Thank you, but no, I do not want to receive a free copy of your book to review, or interview the author who you're promoting, or reprint your press release about your product.
As you may notice from reading my blog, I've never promoted a book (well, except my own), interviewed an author, or reprinted someone's corporate-promotion-masquerading-as-career-tips. But you didn't know that because you didn't bother to even glance at my blog before you wrote to me to ask me to promote your client.
Yes, I'm going to rant about PR people now. The ones who are flooding my in-box with press releases that aren't relevant to me, about a dozen a day.
This is what bugs me: Of course it's easier for publicists to simply lump all bloggers into one group and treat them all the same, rather than taking the time to look at my blog and realize that it makes no sense to pitch me. But doing so makes it abundantly clear that they value their time and interests far more than my own: They have no problem interrupting people with an email that is of zero value to them, because they're solely working to advance their own interests. Which makes them essentially spammers, just cloaked in a veneer of respectability.
Now, someone might counter that with: If you have a blog, you're putting yourself out there and asking to be pitched, by nature of your existence -- just like a newspaper can't complain when people send it press releases.
But I would argue that blogs are different. I don't get paid to write this blog. I do it because I want to, but that means doing a lot of work for free. Why would I give space here, in what I've worked to create for free, to a publicist who wants to promote something to make their client a profit? You might as well ask me to display your company's billboard in my living room.
Of course, I can and do just hit delete. But it's still really annoying to see this behavior, and they're not doing their clients any favors.
Monica O'Brien has a brilliant post on this here. I highly recommend it.