Friday, June 25, 2010

Incoming Flack

I've been fortunate to write over a hundred reviews for New Mystery Reader over the past five years. During that time, I have been ever luckier to deal almost exclusively with NMR's patient and long-suffering editor, Stephanie Padilla. Stephanie has made sure books got to me and interviews were set up, so I rarely had to deal with the major publishers' publicists. For that I am eternally grateful.

Earlier this week a publicist slipped through my previously effective cordon and sent me an email directly. She must have got my address from a predecessor, as I don't recognize her name, but I did speak with a few publicists at Bouchercon a couple of year ago. Anyway, this (presumably delightful young) woman (since aren't all publicists that way) sent me an email with the following subject line, which has been tastefully redacted:

A brilliant blend of fact and fiction, XXX unravels one of the greatest unsolved mysteries …!

The body of the email was not only awfully familiar for someone who probably doesn't know me, but made it clear by the end she doesn't know me at all:

How are you? I wanted to check to see that you received a finished copy of XXX. Offering a fresh, contemporary spin on a fascinating period, XXX paints a lively world XXX, expertly capturing the panorama of social change and rich historical intrigue XXX. It is a fascinating work that I hope you will seriously consider for reviews and features in your publication or an interview with the author on your show. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

I had to ponder a suitable reply for a few days. This is what I came up with:

Dear XXX,

I am fine; thanks for asking. Sorry for my delay in replying, but it's been a hectic week. Who would have thought the Prince George's County jail doesn't take Discover? (Visa and Master Card only.)

As I have not received a copy of the book, I must reserve judgment for the time being as to whether it truly is "a brilliant blend of fact and fiction" that "[offers] a fresh, contemporary spin on a fascinating period in XXX's history." Nor can I determine if the lively world XXX paints expertly captures the panorama ofXXX. If the book arrives, I will happy to give it a look, though you need not send another, as I am currently between review publications and do not have a either a radio or television contract, much to my dismay.

Thanks for thinking of me.

What the hell. It's not like XXX was thinking of publishing me anytime soon. Even I should get to have some fun in the publishing business, right?

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