs great knowledge of self publishing."

Just out of curiosity, did this person actually say he was "witty" and that an interview would generate a lot of buzz? Also, did Crimespree review any of this authors books? Were the reviews positive? How did you respond to this author? In a polite way, or in a derogatory manner? Did your reply state that you "help people" who in turn "help us by subscribing or advertising?"

David J. Montgomery

Fess up, Jim -- was that email from you?

JMH

"That" email, as described by Jon Jordan, certainly wasn't from me. I have never held myself out to anyone as witty, nor have I ever stated or implied directly or indirectly, to anyone, that interviewing me would really generate a lot of buzz. I have, however, sent an occasional two-line email to various organizations who have already favorably reviewed one of my books, to see if they would like to follow up with an interview. Similarly, organizations have taken the initiative and contacted me for an interview after reviewing one of my books. That's why I've been interviewed ten or twelve times.

David J. Montgomery

I'm not sure I understand the purpose of your post then. How would you know what Jon's reply said?

Account Deleted

Very useful info. Hope to see more posts soon!
http://www.stayinbonn.com

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David J. Montgomery is a writer and critic specializing in books and publishing. He is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has also written for USA Today, the Washington Post, and other fine publications. A former professor of History, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two daughters.

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