I used to write a food blog. It wasn’t too shabby, if I do say so myself, which I do say, right now.
At the time, I got a lot of PR pitches from people looking for publicity for their clients’ new cookbooks, cooking shows, or food products. And although I haven’t published anything new on that blog since January 2013, I continue to get pitches. Many pitches. A plethora of pitches.
PR people are terrible at culling their lists, partly because then they couldn’t brag about the size of their lists, and partly because throwing a ton of shit at the wall — or, in this case, at the blogger — and seeing what sticks is an inexpensive proposition on their end. I know this because once upon a time in another career, I used to do things like that too, until I stopped hating myself.
Either way, it annoys the shit out of me, and it should irritate their authors and personalities who use these services, too. You are, presumably, giving these people piles of money to help promote your work. They are taking that money, lazily sending bulk emails to out-of-date lists they’ve scraped off various foodie sites, and then flying to Turks and Caicos to drink frozen daiquiris on the beach. I assume; I mean, that’s what I would do, because hello: drinking frozen daiquiris on the beach sounds like a far better use of my time than engaging in PR.
Anyway! I was clearing all the pointless pitches out of my inbox, when I saw one promoting a new book by, I shit you not, an “Italian cook and BDSM enthusiast” who will remain unnamed. It’s a BDSM get-started guide with recipes, because apparently that is a thing.
The subject line of this email — and again, I am shitting you not — was “50 Shades of Grey Poupon.”
I just thought you should know that somewhere in the world, there is a PR person sitting in an office who received an actual paycheck for his efforts coming up with ways to effectively target the lasagna-loving bondage aficionado niche, and in exchange for that cash money, he wrote the email subject line “50 Shades of Grey Poupon” and then mass-emailed a bunch of strangers. Think about that for a minute. Now stop, because it’s depressing.
Remember when people used to engage in labor that produced goods or otherwise added value to society? Good times, good times.