Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blurbing Etiquette

Admin note: my computer broke last night, one day before my new one gets here! Sigh. So I'm working off my husband's laptop. Thus...I don't have access to my pics of our new peanut. But once I do (once the old one is repaired and I upload all of my data to the new one), I'll post 'em. Or I'll try to grab some from my husband's files in the next day or so...but the pics are on his computer at work, so it's all a little convoluted. And another random thought: I was watching Field of Dreams this morning (nursing gives you A LOT of TV time), and is it really possible that the movie was made 17 years ago??? Am I seriously that old??? Anyhoo...moving on to business.

Question of the day: When looking for blurbs, do you send the manuscript along with the letter asking for a blurb, or do you wait until they commit to checking it out and possibly blurbing you first?

Funny, it never, ever, would have occurred to me to simply send a manuscript without asking. I mean, isn't this like telling someone that they have to do you a favor rather than hoping that he will? But what's odd is that this discussion recently came up on one of my writer's boards, and yes, some people had indeed received advice in the past to just go ahead and send the ms without previously contacting an author. And I have to say, I think this is just so wrong. For several reasons. Here's why:

1) If a ms or galley showed up at my doorstep, and I had no previous knowledge of its arrival, to be honest, I'd probably either overlook it, put it aside for when I got around to it, or disregard it altogether. In other words: ms meet trash can.

2) It operates on the assumption that this person is happy and ready to accommodate you, when, in fact, many authors don't or can't give blurbs due to a variety of factors.

3) It takes the personal relationship out of it. Most authors whom I contacted were happy to read the ms, but what many of them responded to (or so they told me), was how appreciative I was of their time, how I let them know that I was a fan of their writing, and how I also made the effort to reach out to them, not just as a writer, but as a potential contact, friend and reciprocal future blurber. To simply toss a galley in the mail and then include a note removes this critical step, in my mind.

A better approach, in my opinion, is to email the author beforehand, explaining why you'd love for him to take a look at your ms (i.e you adore his books, you have crossover readers, etc), assuring him that there is certainly no obligation to offer a blurb, and then thank him in advance for any time he can offer. Period. If he says no, it's not personal. Thank him anyway. If he says yes, drop the ms in the mail. Don't expect a blurb...and if he then offers one, be gushingly appreciative.

So...how have you guys approached getting blurbs? Have any of you ever been sent an unsolicited ms?


Anonymous said...

I LOVE that movie!!!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see pics of the new little one!!!

Trish Ryan said...

I'm contemplating blurbs now. One of my favorite authors is coming to town on tour after the first of the year and I'm hoping to connect with her without seeming like a scary obsessed fan. I agree with you about wanting the personal relationship to be part of it. I'd hate to have an author asked about my book after blurbing it and her only response be, "Trish who?"

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Sara - I know, it's SO good isn't it? I emerged from the bedroom sobbing the other night, and my husband was like, "wow, you really have to get a grip! It's a MOVIE!!"

Trish - Sounds like a great plan!

And Faith - I'm going to try to post a link to Ofoto today or tomorrow. I think that's the easiest solution.