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Topic: How to Write A Good RC

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Subject: How to Write A Good RC
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Please post your tips on how to write a good RC. You can tell us what to write or what NOT to write.

Don't tell us you hate them and that a good RC is NO RC. That's a tired debate and everyone agrees to disagree on RC merits.

What works for you or what do you think makes a good RC that most people wouldn't take offense to.

If you're someone who dislikes RCs, what type of RC might make you accept  the request anyway?

 



Last Edited on: 5/26/09 10:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 5:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Keep it short.  I won't accept long RCS because 1: I don't want to read them and 2: I don't want to miss something and get dinged on a perfectly postable book and 3: a long RC just screams "picky" to me. 

Date Posted: 5/26/2009 5:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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Be precise. If you don't want books with creased pages, say so. Don't just say books must be in good condition. Too subjective.

ETA: proofread your RC. I've come across a few that had seemingly contradictory statements or were just generally unclear / missing vital words.

Last Edited on: 5/26/09 5:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1

Subject: Some Tips
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 6:34 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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  • Be friendly by beginning your RC with a salutation to help disarm hostile recipient. A simple hello will do.
  • State every request in the positive. Avoid using negatives words will not, won't, can't, never, don't
  • Also avoid the word prefer
  • If you feel you must explain why you have a particular RC, keep it short. Few people care about your reasons, but sometimes a quick explanation helps soften the request.

EX: "It's wet here in WheresTheFloodville, NY this time of year.  As a big favor, please wrap the book in plastic (any kind) to protect it from the elements."

EX: " Due to allergies, please only send books that come from a smoke free environment."

  • Be aware that restating the guidelines torques many people off. Consider limiting your RC to 3 of the most important ones, especially conditions that are not mentioned in or are different from the  PBS guidelines.

EX: "If your book is an ex-library book, kindly decline this request."

  • Limit your RC to less than 30 words, people usually don't like to read RCs
  • Make your RC easy on the eyes by putting your RC in a bulleted list format
  • As mentioned, be precise in what you want. Do not ask the sender to PM you to tell you the condition of the book
  • And my favorite, do not ever say, "Please take two minutes to PM me and tell me the condition of the book." 
  • Do not demand LIKE NEW or GIFTABLE books. Even I'd tell you to kiss my grits.

ETA: Eeek, I forgot the probably the most important tip.

Say THANK YOU!  Not just a cold businesslike thank you, either. "Thanks a lot, I look forward to receiving a great read." Or something like that.  

Most of the RCs I receive do not bother to say thank you. Even if your RC follows all these guidelines, it's still a hassle to read and check for compliance.

Remember, people usually recall the last sentence of a message. Make sure they remember you said "Thank you for checking." "Thank you so much." "Thank you, I appreciate it very much."  You get the point.

 



Last Edited on: 5/26/09 6:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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I'm just going to chime in with "what Laura said", because she said it so well.  I'll emphasize the importance of keeping it positive.  Tone is tough in written communication, and it's easy to sound nasty and condescending without meaning to.  If an RC sounds like that, I decline it, even if I'm pretty sure my book meets it.  I don't like fighting with people, and the thought of a long pm discussion of book condition gives me a migraine.

Kate -
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 6:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2008
Posts: 534
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I like short, polite, and clear RCs. Bonus points if you can work in something that sounds friendly or funny. I don't really like RCs with a lot of capital letters or exclamation points, because I feel like someone is shouting at me, but I wouldn't turn it down for that reason. The only ones I would turn down automatically are the 500 word essays, "brand new" or "like new" requests, or anything that sounded particularly vague or hostile.

ETA Ok, one more for my automatic reject pile: And my favorite, do not ever say, "Please take two minutes to PM me and tell me the condition of the book."  LOL



Last Edited on: 5/26/09 6:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 7:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,476
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And NEVER ask for a PM if you are not including your screen name in the RC.  

RCs should be black and white;  a very clear either or.  Not a preference.  Not subjective.  This is why "from a non smoking household"  works much better than "no books that smell of smoke."   That leads to how much smoke and to whose nose.  Grey area.

RCs should be very polite and have no typos.  You are asking for a favor.  Treat your RC as such.

Date Posted: 5/26/2009 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 4,985
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Okay, I agree with all of the above. I received a very detailed RC once. Wish I could remember it. Anyways,

I did send the member the book (it was in new condition and was never read). She didn't have any complaints. lol

My question concerns hardcover dust jackets. I have my own RC saying that " I am not  willing to accept hardcovers

without their dust jackets. That is the example that PBS gave. How could I make this sound more positive. Or is it okay?

Thanks for you replies.

Connie

Kate -
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 7:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2008
Posts: 534
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Connie, I would say something like "Hardcovers must have their dustjackets. Thank you!" You might want to say something about the RC not applying to paperbacks, or even better, turn the RC off when requesting a paperback. From reading the forums it sounds like those RCs always get misinterpreted at some point.

Date Posted: 5/26/2009 7:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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"I am not willing to accept hardcovers without their dust jackets."

Try this:

Does this hardcover book have its dust jacket?  If the answer is no, please decline this request.

or

If the book is missing its dust jacket, please decline this request

or

Please include the dust jacket with all hardcover books.



Last Edited on: 5/26/09 7:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 7:31 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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You are asking for a favor. Treat your RC as such.

Excellent tip, Emily. Many RCsare written like a list of public swimming pool rules. NO this. NO That. Must do this. Must do that. Won't accept this and so forth. My first RC was like that. It's a miracle I received books.

With a tone like that, no wonder RCs get turned down.



Last Edited on: 5/26/09 7:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 7:53 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,718
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Personally I have come to the conclusion that it is easier to just toggle my RCs on and off depending on what I am ordering. I hate the fact that it requires me to take all my books off of auto-request though, but - hardcovers having dust jackets is important to me, but I am SICK of getting turned down when I order paperbacks because people misunderstand my RCs.

Date Posted: 5/26/2009 7:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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For me, it's easy:

1) Precise, objective statements. I don't mind the word NO if that best tells me what you want--or don't want. "No" is very objective. "No ex-library books" tells me you don't want them. "I prefer not to receive ex-library books" doesn't tell me what I should do with my ex-library book.

2) The shorter the better--avoid long, wordy paragraphs. I won't read them and will decline.

3) If you have more than one issue that is addressed, separate it with buttons or bold print.

  • No ex-library books
  • No books currently from a smoking home
  • Books must be wrapped in plastic when sent

4) Do not ask me to PM you. If I cannot tell from reading your RC whether my book meets your requirements, I will decline the order.

5) I don't need to know why you want what you want, or what horror stories prompted you to make your RCs or idle chit chat. Just tell me what you want.

I guess that's about it!

Cheryl

Date Posted: 5/26/2009 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2008
Posts: 4,470
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As a linguist, I can tell you how you state your request is actually almost more important that the request, itself. As stated above, phrase it in the positive. Stating in the negative may sound like a demand and put people off. Remember these are requests. Instead of saying "I want.."  phrase it as "I would like..."  

There have been a couple of series in which I have wanted books in a specific condition to be Keepers for my collection. I added these sentences: "I can wait for the right book to come along. Feel free to click and decline this request if you don't have the book in this condition. :-) I figure it wouldn't hurt to try here."  The people that didn't have the books in the requested condition simply passed on the RC and I have not had a single snarky person write back about my having "excessive conditions" for the nine books I requested using that. And I did watch as the request changed Senders several times for each book. In the end, I got all nine of the books exactly as requested!

Date Posted: 5/26/2009 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I want to agree with the don't ask for a PM advice.  I dont' PM with a books description or to clarify RCS.  Either my book meets them or not.  If I can't figure that out from  your RC then it isn't clear enough. I'm not going to go back and forth with PMs-especially if it's a WL book. 

Date Posted: 5/26/2009 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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"I can wait for the right book to come along. Feel free to click and decline this request if you don't have the book in this condition. :-) I figure it wouldn't hurt to try here."

Oh, this is a nice touch. I might adopt something like this!



Last Edited on: 5/26/09 9:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 11:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,959
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My personal feeling about RCs is that all RCs should consist of at least 2 sentences. I don't care what the first (or more) sentences are.

The last sentence should be "Thanks very much!". Always.

Just my 2 cents!

Edited to add: I also throw in a "Please" at the beginning of my RCs, even if it makes my sentence gramatically incorrect.

As in: "Please, no books from currently smoking homes. Thanks very much!"

IMO, sounds a lot better than "I don't accept books from currently smoking homes"



Last Edited on: 5/27/09 12:02 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/27/2009 7:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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I have another one to add from an RC I got this morning.

Make sure you realize that the RCs pop up on books you are REQUESTING, not when someone requests from YOU. This was from a new person, had a whole paragraph stating that she had a lot of used books from different environments, some might be from a smoking environment and if I had special requests or anything, she would follow my conditions to the letter and would never send chewed or gnawed books, yadda yadda yadda.

HELLO! I'm sending YOU a book--I don't care about the books on your shelf! I did send her a PM to let her know that requestor conditions applied to books she was requesting, not sending, and that no one who ordered a book from her will see what she had written.

Cheryl

Subject: Library books
Date Posted: 5/27/2009 11:40 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 57
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I'm just wondering...why would someone reject an ex-library book?

Diane

Subject: Critique my RC please!
Date Posted: 5/27/2009 12:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2005
Posts: 92
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I've tried editing my RC several times to include the important things.  I've received several books lately with highlighting and the sender saying "I didn't know"  I have received several Bookcrossing books and also people who have no idea what a Bookcrossing book is, so they decline my request.

This is my RC...how can I improve it? THANKS IN ADVANCE!

  • Due to allergies, I cannot accept books that come from a smoking environment or smell moldy/musty.  If you aren't sure, please don't accept my request. Please do not use dryer sheets to cover up smells! 
  • Please no books with "Bookcrossing" stickers on them.   http:www.bookcrossing.com

My only other request is that books meet PBS Book Condition Guidelines -- no stains or water damage, no highlighting or underlining, and the binding intact.  I'm not looking for brand new or perfect books, just ones I can repost when I'm finished. 

Thank you very much! 

Anissa (WVgrrl) - ,
Date Posted: 5/27/2009 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2009
Posts: 432
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I'm just wondering...why would someone reject an ex-library book?

I have 3 conditions in my RC:

1. Currently in a non-smoking home
2. No ex-library books
3. No Bookcrossings books

I don't like books that have all of the stamps and stickers and plastic covers (sometimes) sitting on my shelf. Most of the books I get are for my collections (vampire books and Harry Potter-related books), so I like them to look nice. It's just my preference. I'm willing to wait for a book that I will be happy with, so I don't mind if I get turned down now and then. (So far twice in about 100 transactions, both for the smoking issue.)

I don't have anything otherwise about conditions. The regular PBS standards are fine with me. I certainly don't expect to get like-new books on a used book site.

 

Date Posted: 5/27/2009 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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I have a ‘no ex-library’ RC that I turn on and off depending on the book. The main reason I don’t like them is that they’re usually plastered with stickers and stamps, especially on the outside of the book, which I don’t want if I decide to keep the book and place it on a shelf. I personally wouldn’t mind if there was a single stamp or two on the inside, or a single sticker on the outside, but it’s difficult to convey how many are too many without actually seeing the book. And I don’t want an RC that requires someone to count how many stamps or stickers there are.

If the book is a paperback book, I’ve found  that library copies are often (although, not always) on their last leg by the time they’re removed from circulation. I just don’t think paperback bindings can take the amount of use that library books often experience.

I’ve also found that ex-library books are more difficult to get rid of. If there’s a large number of the book already posted on this site, I may want to trade it at a used bookstore or donate it to a local thrift. The bookstores in my area won’t accept them for trade and my local thrift store is cautious about taking library books unless they’re clearly marked withdrawn. Some people worry that they are stolen.
Date Posted: 5/27/2009 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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Be clear if your RC is for one specific type of book. If you are using auto-request and your RC will go with every request, it's very critical since your RC may go out for requests that don't match your RC.

For example:

For Hardbacks only: Please include the dustjacket.

 For all other books: All I'm looking for is PBS posting guideline quality.

Also, I like to close with:

Thank you for your consideration!



Last Edited on: 5/27/09 2:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Recommendations for Nancy
Date Posted: 5/27/2009 3:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Add friendly greeting here,

  • Please, no books from a smoking environment
  • Please, no books with "Bookcrossing" stickers on them. http:www.bookcrossing.com

If you aren't sure, feel free to decline my request.

<Include a friendly heartfelt thank you here>

<Name>

 

My only other request is that books meet PBS Book Condition Guidelines -- no stains or water damage, no highlighting or underlining, and the binding intact.  I'm not looking for brand new or perfect books, just ones I can repost when I'm finished. 

 

 

My two cents is to eliminate the allergy excuse even if it's100% true. Everyone says that nowadays and in some circles sympathy is wearing thin. NOTE: I am not trying to be mean in saying that.

Eliminate part about dryer sheets. The musty smell and mold is in the guidelines (I think) Just mark it  RWAP it if smells musty or has mold.

The bookcrossing RC is clear, and including the bookcrossing web address is a nice touch for those who don't know about Bookcrossing

The last part of the message which I crossed out  is not necessary and irritates many recipients.

The "if you're not sure..." part should be last.

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 5/27/09 5:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 5/27/2009 5:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2005
Posts: 92
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Thanks for your help, Linda...the only reason I included the "dryer sheets" was because TWICE I'd received books with dryer sheets in them and honestly, they smelled almost worse than the musty smell they were trying to cover up.

 

 

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