Every time a music writer reads one email in the massive pile-up of unopened inquiries, five new ones roll in. Okay, to be honest, I have no real quantifiable proof to back that ratio. It's probably more.
I don't mean to complain about the press emails – I'm thankful for them – but, rather, I'm attempting to relate how overwhelming the backlog can sometimes feel. That's not to say a writer's time is more important than a publicist's or a DIY band working to earn press, either. But considering the amount music writers need to sort through, you can imagine why someone has compiled the worst of those press requests on a Tumblr called Why I Deleted Your Promo Email. (To laugh through the tears, I'm guessing.)
Obviously, we'd all be better off if there were zero terrible-slash-hilarious promo emails to fill this Tumblr. We can all work together to get closer to a world in which it's not necessary. I admit, I'm one of the music writers who laughed aloud and even involuntarily snorted while reading that Tumblr. I'm not sorry, exactly, but I will try to help. Here are the top three reasons, in descending order, that a promo email has ended up as fodder on Why I Deleted Your Promo Email. (The rest is in your hands.)
1. A preposterous description
It's a good idea to elaborate beyond the simpler genre descriptions of indie rock, hip-hop, electronic, and so forth. But it's a truly terrible idea to be so creative that your version of yourself sounds bizarre.
2. Approval from an untested (or disliked) source
I've got nothing against Ellen, but I definitely don't look to her for music recommendations. I don't trust McDonald's or any fast food chains for tips on tunes, either.
This is easily the most prevalent of the three mistakes. When a big-time band shamelessly boasts, it's obnoxious. When the brags come from an unfamiliar name, the results are often comical. Be confident, yes, but actually earn your accolades. Don't make 'em up for yourself.
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.