How NOT to Say “No Thanks” (In my opinion)

I sent the following email to one of my favorite authors, asking for an interview opportunity:

Mr. _________,

I have been a fan of your work for many years now. I was wondering if I could do a short email interview with you regarding the current economy and how people can cope with facing a layoff. If I sent you several questions, would you be able to answer them so that I could post them on my blog, I have done similar interviews with Larry Winget and other book authors. I would appreciate your help.


Jeffrey Pritchard – a personal finance blog

This was the response I got back (a week later):

Thank you, Jeffrey,

I don’t do interviews like this. They are not a good use of time for me.

Why don’t you read my latest book, “____________” and use that material for your blog.

Good luck!

I was disappointed. Not from the “no” answer but from the thought that such an interview on my blog is not a good use of his time. How could he possibly know that? I don’t have a huge readership but I’m not small either. What if just one reader read the interview, bought his book(s), became a fan, and told his friends about this guy? Would that be a “good use” of his time? Obviously he doesn’t understand the world of blogging and the power of word-of-mouth.

I would have much rather him responded with a simple, “Thanks for your interest but I don’t do interviews.” To me, that would have been the appropriate thing to do.

What do you guys think? Am I being too touchy? I asked my brother (who is also a big fan of this guy) his thoughts and he agreed with me.

36 thoughts on “How NOT to Say “No Thanks” (In my opinion)”

  1. That is kinda cheap. “No thanks, waste of my time. Why don’t you buy my book and give me free advertising instead?”

  2. He may not have meant for it to sound as harsh as it did. But it sounded kind of egotistical and self-centered. I am familiar with this because I have several family members who think and talk exactly the same way.

  3. That is really unfortunate, especially since this is one of your favorite authors. With 4k readers you do not have a small readership by any means. You could start at section on your blog of books you don’t recommend 🙂 Just kidding.

  4. That must be one busy author if he is unable to carve a few minutes out for an email interview. That would be the last book I ever bought from him and would certainly never reference his opinions/material on my blog if I were you.

    Bob Dylan once sang about “being nice to the people on the way up, because you will meet them on the way back down.”

  5. Here are the corrected Bob Dylan lyrics (same sentiment however).

    You know what they say about bein’ nice to the right people on the way up
    Sooner or later you gonna meet them comin’ down

  6. I think the response was rude. Why did you decide not to post the name of the author? The reason I ask is because it sounds like something an author I recently read would say. I won’t guess if you want to keep it private.

  7. As a hobby, I write and occasionally publich Science Fiction. As a consequence, I attend a couple of science fiction conventions a year where writers and their fans mingle. I cannot tell you the number of times I have found some of the finest writers I know to be jerks in person. Make that drunk jerks!

    I try, and so should you, NOT to let it influence my view of their writing.

  8. Unbelievable. Especially, I would think in the Personal Finance and Investing world, where it seems everybody and every subject except current events is just rehashing the same stuff that has been said many, many times before by many different people.

    So I would find it hard to take. Unless the author with the new book in question was Jack Bogle. For HIM, you might not be worthy, but I can’t imagine another finance author for whom you wouldn’t be. 🙂

  9. That is a shame. I would never tell anyone that they are not a good use of my time, even if it’s true. This is especially shocking since it is in response to someone who’s a fan and just issued a compliment.

    I’d have to say that is incredibly rude, especially with the “hey, just buy my latest book and talk about it” close.

  10. I find the response rather rude. I would think a writer could express his thoughts a bit better, unless he intended to be rude. Either way, I would be surprised at the response.

  11. I agree that the response was a few words shy of an outright slap in the face. 15 minutes of the author’s precious time and a well structured, engaging interview would have gotten him WAY further in terms of sales than any kind of book review. It’s a shame, but I guess the measure of character is how you treat those who you don’t think can get you anywhere.

  12. Gosh, why all the harsh words for the guy? He said he was busy, did not have time, and did not think email would be effective. He spoke the truth.

    I interpret him saying that email is not an effective way to do an interview, AND it would be a waste of his time.

  13. Unfortunate on his part but not uncommon. I wouldn’t take it as rude as email lacks context.

    Blogs and the like are key for driving organic traffic to you and your expertise. This guy doesn’t get it…and that may be due to the fact his publisher doesn’t get it either. Love your blog and tune in daily…

  14. I didn’t think it was that bad of a response. At least he responded. Better to know where he’s coming from. He started off by using your name and even said thank you first. Sounds reasonable to me.

  15. Iknow a thing or two about PR, and I can tell you — this author does not! What a win-win for both of you. Too bad Mr. I Don’t Do These Types of Interviews didn’t know better. Free PR is often the best PR!

  16. I think his response was poor, but your posting of it in a public forum (even under the pretense of polling it’s decorum) is petty.

  17. Not blatantly rude but could have done a better job of turning it down. Maybe of the “old school” that doesn’t fully comprehend the value the internet and blogs.

  18. The fact that he doesn’t want to do an interview with you, or even WHY he doesn’t want to do it isn’t a problem to me. My issue is that he wasn’t gracious about the decline. A simple, “I won’t grant this interview, however I invite you to use excerpts from my book with appropriate credit…thanks…” yadda yadda yadda would have been better.

  19. Regardless of how practical or polite/rude his response was, it was honest. He could’ve ignored your email, or just made up some flowery excuse, but he told you exactly how he felt.

    I would try to see what you could learn from this.

    He didn’t say that “doing interviewers with bloggers” is a waste of his time. He just said that interviews like this are a waste of his time.

    Ask yourself if it could be the way that you framed it?

    Maybe he didn’t want to do an interview about how people can prepare for layoffs.

    Maybe he thought you were being rude, because he may have thought that he’d be doing the work to give you a blog post.

    Maybe he didn’t like how you threw out another author’s name.

    Maybe you could have given him an example of similar interviews that you’ve done.

    I’m not trying to say you did anything wrong…just trying to encourage you to learn from this experience. Coming to the conclusion that the guy is rude won’t help you learn anything or keep this from happening again in the future.

    Figuring out what you can do better will help you improve yourself, and may lead to more successful requests in the future.

  20. I agree with Velvetand her words “He was not gracious about the decline.” Jeffery, you mentioned being in the mid south. I’m in the south too. When things like this happen to me (and they have) I always wonder if Mama didn’t teach them any manners. His response kinda seems like “this is all about me” instead of How Can I Help. I was taught the latter was always better than the former.
    I’m so enjoying your blog. I found you via The Widsom Journal!

  21. I have to agree with abacus, I think he meant that email interviews are a not a good use of his time. Case in point, look at the reactions to his denial email… what was most likely an honest attempt to quickly and politely express his opinion is being taken as rude. Email is emotionless and intentions are easily lost.

    You have to see it from his perspective too. How many times a day do you think he gets requests like this? To take enough time to put more than a few lines into a response would take his entire day up. There goes researching a new book.

    I have to admit, at first glance the reply seemed rude. But reading it again frames it in another light. Also, I think, to ask for an email interview is a bit tacky. Why not just ask for an interview, then flesh out the details on what kind it will be? I would think there would be a much more willing response to this kind of approach.

    Just my $.02, YMMV.

  22. Guess he wouldn’t dare change his mind and say yes now. We’d know who he is!

    When’s your next post, JLP? We’re eagerly awaiting it!

    Spin the wheel: AIG, Citibank, IL’s income tax rates potentially increasing 1-2% (we’re currently at 3%) …There’s so much good news out there!

  23. Jeffrey,

    Looks like somebody thinks he’s really important. He may be, too, but still, this author does have a rather upscale attitude. Being interviewed here would give him nice exposure. A shame that he is missing out on that.

  24. I think he was honest and stated the way he viewed the situation. I think the world needs a lot more honesty. If he didn’t respond, you may also think he was rude and egotistical for not even taking the time to answer you. Maybe his view is that blogs aren’t were he would like his words published, that is his opinion and right. Maybe he has done them before and had a bad experience and instead of having to research each blog that requests, he has made it an overall rule for himself. Maybe he is getting paid to write other things and finds that taking the time, even 20 minutes, isn’t worth it for him. I have seen many times on financial blogs people breaking down the true cost of a task into how much ‘they are being paid’ to do tasks in their life based on an hourly pay scale to decide if taking the time is worth the effort. Maybe he had done the same and feels the return on his investment doesn’t warrant the effort. Seems like everyone is so quick to judge a situation they only know a very small portion about.

  25. Good thing our time isn’t worth as much, Seamus, or we wouldn’t be responding to JLP’s blog and sharing information w/others. Basically, blogging would come to an immediate end. Of course there’s always something else we COULD be doing. I guess volunteering would meet the same demise…or spending time w/family and friends, as that wouldn’t be “worth” it.

    While you may be right about the above situation, he could have been more gracious about it. How about, “Thanks, but I just don’t have the time right now. If you’d like to take some excerpts from my book, I’ll grant you permission to have them in your blog.” No one would have thought twice debating that response.

  26. His answer was hurtful – no doubt about it – but it says way more about him than you.

    One of fav books – the 4 Agreements – says Not to take things personally. I’d try to follow that in this case.

  27. I agree with Andy–the response was poorly worded–and then he not only assumes you haven’t read his book but then, yeah, asks you to simply advertise it for him. I’m sure he considers that a good use of *your* time.

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