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March 30, 2010

TT: Apologies in advance

mail-pile.jpgIt may not seem like it, but I read all of my incoming mail, and do my best to answer it as well. I just spent a couple of hours chewing through a pile of accumulated messages. Alas, there are times when I simply get too much mail to keep up, especially when I write Wall Street Journal columns that touch a nerve. I know that some of you have sent me e-mails that slipped between the cracks, and I hope you'll forgive me if you fail to get a response, timely or otherwise. Please try again--I really do love hearing from you!

As for snail mail, here are four things I should have said long ago:

• Remember that it's much easier for me to answer e-mail than snail mail!

• I regret that I can no longer honor new requests to sign copies of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong and return them to you by mail. Of course I'll happily sign your copy in person, but the oppressive volume of snail mail that I now receive at my New York address, coupled with the rigors of my traveling schedule, has made it impossible for me to do anything more than that.

• I throw away unsolicited review copies of books and compact discs. This is a small apartment, and I can't cope with packages that come over the transom. Again, forgive me for being so blunt, but I'm the one that has to clean up the mess every day (I don't have a secretary). I'm sure your self-produced album is wonderful, but there's no chance that I'm going to listen to it, much less write about it, so please don't bother.

• If you're a publicist who writes to me here or at my Wall Street Journal mailbox instead of at my private e-mail address, you're wasting your time. Mass-mailed press releases sent to my blogbox are deleted unread, and the Journal only forwards reader mail, not press releases, to my private address. Experienced publicists either know how to get in touch with me directly or can find out--all it takes is a little digging--and should do so.

Posted March 30, 2010 4:34 PM

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