Dear Book Review Editor,

I know this might come as a shock, but I'm beginning to think that our relationship is a fraud—that you aren't as committed to our mutual happiness as I am. Sure, you call when you're desperate for a celebrity interview or when you need a last-minute book for your mother-in-law, but looking back, I realize most of our interactions satisfy only your needs and wants. I need someone who's willing to give a little, too. I put myself out there all day, offering the best of what I have to friends and total strangers alike, and they take and take and take. Can't you offer even a few more reviews in return for my constant devotion?

I don't want to make a big issue out of the fact that you return only one in seven e-mails and never answer the phone, but sometimes I feel neglected. Is there a reason you're ignoring me? Are you even reading my e-mails? Your spam filter isn't a good excuse anymore, and I can tell when you're sitting at your desk, looking at my number on caller ID and sending me to voicemail anyway. I know you think I'm needy, but the truth is, I just need to know how you really feel. When you say you'll consider a review, are you just looking out for my feelings? Do you even plan to look at the book? Did you even get the book? (And saying that you probably did on your generic voicemail greeting does not count as a response.)

It's all these mixed signals that lead me to think you might be seeing someone else. I saw you through the window at Michael's having lunch with another woman, galleys on the table and catalogues open. I think she was even sipping a glass of white wine. Is this what it looked like? Are you cheating on me?

I hope you don't think I'm being selfish. I know your editor is cutting back on space and that you are under a lot of pressure, but those obstacles only add to my passion. Let's jump those hurdles together.

Our on-again, off-again relationship hasn't been all bad. We've had some good times. Remember the glowing review you wrote for that first-time fantasy novelist that propelled the book to bestsellerdom? Those were the days. But with every good memory comes those major letdowns—I'm still a little upset that you scrapped that author profile after seeing a blurb in another paper. How could you blame me for betraying you? I only ever wanted you to get the first look. I would never slip content to another reviewer behind your back.

After all, there are other reviewers, but you must have noticed that even with all these other interests, I always hold a special place for you. And yet, despite all we've been through together, I still can't decipher your incommunicative and infrequent responses.

I'm begging you, if I can't give you what you need at the moment, just tell me. Be harsh; I'm stronger than you think and I can take the rejection. In fact, I'd rather be scorned by your discriminating tastes than wake up every morning thinking this might be the day you come through for me. That this might be the time you're willing to go all the way. To keep me hanging on—calling, e-mailing, hoping—is just cruel.

By the time you read this, I probably will have already left you a voicemail. And until you can be honest about our relationship, about what you really want from this and how you intend to give back, I'm going to keep leaving them.

Yours truly,

A Book Publicist

(you know who I am)

Author Information
Anonymous works in a major New York publishing house.