Words are Yummy

readingIf you’ve never seen my Twitter bio, it reads thusly: Freelance copywriter sharing, selling, and sometimes eating her words since 2003.

People think I’m just being funny with that whole eating-my-words spiel, but I do mean it. And really, I don’t mind eating them every now and again. Just to prove it, I’m going to chew a few right now.

The Backstory

Remember that time I got myself all worked up into a book reviewer’s huff because a few authors—or perhaps the PR hacks they hired to manage their social media accounts (one can never be too sure these days)—had the nerve to keep asking me for special favors?

Well, my Crank-O-Meter™ went off the charts when that one lady asked me to take her self-published book about racing to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, snap a fan girl picture of myself with the book, and then follow up by posting said photo on Facebook in addition to reviewing her work.

Typing that out just now? I still can’t believe it.

Anyway, after that I basically told all authors—even the good ones who respect my time—that they could say goodbye to free book reviews on my blog. All because a few bad apples had spoiled the bunch.

Here’s where I start masticating.

Tomorrow I’m going to review a book.

For free.

I know, I know! But I have good reasons for making an exception this time. (The general policy still stands, however. Don’t press your luck people.)

What It Takes to Get a Free Book Review

So what did the author of tomorrow’s book do to merit a coveted free review on Suess’s Pieces? I’ll tell you.

  • He never asked me to read his book. I had been to his website and blog, decided odds were good that his book was totally worth the $.99 Kindle price, and read the book without being pitched by the author or a PR rep.
  • He did me a solid first. I asked him to help judge Writers’ Week entries last month, and he said yes.
  • He understands how the world works. I don’t get many cold calls these days, but I do get more than enough cold emails from people who want something for nothing. It’s refreshing to be approached by someone who actually took the time to read my content and engage in the conversations that take place here on my blog first. This is real online social engagement*—something a lot of authors and even a few self-proclaimed PR “gurus” just don’t seem to get.
  • He said thank you. When I finish Kindle books, I use the nifty little share button to Tweet my accomplishment. He saw that little announcement, Tweeted back, and followed up later with an email politely asking me whether I would consider reviewing his book, since I had already finished it. He thanked me for my time, no matter what my decision.

As I explained to Austin Briggs, author of Five Dances with Death, the book review fees I posted are really just bad book repellant. They’re designed to pay for my time reading books I might not otherwise pick up. Since I read his book for leisure, it seemed skeevy to charge him for the reading part ex post facto.

So all of this is just my terribly long-winded way of telling you that tomorrow I’m going to review his book, and he didn’t pay me to do it.

*I could write an entire novel about the shady, inconsiderate PR industry, but I won’t because The Bloggess seems to have covered that whole mess quite eloquently already.


Photo credit: Cjcj

About Emily Suess

Emily Suess is a technical marketing writer by day and a freelance copywriter by night. And, no, she's not related to Dr. Seuss.
  • http://www.girlyfight.com Stacia

    And now I have a new goal for my writing: Write only words that are good enough not to give me indigestion if I have to eat them later.  It’s probably sound advice.

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  • Paul Little

    I don’t understand the whole The Bloggess situation. I don’t get exactly what these alleged PR firms are sending her, or asking of her. Could you explain it in small words a simpleton like me can understand?

    • http://blog.emilysuess.com Emily Suess

      She’s big time in the blog world. They want her to write about their stuff for free publicity, so they send her tons of grossly irrelevant pitches via email. They woo her by essentially saying “Celebrities use our products! Bow before us!” She gets really tired of it, sends something smart and snarky back to them.

      Then this one time a PR rep hits “reply all” (oops! that includes the Bloggess’s email addy) and sends out a message in which he calls The Bloggess a “fucking bitch.” Of course, she can’t let that go. She laments the whole PR industry’s asshattery in a blog post.Where she writes, “I got a form letter email pitch (more than one, actually) about a Kardashian sister being spotted in pantyhose,” she means that the pantyhose company thought she’d be so impressed at the mere mention of a Kardashian that she’d beg them for permission to write a post of praise about those pantyhose on her site. (I don’t know about you, but I’d certainly be insulted by that.)

      Anyway. Is that any clearer? (I’m not being snarky. There’s a lot of info you don’t have if you’re not a Bloggess subscriber.)

    • http://blog.emilysuess.com Emily Suess

      Also, if you have time, this might be a good read with lots of ‘splainy bits in it:

      http://thebloggess.com/2011/03/dear-wil-wheaton/

  • http://www.austinbriggs.com Austin Briggs

    Thanks so much, Emily!

    Great warning about the PR industry. Got burned a few times, so now doing my stuff the old way – by myself…

    • http://blog.emilysuess.com Emily Suess

      Well, I’d say it’s working, so keep it up. 

      Also, I might have a slight bias against PR professionals. (You know, in the interest of full disclosure.) But I’ve yet to meet one who does not come off as shady as a used car salesman.

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