Friday, June 20, 2014

FAs without the Qs

Back when I reviewed biz books for the Miami Herald, I'd get — as you'd imagine — numerous inquiries from publishers, authors, publicists and others who wanted me to review their books.

Some were quite professional, generally because they were from professionals, but others were a bit ham-handed and many asked my help to "promote their book in the Miami Herald"(!)

Rather than respond to each entreaty, I put together a kind of boilerplate response, which I honed and revised many times, as needed.

I've never shared this online, but was thinking about it today and thought, why not?

So, here it is.

FAQ for Publicists, Publishers and Authors

Thanks for your e-mail about your book.

Here are a few things you might find helpful.

First of all, I review business books usually intended for a general business audience. I avoid technical volumes, most business-to-business books, self-help, diets, pop psychology, inspirational, religious, spiritual, sports, celebrity bios, novels, fables, humor, parables and such. (There are exceptions, but not often!) CEO memoirs and the like are iffy, but not entirely out of the question.

I love books and language, and am endlessly interested in all forms of business, as it's a vital aspect of human culture.

That's why I review business books.

If you want your book considered for review, you need not ask me before sending a copy. It's an extra and unnecessary step.

I receive many books every day — more than I can possibly review — so if you think yours is a candidate, just send it. My address is below.

If you are not sure if the book is right, please take a moment to scan my previous reviews. The links are below. The Miami Herald site requires registration. My own (admittedly incomplete) sites, and do not.

I like books offering fresh ideas that can be applied to a variety of businesses and situations.

Your book must be new, and available in bookstores and from normal online merchants (, etc.) and not just through your own web site or 800 number. 

I'll sometimes review a book AND the CD audio version. Feel free to send both, if you like.

I don't (can't) return phone calls. You may always follow up with me by e-mail. I try to respond promptly, but this is not my full-time gig, unfortunately, and my "real" job takes up the majority of my time and attention.

I don't review unpublished manuscripts or provide my "professional opinion" about something I'm not reviewing, and can offer no advice on agents, publishers, editors etc.

I rarely do author interviews unless there are strong local South Florida connections, and even that's no guarantee.

I don't need any canned reviews, have no say about anything else in the paper and think that poetry is a huge scam, so don't send me any poems (pretty please!)

I also review graphic novels on a monthly basis for The Herald. From time to time, I write about other stuff, but it's not worth pitching me on anything, since I have more ideas than time to execute them.

Thanks for reading. (Any implied grouchiness herein is certainly not directed at you! I promise.)

Richard Pachter

This FAQ is covered by a Creative Commons license.

1 comment:

harry said...

As a business author, I really enjoyed this.

My favorite are the notes I receive from authors, asking for my review of their book, and saying they can spare me the burden of reading their book. Instead, I can just choose one of the three following reviews they have written for me.

I like the idea, too, that "poetry is a scam." It's a near notion because poetry, on its surface, seems so heartfelt.

Good luck on the food article. It's a favorite topic for me to.

And say hi to Garvin if you see him around.