So you have your regular, old-fashioned little shop that’s you’ve been going to for years, for your corsets and long-johns or whatever. You get good service, they know you in the shop and the goods are dependable. That’s why you shop there.
Then, one day the shop assistant – who knows you well – suggests something new and different and persuades you to buy it. And then your corset – because it probably was a corset, with springy bits and everything – goes all sproing on you, and it’s not comfortable at all.
Do you complain, or do you shop elsewhere in future?
If you’re the shop assistant, what were you thinking, offering a new, un-tested corset, that even you thought looked a bit dodgy when it arrived? Is it better to flog it to your loyal customer and risk losing their continued custom, or do you ignore this product because you know it’s not for your customers, and you’d rather keep your good reputation?
There is no right or wrong here, only a decision to make, which will have an impact on your future relationship with customers.
Now, I hope you are not wondering how I can be so old-style as to still wear corsets, even if my wobbly bits could do with some manner of control, but you will know I’m talking about something else: books, publicists and reading for review.
I’ll be honest with you. If a book is persuasively offered to me by someone I’ve known for a long time, and whom I like and trust, I am much more likely to give that book a go than if it comes from the big publishing firm’s newest recruit. If they know I’m not a fan of Arthurian novels, they can still offer, and I can say no. But if I base my temporary willingness to read an Arthur story on my relationship with the publicist, I’d like to know I’m being offered an exceptional Arthur.
It needn’t be to my liking. But I’d prefer it not to be of relatively poor self-published quality, and I’d like not having to do the detective work myself to ascertain what kind of ‘publisher’ has been involved. Because the thing is, anyone can hire the services of a publicist, and if they are good they can put together an excellent and fully professional looking press release.
I suppose I’d like a hint, at least, that the book isn’t quite as professional as some. But if there is a hint like that, they are not doing what someone has paid them to do.
It remains to be seen how I deal with the next incoming ‘corset.’