by Kristi Belcamino
Do blurbs mean something to you or are they useless?
I still cringe remembering having to ask for blurbs for my first book.
So not fun.
I was extraordinarily lucky that I happened to ask some of the nicest crime fiction writers in the biz for blurbs, which made it a heck of a lot easier.
Recently, one of my closest friends got a two-book deal and is in the position of having to ask for blurbs. So far, she is doing everything right. And believe me, I think there are many ways to go astray in seeking blurbs.
We've written a lot about blurbs on Do Some Damage, but it is probably worth revisiting every so often.
Rather than blab too much about my limited experience on blurbs and blurbing, I'll offer up three rules I believe should be followed and then a few links I've found on blurbing.
Here are my rules for what they are worth:
1. Read the author you are asking for a blurb. Blurbing 101? You'd think, but I was asked for a blurb I was unable to provide, and a month later saw on Goodreads that the author who had asked for the blurb had just started reading my first book. Doh. The problem with this ISN'T indignation that someone DIDN'T read my book! The problem is how can she know my writing is copacetic with her, which leads me to my second rule:
2. Ask authors who have something- whether it is style or subject matter-similar to your book. For instance, I asked Bruce DeSilva for a blurb because he is a lifelong journalist who writes book featuring reporters. A natural fit, no?
I also asked Alex Marwood, another longtime journalist, because although we have a different writing style (uh, yeah, hers is AMAZING), we both have darker books.
For instance, I would never ask a crime fiction writer who pens historical novels or cozy mysteries. There are a few reasons for this, but an obvious one might be that they won't like my book - it's totally different than what they like. And the second reason is that if I have a blurb from an author who writes a historical cozy, the reader who picks up my books because of that blurb is going to be very disappointed when they crack the pages of my dark, more contemporary world.
3. Be gracious and don't take it personally. When you ask for a blurb explain why. Because I'm a published author is not usually a good reason. I only asked authors I truly admired and thought might be similar enough to not only enjoy my writing but be a valuable blurb.
Here are some more thoughts on blurbing from others much smarter than I am:
The protocol used to be that you only ever ask for one blurb from an individual author. That seems to be a disappearing "rule." I regularly get requests for every book a writer writes, and while, I might love their work, I wonder if they realize if this was--at least at one time--considered rude. I don't take offense as I suspect they haven't been writing long enough to know this rule of manners, but it sometimes makes one feel like a bad guy for bowing out. Usually, I do enjoy their work, but still can't but feel put upon for continued requests.
When did this change? Or... did it?
Oh, that is a very interesting point.
I guess I would be mortified to ask again for another book.
Although I did end up sending people other books they did not read because their blurbs appeared on subsequent books but I pointed out it was just for their bookshelf only since it had their name on it. No obligation whatsoever to read it - just a way to say thanks and have a copy of a book with their blurb on it
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