Book blurbs.You know, those snappy little quotes you see on the front cover of most paperbacks—
“I couldn’t put it down!”
“My new favorite author!”
We’ve all seen them… and if you’re like me, then you’ve daydreamed about seeing one, or three, splashed across the front of your novel—hopefully attached to the name of a few big-time authors.
There are conflicting reports on how important they are. How well they help sell books. How easy or hard they are to get. Who you should ask and how…
I’d like to focus on the who and the how.
Who you ask to blurb your book is important. If you wrote a paranormal romance, you wouldn’t ask Tom Clancy to give you a blurb, would you? Probably not… because it’s best to focus on authors that are readily identifiable to the readers of your genre.
Paranormal romance = J.R. Ward. Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon
Spy Thrillers = Tom Clancy, Brad Thor…
well, you get the idea.
This raises a bit of a moral dilemma: is it important to be familiar with the author’s work that you ask for a blurb?
I happen to think it’s very important. I’m not sure I could personally approach an author whose work I didn’t know and admire… maybe that’s foolish of me, but there it is. I’ve thought about asking authors I'm unfamiliar with for a blurb and I couldn’t do it.
So, I started my search for the perfect blurb on my bookshelf. I write thrillers—makes sense since that’s what I read, right?
I was immediately overloaded (I have A LOT of books…) but then I remembered the last book I bought from an unknown (to me) author and what drove me to buy it:
1) The cover—great use of color, intriguing title…
2) The blurbs. Both Lee Child and Harlan Coben gave Alison Gaylin’s and she was a great blurb.
Great writers in the genre = a sense of trust about what lies beneath the cover. Child and Coben told me this book was good… so, I bought the book. And I liked it. I think people will like my book but no one is going to take my word from it… so it’s up to me create that sense of trust within the reader. The way I do that it to secure a great blurb by an equally great writer.
I chose three from my shelf. Tess Gerritsen, Sandra Ruttan and Anne Frasier (Theresa Weir). I know, I know… my aim is pretty high but when I think about women who write thrillers, these are the women that immediately popped into my head. If I saw a book blurbed by them, I’d probably buy it.
So… how do you ask for a blurb?
I wrote them a short (all writers, published or not, are busy, so the shorter, the better), polite note, letting them know how much I admired their work and just… asked.
I received a very polite rejection from Ms. Weir today. It stung a little, but she was very sweet in her reply. She’s busy, and if I understand anything, it’s busy. I wrote back, telling her I understood and thanked her for her time. The lesson here: if you get rejected—don’t be a jackass about it.
I’m still waiting to hear back from Ms. Ruttan and Ms. Gerritsen. Who knows… maybe one of them will say yes.