PR firms often want to send me books. Their hope is that I will review them in one my magazines or blogs. Sometimes the books directly relate to the magazines’ focus, other times they cover a parallel topic, and occasionally there is no connection whatsoever. (If you hire a PR firm, make sure that they don’t waste your money by sending product or pitches to people who aren’t interested and won’t cover it.) [For the record, if anyone wants to send me a movie, there is a good chance I will blog about it!]
If they probe my interest before sending the book, I politely decline (unless the topic is of high personal interest — but then I have a pile of books awaiting my attention that have a high personal interest). About half the time, they just send me the books — I have a pile of them, too, but those will never be read.
Other times, a more creative marketing package will arrive. One unique promotion was a thumb drive, containing the company’s literature. I actually looked at the info before clearing the drive to ready it for more personally practical uses. The upside is that the company’s name and logo is on the drive, so I think about them every time I use it.
Sometimes the PF folks offer to ship me products it try. Of course, these are on loan. I decline those too; why should I spend time figuring out something that I can’t keep?
Last week, however, a wireless telephone headset arrived without the customary query for interest. There was also no indication of it needing to be returned, so I happily connected it to my phone. For two days, I was in untethered, wireless phone bliss. (It’s most disconcerting to roll your chair over your headset cord while talking on the phone.) Unfortunately, the wireless headset stopped working yesterday. I went through all the troubleshooting steps in the less-than-helpful manual, and after an hour of futility, I threw it back in box, placing it with the unwanted books I will never read. I’ll keep if for a while in case they ask for it back.
As far as promoting their headset, I am tempted to tell you who, but that would be vindictive, so I will protect their anonymity. In the meantime, does anyone else want to give me a wireless headset to try?
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is publisher, editor, author, and blogger with 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for tips and insights.