The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

When is the best time to run a book review?

A couple bloggers emailed this weekend letting me know about reviews for a book on which I’m working.  Great news — except the book isn’t on sale for a month.  Grrr.  Then again, in book publicity (or any publicity, really) we’re always seeking to generate early buzz.  And isn’t this early buzz?  Hmmm.

If you enjoy overanalyzing book publishing issues — as you well know I do — here are a few to consider.  Once upon a time, before the Internet, publishers always wanted book reviews to run on or after the publication dates of books, since early reviews only frustrated eager readers unable to find books in stores.  That’s changed a little since most readers are now well-versed in the practice of preordering books from online booksellers.  Nevertheless, many of us still tend to prefer reviews run on or around the publication dates of books since it seems that many consumers prefer items to be shipped on or around the time they click “Buy.”  Or do they?

Publishing trade publications are one obvious exception to this pub-date rule, primarily because readers are not ordinary consumers but bookstore buyers, journalists covering the book industry and others who must plan their purchases / coverage weeks or months ahead of time.  Quarterly or bi-annual publications are another exception for obvious reasons.

Another issue for journalists and bloggers to consider when publishing reviews is that publishers receive finished books about six weeks before they go on sale, so just because you’re looking at a book (and not a galley / ARC) doesn’t mean books are available for sale.  Check the press material (or online) for the publication date so if you do run the review early, you can at least make readers aware of that fact.

A third publication date-related issue that can get confusing is when books go on sale in different countries on different dates (a somewhat common occurrence).  The safest tactic is to request a book from the publishing house in the country where most of the blog’s readers live and use that book’s pub date — if a blog is popular in the UK, for example, request a book from the UK publisher and use the British book’s publication date.


So I’m wondering: as a reader, do you preorder books about which you’ve read a week — or a month — ahead of time regardless of the on-sale date?  Or given a choice between a book that’s available now and one available at some point in the future, would you buy the book currently on sale (assuming both appear to be equally enticing)?

June 29, 2009 Posted by | Reviews | 28 Comments

NPR Books Watch — 6/19-6/25

Here are the NPR interviews for this week.  Anyone who emails me the imprints of all the books listed (or houses if no imprint is available) will win the NPR Books Grid for the prior week that includes, in addition to the information below, interviewer, pub date, imprint, genre, post-interview Amazon ranking, pre-interview ranking (if the book was mentioned on Shelf Awareness and I was able to look up the number before the interview), and interview hyperlink. ***

TOTAL book stories for the week: 22

All Things Considered: 4

Diane Rehm: 3

Fresh Air: 3

Morning Edition: 3 5

Talk of the Nation: 2

Tell Me More: 1

Weekend Edition Sunday: 1

Weekend Edition Sunday:

All Things Considered The Thing Around Your Neck Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
All Things Considered Art of Harvey Kurtzman Denis Kitchen
All Things Considered Do Not Deny Me Jean Thompson
All Things Considered From Square One Dean Olsher
Diane Rehm Tears in the Darkness Michael and Elizabeth  Norman
Diane Rehm State of Jones Sally  Jenkins
Diane Rehm Olive Kitteredge Elizabeth Strout
Fresh Air When You Lie About Your Age … Carol Leifer
Fresh Air Beautiful Struggle Ta-Nehisi  Coates
Fresh Air By His Own Rules Bradley  Graham
Morning Edition Wicked Plants Amy Stewart
Morning Edition Librarian Nancy Pearl Picks Summer’s Best Books    
Morning Edition Elegy for Easterly Petina Gappah Where Did You Sleep Last Night? Danzy  Senna Books We Like / Blood and Politics Leonard Zeskin Books We Like / Reality Check Peter Abrahams Summer Nonfiction: True Tales Enlighten, Delight Books We Like / Driving Like Crazy P.J. O’Rourke
Talk of the Nation Perfecting Sound Forever Greg Milner
Talk of the Nation Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, The Alain de Botton
Tell Me More Moms Stack Summer Books for Kids    
Weekend Edition Sunday K Blows Top Peter Carlson

June 26, 2009 Posted by | NPR Books Watch | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What kind of web presence is right for an author?

I was in a meeting yesterday when the issue of author websites arose.  Of course, these days, “website,” actually means “web presence,” because depending on the book and author, an author may opt for a website and / or a blog and / or a social networking profile.  The point is, when a reader Googles a title or name, something in addition to a buy link needs to pop up.

But as a book publicist, how do you know what’s best for an author?  Realistically, most authors don’t have the time to manage a website anda blog and a social networking profile (not to mention write and promote their book).  So here are some pointers for all three types of sites in order of least to most interaction:

Author Websites

Pros: Don’t need to be updated as frequently as other online ventures.  Look more professional than social networking profiles and most blogs.

Cons: Unless you use a free DIY web template (which looks free and DIY), websites cost money to set up.  Because many sites are maintained by third parties, changing / correcting the site can be cumbersome.

Best for: Authors who don’t have the time to update a site and / or who aren’t comfortable with the web, but who can pay someone to update the site for them.

Social Networking Profiles / Fan Pages

Pros: Free.  Quick to set up (the basics — fleshing out a profile and acquiring friends takes time).  Easy to post pictures, video and links.  Once you’ve acquired friends, easy to send messages to them to promote events / news about the book.

Cons: Takes (some) time and (some) familiarity with the web to maintain.  You don’t own the information — the social network does — so you’re at their mercy when it comes to layout / rules / etc.  Of course, if the network goes under, so does your profile, information and friend list.

Best for: Authors who do want to interact with readers and who do have a little time to maintain their profiles (status updates, accepting friend requests, reading and writing messages, etc.) but who don’t have the time or the inclination to maintain a blog. 


Pros: Can be set up and maintained for free (or for a minimal monthly charge).  For authors who blog consistently and who are successful at building an audience, a proven way to increase readership of their book(s).  Fairly quick to set up the basics (although creating pages, blog rolls and other features takes time).

Cons: Posts must be regular, i.e., at least twice a week, for the blog to gain a following, so blogging takes a lot of time (and inspiration).  It can take a while to build a following on a blog, so you must commit to blogging for several months at the very least.  Blogs don’t magically acquire an audience; they must be promoted just as books must be promoted to reach readers.

Best for: Authors who have the time to write weekly posts and who are willing to make a long-term commitment not only to writing the blog but also to promoting it.  Good for repeat authors (who have an incentive to keep up their site over the long term) or for authors who have a cause and / or organization they want to continue championing even after the promotional window for the book has ended.


Those are the basics (anyone have anything to add?) but keep in mind that an author can mix and match.  So, for example, you could have a basic website + Facebook profile.  Or a DIY website for which you pay a small monthly fee — these sites look pretty decent and for authors who have some web savvy, it allows you to post updates yourself.  Or you might have a blog and a Facebook / Twitter profile.  (So many bloggers belong to one or more social networks — these are great ways to connect with others in the blogging community and promote a blog — that if you’re not comfortable with social networking, you probably shouldn’t consider blogging.)

The bottom line is that while a web presence is essential for authors these days, what’s just as important is that you pick the site type(s) that works best for you.

June 25, 2009 Posted by | Blogs, Online Marketing, Social Networking | 16 Comments

Increase book coverage: small steps

Anyone and everyone in book publicity can tell you it’s hard to get coverage for books.  At the same time, many journalists and bloggers will tell you that when they *do* want to cover a book, it’s impossible to get responses from publishing houses.  Odd, that.

Murphy’s Law states that not all books will receive lots of publicity (oh — that’s not Murphy’s Law?  Well, you get my drift …) but here are a few mistakes we all make  that can lead to those small delays that can become big delays that can become missed opportunities.  Sort of like when an air traffic control glitch grounds your plane, then the traffic builds up and you’re sitting on the tarmac for eight hours, then the FAA decides that the crew has been on duty too long and your flight gets cancelled.  If we can all take a few seconds or a few minutes to be a little more careful / clear / thoughtful, we could improve our chances of getting what we want: book coverage.

Journalists / bloggers:

Don’t leave requests on voicemail.  Use email.  It’s a hassle forwarding voicemail to another publicist in house; it’s impossible to forward a phone message  to an author.

Leave some information about who you are and why you need the review copy / interview, particularly if you’re contacting a book publicist with whom you do not have a relationship.  If the publicist has to get in touch with you to ask for more details, your request will get delayed to some time between later and, well, never. 


When journalists and bloggers contact you, respond.  A reviewer might be interested in covering a book or author, but if they can’t get through, it’s often easy enough to move on to the next book — and the next publicist who does respond.

Don’t make people jump through hoops to get a book or interview unless it’s really necessary.  For some authors, requests must be vetted.  Really, really carefully.  Most people understand that.  I myself am a stickler for getting *some* information about a journalist and their story — “I want to interview an author” isn’t going to get someone an interview with one of my authors.  But it’s one thing to expect a few sentences of explanation; it’s another to ask for everything short of someone’s tax return and subsequently impose rules and requirements on the person’s coverage.  It’s called “freedom of the press” for a reason.

Don’t rely exclusively on blast emails when pitching.  Although email blasts are inescapable, do your research and try personalizing some pitches some of the time.  Use the phone to follow up selectively and wisely.

Include links in pitches.  Just as we publicists like to see details in the requests we receive, journalists (sometimes) like to see further details about the books we’re pitching.  Since there’s a limit to the amount of information an email message can contain before the recipient’s eyes glaze over, give them the option to easily access more information by including links.  (Keep in mind that long links can break up when messages are sent, so utilize the hyperlink button or a URL-shortening website like Tiny URL.)


Be up front with your publicist about your publicity expectations / requirements.  If there are certain media outlets / types of media outlets / journalists with whom you do not wish to conduct interviews, let your publicist know ahead of time so they won’t pitch these people in the first place.


What am I forgetting?  What are those quick, seemingly minor things we could do to improve our chances of hitting the mark and getting coverage of books and authors?

June 24, 2009 Posted by | Author-Publicist Relationship, Pitching Tips, review copies | | 13 Comments

NPR Books Watch — 6/12-6/18

Here are the NPR interviews for this week. Anyone who emails me the imprints of all the books listed (or houses if no imprint is available) will win the NPR Books Grid for the prior week that includes, in addition to the information below, interviewer, pub date, imprint, genre, post-interview Amazon ranking, pre-interview ranking (if the book was mentioned on Shelf Awareness and I was able to look up the number before the interview), and interview hyperlink. ***

TOTAL book stories for the week:

All Things Considered: 4

Diane Rehm: 4

Fresh Air: 3

Morning Edition: 2 3

Talk of the Nation: 2

Tell Me More: 1

Weekend Edition Saturday: 1

Weekend Edition Sunday: 2

All Things Considered Strain, The Guillermo del Toro
All Things Considered Virgin Suicides Jeffrey  Eugenides
All Things Considered Inside Passage, An Kurt  Caswell
All Things Considered Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century, A Jane  Vandenburgh
All Things Considered Be a Nose! Art  Spiegelman
All Things Considered Three Books … / Books To Keep You Sane On A Family Road Trip    
Diane Rehm Art of Making Money, The Jason Kersten
Diane Rehm Education of an American Dreamer* Peter G.  Peterson
Diane Rehm Secret Sentry, The Matthew M.  Aid
Diane Rehm Go Ask Your Father Lennard  Davis
Fresh Air Too Fat to Fish* Artie Lange
Fresh Air What People Were Reading During The Depression    
Fresh Air Unfriendly Fire Nathaniel Frank
Morning Edition Little Book of Main Street Money Jonathan Clements
Morning Edition It’s Our Turn to Eat Michela Wrong My Guilty Pleasure / Valley of the Dolls Jacqueline  Susann Three Books … / No Such Thing As Witty Women? Think Again Cheerful Weather for the Wedding Julia  Strachey
Talk of the Nation Man Who Shocked the World Stanley  Milgram
Talk of the Nation And Then There’s This Bill Wasik
Tell Me More Before I Forget Leonard Pitts
Weekend Edition Saturday Art of Making Money, The Jason Kersten
Weekend Edition Sunday Beowulf on the Beach Jack Murnighan
Weekend Edition Sunday Dictionary of American Regional English, Volume I Frederic Cassidy

June 19, 2009 Posted by | NPR Books Watch | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Help me help you

Yesterday, two people who asked for copies of books failed to include mailing addresses in their original requests. In other words, they wanted me to send them books, but I had to chase down their addresses?

For those times when book publicists do not, in fact, desire to jump through hoops to send out free books, here are some suggestions for bloggers and journalists to make the review copy request process more efficient.  (Those of you in book publicity — feel free to forward these tips to all and sundry.)

Requesting a Review Copy of a Book / an Author Interview


— An electronic signature containing your snail mail and email addresses as well as a link to your organization or website.  You may know a publicist well (and may know they have your contact information, but you never know when they may need to forward your message to someone else who may not know you from Adam).

— Your first and last names.  Unless you want to be addressed as “Dude / Dudette,” signing “J. Doe” doesn’t help much.  Many writers prefer their esignatures match their professional names — which in some cases may be something along the lines of “J. Doe” — but in that case, make sure to sign off with a first name so you can at least be addressed in some fashion.

And briefly:

— Explain why you are requesting a review copy of a book or an interview with an author.

— Include your deadline (or mention that you don’t have one).

— Provide some information about your media outlet or show and some circulation information.  This can be empirical, e.g., “circulation of 72,000” or “30,000 hits a month” or it can be subjective, e.g., “most popular hunting and fishing blog in Montana.”  Make a compelling case for yourself.  (To make it easy for yourself — set this information as Autotext and simply insert it into each request.  If you’d like to provide further details that you think are pertinent but don’t want them to bog down your message, link to the “About” page on a website.)


Here’s a tip regarding author interviews: when I receive interview requests for backlist, i.e., not current, authors, I respond to the journalist thanking them for their interest and letting them know that I will forward their request to the author.  This is the key: I do not forward the request.  I am blind copying the author on my response.  (I guess that makes me less than truthful if you’re prone to splitting hairs, but I can live with myself.)  Doing this enables me to kill two birds with one stone — responding to the journalist and getting in touch with the author — which I need to do because time is scarce and I’m concentrating on current and upcoming titles.

This means that I’m not compensating for any shortcomings in the request: the author sees any and all typos and misspellings of the book and / or author name.  It also means that if you don’t include a subject line, the author won’t see one.  And lastly, the author won’t see details that are not provided.  In other words, if you send in a one-line interview request with scant information about your media outlet, that’s all the author sees; while I will “fill in the blanks” for current or upcoming authors, I don’t have time to Google and / or trawl through our database for that information for every request for every author with whom I’ve ever worked.

In publicity, we often get email messages asking for the name of an author’s book publicist.  Instead of simply asking for a publicist’s name, ask for the name *and* include the full request — you’re going to have to provide all the details eventually; get your ducks in a row from the beginning and speed up that process.

For (loads) more information about this topic, check my posts about the science of requesting review copies.  (Yes — it’s a science, right up there with particle physics and microbiology.)


Book publicists: what else do you like to see in review copy / interview requests?  Bloggers and journalists: What do you always make sure to include in your requests?

June 16, 2009 Posted by | review copies | , | 20 Comments

NPR Books Watch — 6/5-6/11

Here are the NPR interviews for this week. Anyone who emails me the imprints of all the books listed (or houses if no imprint is available) will win the NPR Books Grid for the prior week that includes, in addition to the information below, interviewer, pub date, imprint, genre, post-interview Amazon ranking, pre-interview ranking (if the book was mentioned on Shelf Awareness and I was able to look up the number before the interview), and interview hyperlink. ***

TOTAL book stories for the week: 24

All Things Considered: 6

Diane Rehm: 4

Fresh Air: 3

Morning Edition: 3 4

Talk of the Nation: 3

Weekend Edition Sunday: 1

All Things Considered Fordlandia Greg Gandin
All Things Considered Three Books … / Books Reveal Theater’s Behind-The-Scenes Secrets    
All Things Considered C.P. Cavafy Daniel  Mendelsohn
All Things Considered My Guilty Pleasure / One for the Money Janet  Evanovich
All Things Considered Frogs and Toads All Sang Arnold  Lobel
All Things Considered Three Books … / Buck Up: Life Lessons From Young Heroines    
Diane Rehm No Angel Jay  Dobyns
Diane Rehm Annie’s Ghosts Steve  Luxenberg
Diane Rehm Education of an American Dreamer Peter G.  Peterson
Diane Rehm Peasant Prince Alex  Storozynski
Fresh Air Havana Nocturne T.J. English
Fresh Air Face to Face Maria  Siemionow
Fresh Air Descent into Chaos Ahmed Rashid
Morning Edition Little Stranger, The Sarah Waters
Morning Edition A-Rod Selena Roberts
Morning Edition American Icon New York Daily News
Morning Edition Yankee Years Joe Torre
Morning Edition Independent Booksellers Pick Summer’s Best Reads Books We Like / Little Stranger, The Sarah Waters Books We Like / American Radical I.F. Stone Books We Like / Homemade Life Molly Wizenberg Books We Like / I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti  Giulia  Melucci 
Talk of the Nation Newton and the Counterfeiter Thomas Levenson
Talk of the Nation Why Orwell Matters Christopher  Hitchens
Talk of the Nation Road Dogs Elmore Leonard
Weekend Edition Sunday Do-Over Robin Hemley

June 12, 2009 Posted by | NPR Books Watch | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s a book blog tour?

An interesting discussion emerged on Colleen Mondor’s blog Chasing Ray a couple days ago about the blog book tour and in particular who schedules them and how they are set up.  I caught the tail end of the discussion on Twitter.

Blog tours aren’t new — this New York Times article from a couple years back explores one author’s blog tour experience — and sites like Blog Book Tours or this post at The Dabbling Mum contain some excellent information about what exactly a blog tour is.  But beyond that, I thought it might be useful to look at how blog tours are set up and how they differ from online publicity in general.

First, the basics: for those of you who attended the book blogger panel at BEA, you will have heard the blog tour explained as an author going from blog to blog (rather than from store to store as they would on a traditional book tour) which is a great, quick way to explain it.   Depending on the author and the blog, coverage may consist of any of the following: book review, Q&A (either posted or live) or book giveaway and then I’m sure some bloggers have gotten creative and come up with other ideas.  Blog tours, like traditional bookstore tours, will feature a designated number of “stops” — often 10 to 20 blogs — and can roll out over the course of a week or a month (or whatever other length of time that has been decided upon).

Here’s some more information about blog tours.

How do blog tours get set up?

Blog tours are typically set up either by the publicist of a book or by blog tour companies / coordinators.  Since it takes time (and expertise) to schedule blog tours, publishing companies sometimes feel it is worthwhile to pay a third party — an online marketing company, a freelance publicist, a blog tour company, etc. — to set these up.  (We’ve been doing this for years with the broadcast industry — we hire companies to set up a series of radio or TV interviews, also known as radio or TV “tours.”)

Although typically book publicists ask authors not to contact the media directly, different rules apply to (some) blogs.  For example, Natasha from Maw Books Blog, mentions that authors sometimes contact her directly to schedule a “stop” on a blog tour.   (Other bloggers may prefer to work directly with publishing houses — many bloggers will have information about how to contact them on their sites.)  Sometimes, a group of bloggers may come together on their own and contact the author (or publishing house) to schedule the tour.

Regardless of who sets up the blog tour, the end result is the same.

What’s the benefit of a blog tour?

As with radio and TV tours, blog tours enable a book and author to generate buzz for a book without having to travel.

How is the blog tour different from online publicity?

A blog tour is simply one type of online publicity.  One difference between a blog tour and online publicity in general is timing.  Blog tours start and end on designated dates, the goal being to generate a certain amount of publicity within a certain amount of time.  A general online publicity push, on the other hand, could start months (or weeks) before the publication of a book and could end months (or weeks) after.

Also, while the goal of online outreach is to generate any coverage of a book — from a mention to a full-fledged review or interview — blog tour “stops” will typically skew on the more robust end of coverage, e.g., a post rather than a one-line mention.

Are bloggers paid to participate in the blog tour?

No — paying anyone to cover any books would be unethical.  (Paying for ads is a perfectly ethical practice, of course, but with PR, coverage — good or bad — should come free).   To clarify — since this can get confusing — with blog tours (or with radio or TV tours), publishing houses aren’t paying bloggers (or radio or TV hosts) to cover a book; we’re paying someone to schedule the tour: finding blogs that would be appropriate for the book, arranging dates for the reviews / interviews, reporting back to us about who is running what when, etc.  It’s like we’re paying a party planner to put together a party and the guest list (but we don’t pay guests to actually attend the party).

What’s in it for bloggers?  They have to read the book and write a post and someone *else* gets paid for their participation?

Bloggers are never obligated to participate in a blog tour — like radio and TV hosts (or like bookstores), they cover books and authors only of their choosing and only when they have the time.  If and when bloggers do choose to participate in a blog tour, we assume they are indeed willing to take the time to read the book and write a post because they are interested in the book and because it helps the blog (by, say, maintaining / increasing the audience), much like the way a radio host interviews an author because they’re interested in the author and it helps the radio show.  (To get back to the party analogy, guests are welcome to accept or turn down our invitations, but if they do accept, they attend because they want to and not because we’re paying them to show up.)  Just as some radio shows choose to find interviewees on their own and never accept pitches from PR people, some bloggers choose never to participate in blog tours and only write about books and authors they find on their own, which is fine — to each his own. 

The blog tour coordinator (or the freelance publicist or online marketing company) only gets paid for being the liaison between the publishing house and the blogger — for doing the “party planning” that is involved in scheduling the blog tour.

Will all coverage in a blog tour be positive?

It’s understandable that authors who take the time and effort to engage in promotional efforts for their books don’t want to walk the online gauntlet.  However, just as you can’t guarantee that a guest won’t get drunk and go on a rampage at a party, you also can’t guarantee that a blogger (or a book reviewer or a radio or TV host) will positively cover a book.  Some may love the book while others may give it a more lukewarm reception — the hope, though, is that coverage will at least be intelligent, substantiated and thought-provoking.  (This is where the expertise of the “party planner” comes in handy — they will find blogs where book coverage is intelligent, substantiated and thought-provoking.)

Some bloggers who find a book absolutely dreadful — or who feel so neutral about a book to the point of not having much of anything to say — may opt not to participate in a blog tour, but loving a book or author isn’t a prerequisite for tour participation.  (I don’t think it should ever be a prerequisite — I don’t think publishers should try to steer coverage of a book beyond sharing our love for it — but should the author or publisher insist on the hagiotour, that should at least be made clear up front.)

I’m an author.  Should I ask my publishing house to set up a blog tour or should I try to set up one myself?

First, it depends on the book — some books lend themselves to online discussion; others don’t.  Also, what blogs are available in that genre?  Are the blogs actively updated and is there a vibrant community of readers?

Second, it depends on the author — blog tours will be most successful if the author has at least some time to participate in either an ongoing discussion or at least to contribute in some fashion (for example, by providing a Q&A).

And lastly, it depends on the resources of the author and publishing house.  How much time and / or money are you willing to spend?

How do you promote blog tour “events”?

Just as we promote bookstore events to try to get people to attend traditional author talks, we also want to drive people to blog tour postings.  Participants in blog tours will often promote their participation on the blog itself as well as on Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites.  Authors should promote the tour on their websites just as they would promote bookstore events.  Also, keep in mind that the site can be used to list events for both IRL and online book tours.

Where can I find blog tour companies?

This list (in alphabetical order) is made up of companies I know of, companies I found on Google, and companies suggested by Facebook and Twitter contacts.  (I haven’t worked with all of these people, so I can’t vouch for their services, but all reputable blog tour companies will provide details about their services and prices as well as references.) 

Blog Stop Book Tours

JBH Marketing & Public Relations

Kidz Book Buzz

Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists

Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tours

PTA Interactive

Provato Marketing

Pump Up Your Promotion Virtual Book Tours

TLC Book Tours

If you set up blog tours and are not listed here, feel free to add your website in the Comments section, but please do not email me since I may not have a chance to post your information.  Also, please only add your company name if you work on blog tours specifically(not in online marketing and publicity in general).


Have you participated in (or arranged) blog tours and if so, what was so your experience?

June 11, 2009 Posted by | Blogs, Book Tour | | 76 Comments

Don’t cry wolf on email — make sure recipients pay attention to you

I’ve checked email on the treadmill, while rollerblading, in the bathroom and at other moments that would generally be considered inappropriate.  I check it on my computer and on my phone.  I check it at work and in bed, while watching TV and reading magazines, and on the subway.  I’m really comfortable with email and I use it a lot, both personally as well as professionally as a book publicist.

But sometimes even I think it can be too much.

With the amount of email messages we all receive today, it’s vital to send a message only when you have something important, informative, useful or at least amusing to say.  When I say “important,” I’m using it the loosest sense: “important” could mean everything from, “Oprah wants to interview your author,” to “I liked the book jacket,” to “I saw this article in which you might be interested,” and anything and everything in between.  Unsolicited information is useful too, which is why I don’t mind getting (book-related) press releases or news about stores and events — in my line of work in book publicity, that’s important information.

But don’t be the person who automatically contributes to an email conversation without new or vital information.  Or the person who sends a thank you message to an entire distribution list.  When people repeatedly send worthless email messages (usually with an old and / or unrelated subject lines — you know what I’m talking about), I eventually stop checking their messages — at least until the end of the day when I take some time to clean out my inbox, at which point I delete their messages.

 So here are some suggestions for how to not “cry wolf” on email:

— Do not send “You’re welcome” messages.  (Thank you messages, however, are useful — not to mention appreciated — particularly when important information has been sent so that the sender knows that you have, in fact, received the information.)

— Do not simply repeat what someone else has said.  For example, if one person on a distribution list says it’s raining, responding by saying “Yes, it’s raining hard,” is utterly useless.   (On the other hand, saying, “Yes, it’s raining now, but it should clear up by lunchtime,” is useful.)

— For the love of all that is holy, DO NOT USE REPLY ALL UNLESS IT IS NECESSARY.  (And yes, it was necessary to use all caps — if you don’t believe me, check the mess that is most peoples’ email inboxes.)

It’s high time we all learned how to use the Internets really good.  Unless you’re one of those people who has to hold for the operator because you still have a rotary dial phone.

What are your top “extraneous email” peeves?

June 9, 2009 Posted by | Email | , | 15 Comments

NPR Books Watch — 5/29-6/4

The NPR Books Watch is back!

Here are the NPR interviews for this week.  Anyone who emails me the imprints of all the books listed (or houses if no imprint is available) will win the NPR Books Grid for the prior week that includes, in addition to the information below, interviewer, pub date, imprint, genre, post-interview Amazon ranking, pre-interview ranking (if the book was mentioned on Shelf Awareness and I was able to look up the number before the interview), and interview hyperlink.


TOTAL book stories for the week: 24

All Things Considered: 5

Diane Rehm: 4

Fresh Air: 4

Morning Edition: 2 1

Talk of the Nation: 4

Weekend Edition Saturday: 1

Weekend Edition Sunday: 1

* rebroadcast

All Things Considered Unlikely Disciple Kevin Roose
All Things Considered Strokes of Genius Jon Werthem
All Things Considered Three Books … / Forbidden Pages    
All Things Considered Weddings of the Times Dan Klein
All Things Considered Leaving Tangier Tahar Ben Jelloun
All Things Considered Novel, The Nawal El Saadawi
Diane Rehm Picking Cotton* Jennifer  Thompson-Cannino 
Diane Rehm In the Sanctuary of Outcasts Neil  White
Diane Rehm Shop Class As Soulcraft Matthew  Crawford
Diane Rehm Womenomics Claire  Shipman
Fresh Air Years of Talking Dangerously Geoff Nunberg
Fresh Air Books We Like / You or Someone Like You Chandler Burr
Fresh Air Forever War Dexter Filkins
Fresh Air Assisted Loving* Bob Miller
Morning Edition Home Game Michael Lewis
Morning Edition Obituary / Entwined Destinies Rosalind Welles Apassionata Eva Hoffman
Talk of the Nation Dissection John Harley  Warner 
Talk of the Nation Economic Naturalist’s Field Guide Robert Frank
Talk of the Nation Edible History of Humanity Tom Standage
Talk of the Nation Dawn Like Thunder Robert Mrazek
Weekend Edition Saturday Little Beauty Anthony Browne
Weekend Edition Saturday Koko’s Kitten Francine Patterson
Weekend Edition Saturday Brothers Andrew  Blauner
Weekend Edition Sunday Burn This Book Toni Morrison, ed.

June 5, 2009 Posted by | NPR Books Watch | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment