Mad Max responds to M.J. Rose's latest post and talks about letting authors deal with sales reps versus keeping them in the dark.
I'm the last author on earth that you'd think a publisher would let talk to a sales rep, right? Wrong. I talk to them all the time. When I do, I know that I represent both my work and the company that publishes it, and conduct myself accordingly. I always tell the publisher about the contacts and copy them on everything, because they should know what an author is telling their buyers.
Example: the buyer I referred to in this post contacted me directly. I had a friendly exchange with the buyer and copied my editor on everything. My editor and I discussed how best to respond to the buyer's requests. My editor wanted me to jump my schedule and present the next novel in the series. I disagreed and suggested that we stick to our plan. There is nothing that turns off an interested buyer faster than a rush job. Also, I have confidence in the work, as well as the level of interest. It'll all still be there in eight weeks, when we're actually ready to present the next novel. My editor agreed with my logic and went with my advice (yes, that does happen. The writer/editor relationship never has to be a one-way street.)
As to whether authors should be permitted to have regular contact with the sales reps, I think that should be up to the sales reps. Otherwise they're going to spend more time answering e-mails and calls and less time selling our books.