Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More on Blurb Etiquette

After I asked someone I really wanted to blurb me and who I felt would blurb me, I found out she only had a month if I wanted her blurb on the cover. Needless to say with her crazy writing schedule I didn't feel like this was fair to her and apologized. Is it worth it to get blurbs knowing they won't make it on the cover?

I wanted to pull this question out from the comments section because I thought it was juicy enough to ask other folks to weigh in on, and feared it might get lost if I didn't.

Here's what I would do (or would have done): I would have still asked said author for the blurb, but with many, many caveats. The first being that you are truly respectful of her time and if she couldn't get to it in less than a month, absolutely no big deal. (I say this to all potential blurbers anyway, since obviously, whether they have a month or six, I'm still asking them to give me their time.) I'd also then include something about how, if she can't make the tight deadline, the blurb would still be included on your website, the press materials and the inside pages of the book. This would then give her the option of whether she felt that reading the ms was a worthwhile use of her time. Why not let her decide rather than dinging yourself from the get-go?

I definitely still have some other authors in mind whom I'd love from whom I'd love to garner blurbs. And if we do get more, that means that someone might not make the back cover. (Right now, I think all six are going to be squeezed on.) But when I asked both my agent and my editor if we should stop soliciting blurbs, they said no - that we'd use them in other capacities, like some of the ways mentioned above. I think - and I'm only speculating here, so please, authors feel free to weigh in- that when you blurb, you do it with the hope that you'll get the back cover, but also recognize that you might be placed inside the book, along with a website, etc. Like anything else in publishing, there are no guarantees. At least, that would be my attitude if I gave someone a blurb...

So those are my thoughts? Would you have handled the situation differently? And for those of you who have been asked for blurbs, how would you like to be informed of a scenario like this? Do you expect the back cover? (I could be totally wrong, frankly.)


Larramie said...

From a book buyer's POV, I place more merit on the inside blurbs. I'm curious about the synopsis and read the front cover flap first so, if a blurb is there, it impresses me. And yes, if truth be told, I've consumed entire novels without ever looking at the back cover.

Sh-h-h, Allison, you need not tell your six authors that tidbit. ;o)

Anonymous said...

One thing to remember about blurbs is that they're not just used on the book. I review books occasionally and when a book is sent to a reviewer from the publisher it includes a letter from publicist/editor/publisher. That letter usually starts off with blurbs, some of which haven't made it to the book cover because of time constraints. But you can bet those blurbs can influence whether you get reviewed or not.

So I don't think it's a good idea to over-blurb, but don't stop just because the cover is finalized, or you have four blurbs and don't thin any more can be used. If they're good blurbs from good names, trust me, they'll be put to use.

I haven't been asked to blurb a book yet, but until I change my mind for some reason that's currently obscure to me, I would not base my reply on where my name was going to show up. If I give a blurb it's because I want to help the author.

Amie Stuart said...

THanks for weighing in ya'll!