The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

Don’t get blocked

Some of you may remember when WIRED EIC Chris Anderson posted the email addresses of PR people whose addresses he blocked because they had emailed him pitches (rather than bothering to look up the appropriate editor).  Late last week Lifehacker editor Gina Trapani created a PR Spammers Wiki that allows entire PR companies to be blocked.  (Some PR people respond to Trapani’s move on PR Squared and The Bad Pitch Blog.)

The good news is that I didn’t see any book publicists / publishing houses on either list.  :)  The other good news is that both editors have been clear about how their publications should be pitched and they’re only exacting revenge upon people who aren’t following the rules.  (Gosh, wouldn’t it be fun if we didn’t send out review copies to people who didn’t follow our rules?  If only …)

Moral of the story is be careful who you pitch.  For us, we’re mostly pitching book editors and producers.  But it can get hazy at publications that don’t have book editors (which is more and more these days).  Do you pitch an arts editor?  Or features?  At some smaller publications, it may be appropriate to pitch a managing editor or an editor in chief.  For those of you who use Bacon’s Online, one trick I use is I export my list into an Excel document, “Find” the phrase “not a PR contact”  (that appears in the “Pitching Tips” field / column) and then delete those records.

In our defense though, it is pretty darn hard (read “impossible”) to be familiar with every publication, blog, and radio and TV show out there.  I know a lot of publicists spend a lot of time doing this; me, I have well over 200 websites (including blogs, newspapers and radio shows) in my RSS reader and scroll through at least 2000 headlines a day.  I have subscriptions to about a dozen magazines and go through probably a dozen more at work. I still come up short.  So to those editors and producers who testily tell PR people to be familiar with the show / publication before pitching, I’d like to say, we try, folks, we try.

May 12, 2008 - Posted by | Pitching Tips | , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. One suggestion I would make about pitching someone you are not sure is the appropriate person is to come clean about it. So, intsead of just making your pitch, make your query first about whether that person is in fact the right person to pitch and if not, ask who is. In this way, you can get useful information, not alienate the person whom you are pitching and also find out who (if anyone) is appropriate to actually make your pitch too. Obviously, this is just common sense and requires an individual pitch, but it usually works for me.

    Comment by Holly | May 12, 2008 | Reply

  2. Good point, Holly. I know that if someone asks me for a book that is not my imprint’s but acknowledges that fact, I do feel a little more inclined to help them out.

    Comment by Yen | May 12, 2008 | Reply


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