STATUS: It’s issues week at the
What’s playing on the iPod right now? TELL YOU WHY MAGGIE MAE by The Pietasters
Are author blurbs important?
Darn if I know. Darn if any of the publishers really know. It’s very hard to determine the power of a blurb in terms of nudging a browser into a buyer when at the bookstore. There are a lot of disparate views on the topic. How does one quantify the power of the blurb?
What I do know is that they don’t hurt and they are used for many reasons. They can grace a cover (usually by a really well known name that readers can identify with). The more recognizable the name, the more power of the blurb.
It’s a time-honored tradition to make blurb requests and they can be done two ways—through your agent (who asks the other author’s agent or editor) or directly by the author to the other bestselling author. However, some bestselling authors make it a general policy to not give out blurbs—mostly because they would be inundated.
Given that, the best blurbs are the ones you get because a well-known author, unbeknownst to you, picks up your book and reads it, loves it, and emails you. Carly Phillips picked up CHEATING AT SOLITAIRE by Ally Carter at an airport and loved it so much, she emailed Ally. Excited, she forwarded it to me and of course, being in agent mode, I asked Ally how comfortable she was in terms of asking Carly if she would be willing to formalize her enthusiasm into a blurb. Carly was happy to.
For Mary Jo Putney, a close friend of hers read and loved FINDERS KEEPERS by Linnea Sinclair and told Mary Jo she had to read it and gave her a copy. (Bless those reading enthusiasts!) SF romance is not traditionally Mary Jo’s thing but she had heard some buzz on the book, had the copy and her friend’s endorsement, so gave it read. Loved it and emailed Linnea. Her quote graces the cover of Linnea’s upcoming title GAMES OF COMMAND, which will be out in the spring.
Another use for a blurb? They make great inside cover praise for the front book pages. I know I tend to skim them when looking to buy a new author. Do you? What weighs more for you? Name recognition of the author or what is actually said in the blurb?
Another use of blurbs is for the marketing materials that are often included in publisher catalog copies, letters to booksellers, sales conference etc. It’s just more ammunition for the sales rep to highlight how much attention and praise a book has received.
Do I think they are necessary? No. Authors shouldn’t kill themselves getting them but I do think it’s worth some effort on their part.