Publicists vs. reviewers?

Thanks to my colleague Lisa S. for pointing me to the “What book publicists need to know about reviewers” piece on The Book Publicity Blog.  So far so good.  However, it did get me thinking about #1 on my list of what reviewers should know about publicists.

This publicist doesn’t like it when a book review refers to ANYTHING included in the publicity material that accompanied the review copy.  Not the sticker on the package.  Not the cover letter.  Not the “envelopes with the shredded newspaper as padding.”  Reviews should be about the content of the book.  

At Critical Mass, Craig Morgan Teicher writes about poetry reviewers:

In my view, a critic has three main jobs: foremost, to describe the work under consideration, meaning to figure out and clearly articulate what it’s intending to do and how.  Then, the critic has to make a value judgment, basically answering the question of whether or not the work succeeds in doing what it sets out to do, and whether or not there are other successes and failures to speak of.  This is important: criticism has to police the art form.  If readers—and critics are really just representative readers—don’t say whether they think poetry sucks or not, poems go slack.  Finally, the whole thing needs to be an interesting piece of writing, a work of literature in itself, albeit perhaps a minor one.

Nothing there about the publicist’s pitch line.

Now, if the reviewer wants to do a whole piece on publicist pitch lines, then that’s a story I want to read.

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