Edited to add: the scanned letter I’m showing you cuts off the last two sentences, which read: “Okay, enough of the serious stuff. If you have any questions, my contact information is below. Thanks again, and thanks for your support!”
Natasha from Maw Books pointed out on Twitter this morning an article posted at Flavorwire entitled How to Alienate Bloggers and Boost Book Sales. Apparently, some copies of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith came with the letter pictured above. While I didn’t receive either this book or this letter, there are a few things I’d like to point out.
First, just out of curiosity, why would you not want reviewers to post a review of the book until April 1, 2009?
But here’s what really got me going this morning: “Excerpts: The book you’re receiving is copyrighted material. In no way, shape, or form do I want to see any text or images from the book up online.”
I immediately start screaming when I see people ask other people not to do something that is COMPLETELY LEGAL. Quoting text from a book is what is called Fair Use and doesn’t need permission from the author or the publisher.
I know that Quirk Books is one of a kajillion publishers. All the publishers I’ve had the honor of working with have been gracious, giving, and pleasant to deal with. But that doesn’t change the fact that this particular publicist is a royal jerk who is trying to bully book bloggers into not using excerpts by saying, “If you don’t abide by the above terms, we will never work together again.” I’d guess that most book bloggers will be turned off by this letter, though many (if not most) will follow the request to not use any text or images in their review.
I’m here to say it’s wrong for Quirk Books to request this of book bloggers.
Perhaps what has my blood boiling over this whole letter is that bullies like this exist for the mere fact that nice people would NEVER send a letter like this. And most nice people won’t say anything, choosing instead to let it slide. So here’s my response to the person who wrote this letter:
It’s WRONG (and in my opinion immoral) of you to insist that bloggers not use excerpts from a book they’re reviewing, threatening that you’ll never work with them again if they do so. You should be ashamed of yourself. If I had received this book, you can bet I’d post a review with an excerpt to ensure we “never work together again” because you are not the kind of person that I want to have anything to do with.
In closing, I’d like to thank all the wonderful authors and publicists I’ve had the pleasure to work with thus far. I haven’t appreciated you as much as I do after reading the above letter.
(Second) Edited to add: Other people have added their opinion of this letter, and they really round out my limited rant:
- How to Alienate Bloggers and Boost Book Sales is the original post from Flavorwire
- Working With Bloggers and Good PR Practices from Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- The Curious Case of the Flippant Release Letter, Part One from Still Life with Book Maven
- The Curious Case of the Flippant Release Letter, Part Two from Still Life with Book Maven
- If you want to follow the discussion on Twitter, the hashtag is #quirkppz.