Monday, September 20

Blurbing A Book: What It Is, What It Means, And Other Questions

Lets start.

I began talking a bit about blurbs on books over yonder hills at Twitter, and it ended up being clear that a lot of folks, even other authors brand-new to this entire CHAOS CIRCUS, do not even completely comprehend them. Its possible theyre some kind of Idea Virus, some Memetic Parasite and we authors have been passing them around from book to book?

Note that I am not ensured to know what Im discussing, and absolutely nothing I say should be thought about Writ Law on any such matter. Whatever I say is as unfirm as pudding. Mm. Pudding.

What the hell is a blurb?

Yeah, thats a blurb. Often you get a real expensive one on the front cover. Sometimes its not from other authors, but from pre-reviews like from NPR or Washington Post or some such. You might see others on the back cover, and then often a lot more inside the book.

” THIS MADE MY NIPPLES SING LIKE HAPPY CRICKETS, A TRUE TOUR DE FORCE”– Chnurk Mandog, Topeka Times Bestselling Author of 151 Ways To Eat Ghosts.

Its a dreadful word, for one. Like BLOG, BLURB just sounds fucking weird. BLEURB. BLOOORB. BLIRRRRB. Anyhow, what it really is, besides an unusual word, is– well, you know how you take a look at a book and its got some remark on the cover from another author? Like–.

Wait, I thought a blurb was the books description?

Uhhh yeah thats also real. The thing we in some cases call flap copy, cover copy, back cover copy, or just the “book description,” individuals likewise call a book blurb. Since I guess fuck you, thats why? Shrug.

How does one get a blurb?

You ask. Or somebody asks on your behalf, which is perfect. An agent, editor or authors asks the author– sometimes by means of their agent or editor– to take an appearance at the book and provide a sassy, marketing-speaky line of text about a book.

How do you choose to get blurbs?

Preferably, an editor states, “Heres a list of who we believe might blurb this, do you have any names to add/subtract,” and then theyre the ones who send out the message, HEY, CHNURK MANDOG HAS A NEW BOOK ITS FULL OF WORDS THAT DEMAND YOUR MARKETING-FRIENDLY SONG OF PRAISE. Once again, in that perfect publishing world, the authors are largely gotten rid of from the exchange.

How much time do you get to read and offer the blurb?

Frequently, not adequate time, if Im being a little complainy. When in a while, even less.

Is there compensation for a blurb? Is it paid?

No. Gods, no. That d be some hinky company. Im sure some authors have actually treated their blurbers to some sort of reward, by proxy– HERE IS CANDY, you might say, since authors are generally kids and kids like candy. I have actually never provided, nor got, sweet or other settlement for blurbs. * wink just put the bag of cash under the park bench marked with the Ancient Wendig Sigil and then the following Tuesday appearance in the hollow birch tree for the fairy that will hand you the blurb ha ha just kidding thats not a thing wink *.

So, you do it for someone, and then they return a blurb to you one day?

My view is that blurbs ought to never be transactional– as in, its not tit-for-tat, not scratcha-my-back-scratcha-you-back, its simply a thing you do due to the fact that you like books and you value a strong bookish community. We like to share Book Love and if we can do so in a rewarding main capability, fantastic. You do it since YAY BOOKS, YAY AUTHORS.

What is the worth of a blurb?

Im informed that theres an inside baseball industry function– as in, an outlet may be most likely to examine the book if they see a blurb by a Chosen Author, or perhaps that assists goose book shop orders. Once again, if theres a practical, numbers-based reality to this, I dont know what it is.

I have no idea. Meaning, I do not know how much it moves the needle on sales. Theyre great to have. I like them. Possibly theres something to it– definitely if I see a blurb from an author I like, it a minimum of gets me to take a look at a book. But I cant say how much it impacts real sales.

Do you really check out the books you blurb?

And Ive likewise heard that not all authors even compose their blurbs. Ive heard inform of editors or representatives writing the blurbs for them. That would still mean the author has actually read the book, and if they have not and simply sub out the task to an agent or editor … well, thats unusual.

To be clear, Ive never ever had my representative or any representative or editor recommend doing this. My practice is, I make up a blurb and I like to make sure that editors and authors more than happy with it, and I note they are totally free to massage it as they see fit, provided I authorize the result before it goes in or on a book.

To be clear, and very sincere, though I do read every book, often I am forced to read them really rapidly, which is to state, not as well or as thoroughly as I d like– Im a slow reader by nature and if you dont offer me as much time to read it as I desire, I do my best to pace and race through. I read them begin to finish and blurb accordingly if I liked it.

Do you blurb every book youre sent?

Gods, no. Im a slow reader, and this Current Era of Aerosolized Horseshit has actually put a serious drag on my reading time. Further, not every book is for me, nor am I for each book.

What if you dislike a book?

I do not think Ive ever actively disliked a book Ive been sent out for blurbage functions– however Ive definitely had some where I felt, as noted, this book just isnt for me, and its not clicking. If thats the case, you just let the asker know whats up. You can politely decline, or state, this just isnt for me, and I like to think thats alright. The truth is, however, many books Im sent I do not blurb, and the reason I do not blurb then isnt because of the material, however because of the absence of time to read them.

Real-talk, blurbing feels a little like homework. “Here is a book you have to read in three weeks, and I require your micro-review by then.” Theres a little bit of pressure and discomfort to that, at least for me. Other authors may find their mileage varies. Just the very same, I should likewise note its an honor, at the same time, to be asked. It can be both things, because in some cases thats how life works. I constantly attempt, and I dont constantly arrive.

Exist ever hurt feelings over that?

I expect fully that any who get my book wont blurb it, and again, for factors beyond me. Its because it didnt click, or they didnt have time, or whatever. Once again, I think its why its finest to remove any sense of “deal” out of it and why its best when the author isnt part of the exchange– that dulls any potential discomfort.

How numerous blurb requests do you get?

Me? It ranges from one to 4 a week, generally.

Are there expectations carried by an authors endorsement on a book?

Are you happy of any specific blurbs?.

Hell, that Rin Chupeco blurb for Wanderers is * chefs kiss * good. Like, that blurb is ART. (See above).

( But those arent revealed yet shh.).

A good and complicated concern. For my extremely first book, I had among the blurbers react back rather nicely that they adored the book (the book in question being BLACKBIRDS), but because they didnt write books like that, they werent going to blurb because they hesitated it would send the wrong message to their readers. And I bristled at that, at initially, however then I kinda got it. If a tough sci-fi author blurbs a thriller, theres a danger– though what size of threat, I do not know– that readers will see that, get the book, and after that be salted that the book in question had no science-fiction components. I believe particular authors who write throughout categories may have a simpler time with this, but I dunno. Once again, I dont know how severe a problem that is, but I do understand that if I blurb a book, individuals seeing my name may not simply intuit that I believe its a book of quality however that the book remains in some way like mine. Unreasonable? Probably. Real simply the very same? Shrug.

Well, I indicate, listen, Im really excited anytime any other penmonkey is like, HEY THIS RILL GUD, since … thats simply nice. They do what I do, and its great to have that feedback. You hope and presume its genuine. Its especially cool when its someone you relate to well. If I had a blurb from authors I matured reading, like Robin Hobb, or Joe Lansdale, or Stephen King– I d absolutely print that shit out and hang it on the refrigerator. For eternity, or a minimum of until the next fridge. I am particularly pleased to have a blurb from Erin Morgenstern, who is a friend and though one might assume that indicates the blurb remains in some way transactional or “who-you-know,” she somewhat famously does not prefer to blurb books by buddies, so the fact that she felt Wanderers was of unique adequate note to make the blurb regardless felt extra special. But all the blurbs on that book thrill me, since people put in the time to read this 80-million page book and … then say nice stuff about it. Its always an honor.

( I also have a couple blurbs in for Book of Accidents that, to be truthful, are currently pretty thrilling.).

Do you blurb self-published books?

Im not opposed to it, though Im hardly ever asked, and generally speaking I d prefer to know you first, and have some semblance of a relationship/online relationship with the author, because self-pub can stroll all over the map in regards to quality. Mainly I dunno that blurbs on self-pub books are even that much of a thing?

Do you blurb books that arent yet sold to a publisher?

It sets up harmful precedent, asking authors to blurb books that havent even been vetted and edited, and also only further entrenches a WHO-YOU-KNOW problem. It is a waste of time for the authors asked, and also a problematic ask for the author asking, too– it runs the risk of them burning bridges just as theyre getting developed.

What makes an excellent blurb?

I have no concept. I try to stroll that line between ooh attracting and here is a specific feature of this book and here are generic cool things people respond to. In some cases you do that thing where you compare it to other popular example stories like, “Its like One Tree Hill and Blade Runner had a book baby!” or, “Fans of Ernest Goes to Camp will like this!” There are also lots of duplicated words– Unputdownable! Trip de force! Magnifitrillifocent! Okay I possibly made that last one up. Its enjoyable to say, however.

Because thats what Im saying every time, I primarily want I could simply put YEAH I LIKED THIS A LOT YOU SHOULD READ IT.

Does every book get blurbs?

Like this:.
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At a particular level, authors stop getting blurbs. You ascend to a special location where no blurbs matter, due to the fact that you currently offer a Gorgillion copies. I think launchings are most likely the most crucial location you find them.

And I believe thats it, for now.

Poop em in the comments below if youve more blurb-related concerns.

The thing we sometimes call flap copy, cover copy, back cover copy, or just the “book description,” individuals also call a book blurb. For my extremely first book, I had one of the blurbers respond back rather nicely that they adored the book (the book in concern being BLACKBIRDS), but due to the fact that they didnt write books like that, they werent going to blurb because they were scared it would send out the incorrect message to their readers. If a tough sci-fi author blurbs a thriller, theres a threat– though what size of threat, I do not know– that readers will see that, choose up the book, and then be salty that the book in concern had no science-fiction aspects. Again, I do not know how major a problem that is, but I do understand that if I blurb a book, individuals seeing my name might not just intuit that I think its a book of quality but that the book is in some way like mine. All the blurbs on that book thrill me, due to the fact that individuals took the time to read this 80-million page book and … then say nice stuff about it.

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