In America, we cherish the inalienable right to have things our way.
I recently read The Circle, Dave Egger’s dystopian novel about a benevolent Internet company that eerily creeps into every aspect of our lives, taking it over, one smiley emoticon at a time. Think about it like this: a company encompasses Facebook, Google, and Amazon, and then it begins to partner with the government.
The book publishing world depends on buzz. The best kind of book buzz is created by readers who tell their friends about the books they love. Anyone who is part of a circle of reading friends knows that, despite dire predictions about the demise of book publishing, the appetite for reading books is alive and well. But readers have to find out about a book somehow, and that is where promotion comes in—either by publishers or by the authors themselves. I understand the growing need for writers to promote their own work.
I try not to get too worked up about the commercialization of church holidays. It seems inevitable in our culture, in which most people are at least nominally Christian yet the real national faith is capitalism. The Christmas shopping season is annoying and the Easter candy aisles are dangerous, but it seems futile to rail against things that are more symptom than illness. It is pretty perplexing, however, when marketers try to capitalize on Lent.
I certainly don't hear from as many PR people as David Roberts does, but when I do hear from them it tends to annoy me for most of the same reasons it annoys him: no hyperlinks, buried ledes, missing background info, generally little evidence that the sender knows what I do or cares if I consider his or her pitch. I particularly enjoyed item #6 on his list of tips.