Shout-Outs from “Ms. Dorkiness”

by Kim on August 27, 2010 · 19 comments

Yesterday afternoon I got an especially funny review pitch e-mail, which I posted about on Twitter:

Normally I wouldn’t bother to point this out because I know that I’ve been on the wrong side of a silly mail merge, but this one actually made me laugh. And I got quite a few funny responses from my Twitter followers, including whether I’d rather be “Dear Dorkiness,” or “Your Dorkiness” or even “Ms. Dorkiness.” Book people have a sense of humor.

More seriously, the whole blogging and publishing space is new for everyone, so it’s inevitable that there will be missteps and mistakes. But getting a bad pitch often reminds me of just how many publishers and publicists are doing a great job of working and interacting with bloggers.

To get back some karma after pointing out a negative, here’s a not-at-all-comprehensive list of a few people and organizations that I’ve seen doing good things to connect online.

Peachtree Publishers is one publisher I think is doing a lot to bridge the gap between bloggers and publishers/publicists.They’ve written a few great posts you should read and then bookmark for future reference:

Harper Perennial is another great example. Their blog, The Olive Reader, includes great personal reviews and recommendations. And Erica, their designated Tweeter, has made the @HarperPerennial Twitter feed fun to follow.

Lindsay Rudnickas is the Digital Concierge for NetGalley, and she does a great job connecting readers and publishers. She retweets NetGalley reviews, writes informative weekly e-mails, and has as active Facebook presence.

NetGalley also sponsors the blog Follow the Reader, which hosts weekly Twitter chats (#followreader) on book and publishing related issues. I’ve participated a few times, and always found bloggers welcome in the discussion.

Other active publishers I’ve seen on Twitter – and by active I mean promoting books AND interacting with readers – include @LEEandLOW, @AlgonquinBooks, @harperbooks,and @littlebrown.

As a blogger, all of these people have made it easy, fun, and not intimidating to participate in book industry discussions and feel like my voice is heard. That’s something I know I really appreciate.

As I said, this isn’t nearly a complete list. I’d love to hear from other bloggers and book industry people – who else is doing a great job connecting online?

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Trisha August 27, 2010 at 7:28 am

I agree completely about Harper Perennial; they are the ones who stick out most to me as being both personal and personable.

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Kim August 30, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Trisha: I only found Harper Perennial after the Book Blogger Convention, but I’ve been really impressed since. They’ve made it really easy to figure out who to contact and how to connect with them for review books.

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Amy August 27, 2010 at 8:01 am

What a hilarious pitch! Some of them are so great, others… not so much. Because I read non-fiction (theyreferenced my review of Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk) I was pitched a self-help book for catching European Men… really? LOL that was probably my funniest.

Peachtree and Harper both do great things online, they would be the two that come to my mind first.

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Kim August 30, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Amy: I just had to laugh, especially because I know how easy it is for mail merges to go wrong with unintentionally funny results. I love the self-help book for catching men, what the heck?

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Erica August 27, 2010 at 10:50 am

Aww shucks! Thanks for the compliment Kim (and Trisha and Amy in the comments.) If I didn’t work in publishing, I KNOW I’d be a book blogger, so it’s important to me to be a part of the book blogging community.

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Kim August 30, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Erica: Of course! I think the book blogging community is great, so it’s fun to see publishing people who feel the same way.

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Sheila (Bookjourney) August 27, 2010 at 10:40 pm

This is a fun post there Miss Sophisticated. ;) May I call you “Sophie” for short?

I have had some interesting ones too – the worst are where they do not have my name right at all and instead have something like “Dear Jessica, we have been following your blog and just love…. ”

I am thinking who is Jessica and who’s blog are you actually reading?

You are right that there are some that do it very well. I work with a few publishing groups that I love that they know me well enough to recommend books that they think I will enjoy just because they do read my reviews and know what I like.

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Kim August 30, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Sheila: Maybe I should make “Sophie” my blogging name, just for clarification :) I love getting to know people well enough that pitches are usually right on — I have a lot of bloggers who’s opinions I highly trust on good books.

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Sheila (Bookjourney) August 30, 2010 at 8:25 pm

I love that too Kim – when you know publishers/bloggers well enough that they say – this book is for you and you know they are probably right. :D

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Ash August 28, 2010 at 10:25 am

I follow Peachtree on Twitter but haven’t looked at these posts before. I’ll have to take a peek at them since the titles all look interesting.

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Kim August 30, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Ash: A couple are a little bit older posts, but I found them really helpful when writing to ask for a book for the first time from a publisher I wasn’t familiar with. Peachtree hosted a #bblog chat that was good, too.

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Louise August 29, 2010 at 9:37 am

The book industry in Denmark has just recently found out how to use social media, and I see more and more give aways, tweets, blogs, etc from publishing houses in Denmark around Facebook and Twitter, and some also have their own blogs, but not many. Seems like FB is easier for them. Anyway, few seem to have discovered the Danish book bloggers (although we are very few blogging somewhat regularly actually). Its all about fashion blogs, political blogs and foodie blogs. Book bloggers are grossly overloked in Denmark, so I haven’t really had the time to interact. I did get a free copy for reviews of a YA some months ago, but that was mainly because I know one of the guys working at that place…I am looking forward to the industry to notice us (me ;) )

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Kim August 30, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Louise: Interesting! I think food/political/fashion blogs in the US are still a lot higher profile than book blogs, but certainly the relationship here is quite good with a lot of people. It will be really cool when Danish publishers start recognizing people more. I’m also excited for small/university presses to do more with bloggers (especially local bloggers close to where they publish).

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Lisa August 29, 2010 at 11:39 am

I go by Mama Shepp on twitter and I have a feature on my blog that uses that name but I find always find it funny when I get pitches addressed to “Ms. Shepp” or “Mama Shepp.” I know for a fact that you can find my real name on my blog so it’s an automatic turn off for me if you tell me that you’ve been looking at my blog and really like it but I know that you haven’t bothered to look far enough to make sure you’re addressing me the right way.

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Kim August 30, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Lisa: Lol, that’s funny! I know my name is pretty easy to find on my blog too, which is why pitches without it make me just shake my head.

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Jeanne August 30, 2010 at 6:24 am

I got something the other day addressed to me by my first name asking if I’d link to their ten suggestions for eradicating road rage…this after mentioning the phrase in a post about a poem the day before!

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Kim August 30, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Jeanne: That’s funny too! I get a lot of odd search terms, but never anything as obviously off as that.

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Erin September 10, 2010 at 8:29 am

A little late to this chat, but thanks everyone! I’m certainly in this industry because I love books and completely agree with Erica that if I wasn’t in the industry, I would certainly be a book blogger. Thanks for letting us join in the community.

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Kim September 13, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Erin: I think it helps when publishers/authors/whoever think of themselves as part of the community — you can tell that people like you and Erica do, and that makes your interactions a lot more personable and fun.

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