What's the best way to figure out someone's mailing address?
June 26, 2013 6:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm writing a book, and I just got the following task from my editor: get a sizable (50+) list of high profile people who have written blurbs or reviews for similar books, and get their mailing addresses. Here's the kicker: I'm not supposed to contact them directly, unless I already know them personally. So! What's the best way to do this? I hear there are search engines that charge a monthly fee for this kind of information, but I'm having a hard time finding out which ones are good and which are scams. What do lawyers use when they need to track people down to serve them?

PS: For those that are curious why I'm not supposed to contact them, it's because most people say "no, I don't have the time" when you ask them to read your book, but apparently tend to read at least the first 10 pages when there's a book sitting on their doorstep (and if the book's good, they tend to keep reading).
posted by sdis to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I doubt your editor is meaning for you to send it to their home addresses, so - a far easier way would be:

1. Make your list.
2. Find out who these people's agents or publicists are.
3. Get THOSE addresses.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:06 AM on June 26, 2013 [11 favorites]

Lawyers (here in Australia at least) usually use process servers. Generally they need to serve them in person so it's more about finding the person (knowing where they work should be enough) than getting a mailing address. Process servers also have tools of the trade to track people down.

If it was me in Australia trying to find someone's home address, I'd check the electoral roll. Not sure if the same public information is available where you are.
posted by pianissimo at 7:13 AM on June 26, 2013

Best answer: Similar to EmpressC's suggestion above, but if they're affiliated with any universities or businesses, it should be easier to track down addresses for them in their work settings.
posted by katie at 7:49 AM on June 26, 2013

Yeah, as the Empress says, go through their agents or publicists --- more professional, plus probably easier than finding their home addresses, and certainly less creepy/deranged-fanish.
posted by easily confused at 7:55 AM on June 26, 2013

Check the websites of the people, or their publisher. There should be contact instructions available on how to contact them.
posted by COD at 7:57 AM on June 26, 2013

From my experience in the publishing industry, the very fact that your editor asked this of you sends up a red flag. Requesting blurbs is an established part of the process and there is an established way to do it:

1. Directly ask writers that you have any sort of personal relationship with.
2. Send requests to agents and publicists of authors you have no personal relationship with. Expect to hear "No" a lot.
3. Have your agent send requests to agents that they have a personal relationship with.

If the author has a direct contact (email or mailing address) on their website, feel free to contact them that way to ask. But most authors request that communication go through their agent. And you disregard that at peril to your reputation and career.

So, and Empress points out above, you may have misunderstood the intent of your editor. But, if not, it may be a good time to reconsider your editor's credentials and professional standing. I would be reluctant to work with someone who expressed such a poor understanding of the industry.
posted by 256 at 8:02 AM on June 26, 2013 [9 favorites]

Lexis-Nexis is how lawyers track people down. But this is a weird thing for your editor to request.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:11 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'll contact my editor and get some clarification on *which* addresses he's looking for. It's certainly possible I misunderstood. But for now, I'll take as many suggestions as you all have for information sources, so keep 'em coming! Thanks!
posted by sdis at 8:20 AM on June 26, 2013

I have been the assistant to two well-known scholars in their fields who published popular texts. They each got a lot of unsolicted blurb requests sent to their academic offices. Neither would ever agree to blurb something from someone they didn't know/had a personal connection with or who was less influential then they are. They each took this approach because of the many, many, many requests that they got. One was kind of a jerk about it, the other always felt kind of bad. But both would get extra annoyed (and refuse) if it came through an agent. That all said, send requests to offices with a personal note.
posted by Pineapplicious at 8:34 AM on June 26, 2013

It does sound weird that YOU are expected to do this. If a publisher asked me I'd just say no. I'd be happy to suggest some names but the slog work is theirs.
posted by unSane at 9:13 AM on June 26, 2013

It is super weird to me that your editor asked you to do this. Getting reviews is part of the publisher's job. They have some poor editorial assistant do this. Now, obviously, if you have a personal connection with well-known folks in your book's field, it makes sense for you to contact them. But it is not your job to "cold call" for book reviews. It is 100% the publisher's job and I would question why your editor is asking you to do this task. You do not get paid enough in royalties to do this bullshit task (I speak from years of having done this specific bullshit task).
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:51 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

> I'm writing a book, and I just got the following task from my editor: get a sizable (50+) list of high profile people who have written blurbs or reviews for similar books, and get their mailing addresses

My editors asked if I knew anyone who would be good for a review, and also asked me to recommend people who were well-known in the field (which I knew better than they did), but they didn't expect me to get the addresses -- and they were working on their own list, as well. Are you sure that's what your editor wants from you?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:19 PM on June 26, 2013

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