Question of the day: how much of a difference do you think blurbs actually make?
This is a much-debated question here at Ask Allison, as we've raised this discussion a few times before. Now, with some perspective after a few books, I can tell you that I don't think they have as huge of an impact as some authors think they do. But I'm open to being convinced otherwise. Maybe I'm just old and jaded. :)
When I was a debut author, I stressed, stressed, stressed about blurbs. OMG, was I frantic about them. Partially because yeah, I thought it would help book sales, but in hindsight, I suppose I also wanted some validation from my peers. Fortunately, I got it: I got six glowing blurbs from well-known authors, all of whom I am still grateful to today. Really. I still buy all of their new books as my way of a thank you. Did their blurbs help sell actual books? Who knows. They did certainly help excite my editor and publicist and likely gave me some legitimacy when it came to wooing magazine placements, but in terms of sales, I have no idea. Which isn't to say, of course, that they didn't help: a good blurb is always better than nothing, and in this industry, you can use every leg up you get, but did they make or break my book's success? No. No, no, no, no, no.
Interestingly enough, I solicited fewer blurbs when it came to Time of My Life. I wasn't as frantic, though sure, I wanted some choice quotes for the back of the jacket cover. And rather than six, I had three. And you know what? That book sold the hell out of itself. Was it the blurbs? Well again, I'm sure that having these wonderful, wonderful authors endorse my work didn't turn people off, but at the end of the day, The Today Show and People Magazine and strong word of mouth is what generated sales.
So my conclusion? Yeah, get those blurbs if you can but have some perspective: they're a small part of the package. A nice one to have, but so many other things go into the success of a book, that a few more (or a few fewer) likely won't tip the scales.
But I'm open to changing my mind. What say you?