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My Pet Peeve with (Some) Authors

September 8th, 2011 by Bob Bly

Here’s my pet peeve: being sent books I didn’t ask for.

If you are an author, don?t send me a copy of your book unsolicited in the mail. Ask me for permission first.

My office is overflowing with business books authors have sent me ? books I will never have time to read but hate to throw out, thereby resulting in annoying clutter. (You should see the place!) One author sent me 2 copies of his book after I asked him not to.

If I agree to review your book and it is an e-book, don?t e-mail me a PDF; send me a hard copy print-out in the mail. I don?t want to consume my paper and ink printing out your book.

Fair enough?


This entry was posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2011 at 1:41 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

51 responses about “My Pet Peeve with (Some) Authors”

  1. Lisa Johnson said:

    Ohhhh! I have a thousand page book I want you to review, before I send it out in two weeks. Just kidding.
    Sorry to hear you have to deal with that.
    Perhaps it’s the danger of being a known writer. Just like being a celebrity, everyone feels like they know you. Meanwhile, forgetting you aren’t a lifelong friend, nor do you have more hours in the day than anyone else.

  2. Ryan McGrath said:

    “Ask me for permission first.”

    I understand it from your perspective, Bob…

    But on the other hand, what if I sent you a book unsolicited…in a way which gets your attention…in a way that gets you to read the book…and you love the book and rave about it to your list.

    It’s just direct mail. Nobody wants “junk mail” (mail they don’t care about). But as know, people will open (and read) sales letters which get their attention, hold their interest and spark desire…

    The problem is you are on the cold list, and they are poor direct marketers. The authors need to get you on a warm list (by asking your permission) or send you the book using good direct marketing.

    Are they sending you the book Bob with a (personal) letter? Are they sending to you via FedEx? Do they bother telling you the benefits of reading their book?

    Anyway, great post. Sparked lots of ideas in my brain.

  3. Alice said:

    I think this is a bit of a lame complaint. It’s easily enough dealt with and is a sign of esteem. Give them away to a local charity store, use them for garden mulch or just send them back.

  4. Barnett said:

    Oh, the irony.

  5. Bob Bly said:

    Alice: Are you seriously suggesting I bury them for mulch? Returning them to the sender costs postage, envelopes, and time. Taking them to the library likewise costs time and gas. Why should I be so burdened?

  6. John Sudlow said:

    Why not forward them out to readers of your blog for their perusal?

  7. Donnie said:

    Don’t worry, be petty

  8. Justin Hitt said:

    It’s exciting to get a book to a point it can be sent to someone for feedback.

    Because I periodically review books in my newsletter, I sometimes get boxes of books in the mail from publishers.

    Guess I should have known better. Like direct response, it does make sense to ask first.

    Hopefully you had a chance to read the “Thank You” in the cover letter, your books have been a huge benefit to me.



  9. Joe Dirt said:

    Getting a little crusty around the edges in your old age, aren’t you bobby? Moooaah hahahaha!

  10. Bob Bly said:

    No argument there, Joe. But it’s Bob, not bobby.

  11. Melzetta "Mele" Williams said:

    Whether we agree with you or not, you have the right to pull the brakes on this activity.

  12. Annie said:

    Absolutely fair! People are always trying to get something for nothing, and book editing is no exception. It’s one thing to get a book from someone you know, with no strings. It’s something else altogether to get unsolicited manuscripts from strangers with their hands out.

  13. Bob Bly said:

    Annie: You are right, except they are not looking for free book editing. They either want a cover blurb or for me to promote the book to my 65,000 e-newsletter subscribers.

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