Blurb Etiquette

By Louise Ure

I recently saw a quote from Dennis Lehane who, when asked why he liked working with beginning writers, said “I’m a Roman Catholic. We believe in sending the elevator back down.” I’m more of a Roaming Catholic, but I agree with him. And some of that “sending the elevator back down” comes in the form of providing blurbs.

Tess Gerritsen was absolutely right in her blog post last week when she said that none of us got here without standing on someone else’s shoulders. Each of us has some other writer up there who pushed the button and sent the elevator back to help us up move up more quickly.

But it’s a big ask of an author to take the time to provide a blurb.

There’s only one writer I know who gleefully admits that he scans the first few pages of the manuscript to get the main character’s name and situation, and then writes the most glowing, over-the-top rave review he can come up with.

The rest of us don’t do it that way. We read the whole thing and try to write something fitting, appropriate and positive. It’s not easy. You want to focus on the novel’s most intriguing elements or style, imagine what the target audience for this novel will relate to, and then express that thought in an articulate, colorful way that will please publisher, author and reader alike.

Some publishers still do the work of putting together a list of potential blurbers and sending out the ARC’s. More often these days, the author herself is asked to compile a potential list and contact those authors. And that can be a daunting task.

So how do you do that?

In my continuing desire to debunk those heretofore unexplained mysteries of the publishing world, here’s my list of do’s and don’ts about how to ask for a blurb.

DO

Start with people you’ve actually met, or whose work you’ve actually read. If you already have a relationship with the author through MWA or ITW, or you’ve met at a conference, or you’ve corresponded with him about how much you love his work, it makes the sale easier.

Do tell the author why his comment is important to you.  Flatter us. Am I one of only three authors you’re contacting? Have you read my work and so identified with my style of writing that you felt compelled to ask? Come on. You’re asking for six hours of our time. Suck up a little.

Do give the author enough time to read the book. We all have more busy/less busy times of year based on our own deadlines, so giving me a book that has to be read within thirty days limits your chances of being taken on. It just might be my busiest time of year. Ideally, you should allow 3-5 months. (I got a request from a young woman recently who asked me to read her book and then said she only had ten days to get the quote in. “Just scan it enough to give me a great blurb!” she suggested. Can you count how many things are wrong in that approach?)

Do give the author a way out. Many authors will not blurb a book at all if they don’t like it. I think that’s fine. After all, it’s our name and reputation on the line. And it doesn’t mean your book is bad (although that’s sometimes the case). It just means it wasn’t to our taste. But please recognize how uncomfortable it would be for an author to have to tell you that. In your request, let her know that “if you can’t get to in within this three month window I’ll understand completely.” That leaves her with a gracious way out.

Do contact more authors than you think you’ll need. Some will inevitably not be able to get to the reading. Some will dislike the book and not want to offer a blurb. I’d suggest a list of six or eight authors should fill most publishers/marketing department needs and still give you the opportunity to focus on the few you really want to feature.

Do follow up once if you haven’t heard from the author when 75% of your time is up.  He might have the wrong contact information for you, or the email might have disappeared into the spam folder. Both have happened to me.

Do send a thank you note afterward. A thank you email is fine, and if you don’t have their email address, just go to the contact page on their website. However, if you mailed them a galley or an ARC, you’ll also have the snail mail address and an old-fashioned, handwritten thank you note is always appreciated. (PS: I’ve sometimes received thank you gifts like chocolate or a bottle of wine afterward but it’s truly not necessary. We’re happy to help aspiring authors even without the graft.)

DON’T

Don’t ask for a blurb until the work is sold to a publisher. This one’s controversial. I’ve seen a disturbing trend recently where new authors and their agents are seeking blurbs earlier and earlier. At first, blurbs were secured when the galleys or ARC’s were available, and they were intended for use on the covers and in promotion when the book came out. But I’ve had more than a dozen requests this year alone from authors who had just retained agents and the agents want the blurbs to help sell to a publisher! I’ve even had debut authors ask for blurbs to include in their query letters to agents. (A better idea: if you know me well enough to ask for a blurb before you get an agent, you’d be better off if I sent that agent a private letter extolling your virtues. Take one step at a time.)

I don’t know if this practice will now move into the mainstream. My hope is that debut authors, as they begin sending out their query letters, will also put together a list of potential commenters and ask, “when this manuscript sells to a publisher, would you be willing to consider offering a blurb?”

Don’t promise how you’ll use it. Sure, the blurb may wind up on the front cover with your title, but don’t promise that. It’s really up to your editor, the marketing department and the cover design artist to make the decision of how best to use the author comment. Later, however, as your final plans are made, it might be thoughtful to write back to your author and tell them how pleased you were to be able to use their quote on your website or in your promotional material … especially if the quote didn’t make it onto the book cover.

Don’t ask for specific language in the blurb. This one should be self-evident. None of the “if you could focus your comments on the emotional depth of my work” etc. Feh.

Don’t ask the author to print out an electronic version of your manuscript unless it’s absolutely necessary. The author may actually offer to receive your manuscript electronically. If at all possible, do not take them up on it. They won’t read the work on screen and you’ve just cost them twenty dollars worth of paper and ink to print it out. Multiple that by the Lee Child-number of inquiries coming in and author blurbs start to look like their own separate cost center.

Don’t send out your manuscript until it’s absolutely perfect.  That draft of the ms before you got around to a final check for typos will not reflect well on you. (My two favorite typos from recent reads were: 1) the woman who said she “was going to have an organism” if he touched her leg one more time, and 2) the man who ordered a “Crap Louis Salad” for lunch.)

See? It’s no different than that ideal query letter you sent to agents:

1. Perfect your work before you send it out

2. Identify the target audience (which authors) you want to contact

3. Tell them why their blurb is the one that’s important to you

4. Don’t feel bad if they turn you down; they weren’t the right person for the job

5. Tell them thank you.

Okay, ‘Rati, how about you? Your chance to crow. What’s the best (or most unusual) blurb you’ve ever received or given? And readers, what’s the blurb that made you pick up that book you’d never heard of before?

PS: Happy Birthday Obama, you Hawaiian-born son of America!

54 thoughts on “Blurb Etiquette

  1. Catherine Shipton

    Truly Louise, I did pay attention to the beautifully detailed to do and to don’t list…but the thing that looms large in my mind is the word picture that ‘having an organism’ evokes. Sort of when Harry met Sally meets Alien…and pop.

    Reply
  2. billie

    Louise, when I was querying back in 2004, it was quite common to put what were at that time being called "advance quotes" into the query letter. I was fortunate to have three from published, known writers who had read my ms and offered the quotes to me – and those quotes did get a massive, fast response from agents, all of whom said they would utilize them to sell the book.

    It definitely feels like the entire process is becoming compressed – you almost have to have the same submission package to query an agent as an editor these days. It’s not that you can’t get as far without it, but things go at warp speed if there are good quotes from known authors.

    Until the acquisitions meeting. That’s where the book has to stand up and scream for itself. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the etiquette tips – I haven’t asked for quotes for the second ms because the people I would ask have been super busy with their own writing and marketing, and having been down this path before, I’m not in as much of a rush as I was with that first one.

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  3. Louise Ure

    Catherine, I thought you might like that line.

    And Billie, you’re right. The whole process is being compressed. Everybody’s too busy to read everything so editors use agents as their screeners, and and agents are using "advance quotes" as theirs. I think what those advance quotes say to an agent is ‘this is a person who is a professional, who has studied the industry, has spent time with authors and writing organizations, and who is serious about this business." That’s not a bad message to send, no matter how you do it.

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  4. Neil Nyren

    I’ll tell you the blurb that got my attention most. Many years ago (we’re talking fifteen-twenty), I received a thriller submission from a good agent. It was accompanied by quotes, some on author letterhead, from John LeCarre, Joe Wambaugh and Tom Clancy. That last particularly got my attention, because I publish Clancy. So I called Tom up, said, "So, Tom, tell me about this guy." He said, "Who?"

    Yup. Turns out the quote was bogus. So were the other two. The author had made them up (fooled the agent, too). But did he really not think he wouldn’t be found out? That someone associated with one of those authors wouldn’t do exactly what I did?

    Here’s the kicker. Someone bought the book anyway and published it…though without the quoes.

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  5. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Happy Birthday Obama!!!

    Great post, Louise.

    You were polite and left out this DON’T – once you’ve sent the book, pester the author with cute reminder notes like "Read any good books lately?" Realize that sometimes we just have to do our damn taxes.

    And this DON’T for me – I DON’T read rape or torture. Please don’t ask me to. If you have real-time rape scenes in your book, DON’T send it to me. And don’t pretend you don’t have rape scenes when you do.

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  6. Louise Ure

    Neil, that is a howl. I admire his chutzpah, but that’s about it. What an idiot.

    And Alex, those are great DON’TS. No cutesy pestering. No sending the kind of books you already know I don’t read.

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  7. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Great info, Louise. I was lucky in that my agent and editor did a lot of the leg-work in getting blurbs. It was such a fun process for me. I remember being so surprised that these authors would do that for me–spend the time it took to read the galley, then make the effort to write the blurbs. I almost feel undeserving of their time. I mean, who am I to them? It makes me feel incredibly thankful. It’s a great process for building a community, too. I’ll NEVER forget the authors who blurbed my debut. Each one will have a special place in my life.

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  8. JT Ellison

    I love the concept of sending the elevator back down…

    Louise, this is a fantastic do and don’t list. I am going to share this with the ITW debut author class.

    I was so incredibly blessed to have such wonderful authors agree to blurb me. I did most of the asking myself, and it was so hard to go, hat in hand, to do what amounted to begging. I highly suggest that you use your team to help – your agent and editor are always a great resource in helping track down great blurbs.

    And another don’t – don’t get upset and bad mouth the author publicly and privately if they don’t blurb you. None of this is personal, and shooting off your mouth that "so and so" didn’t bother to read me doesn’t score you any points (and yes, I’ve seen it happen.)

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  9. Jeremy Duns

    Thanks for this wonderfully useful post – there’s some great advice in there. I would double emphasise the importance of following up. It’s so hard to do, but yes, books fo get lost in the post, emails go astray – and sometimes authors even clean forget!

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  10. Judy Wirzberger

    I don’t know which was better, your blurb or your P.S.
    Thanks for the information. I’ve never seen anything as comprehensive and succinct.
    This goes in my treasure trove of writing/publishing tips.

    By the way, would youi mind blurbing my new book. I actually haven’t written it yet, I thought I would just see what you wrote, how you describe the protagonist and the plot and then write to that. (Oh and I would appreciate a first paragraph also; you excel at first paragraphs.) Ha
    Judy

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  11. Louise Ure

    JT and Jeremy, great reminders. Don’t bad mouth the authors who turn you down (or for that matter offer insipid quotes). And don’t be afraid to follow up. (I have a 2010 debut author friend who asked for a major-major author’s comment and never heard back from him. Then found the major-major author’s blurb in his spam file … three months later.)

    Judy, only you! Hmmm …. blurb a book that hasn’t been written, and offer me the chance to write the first paragraph! What a deal! Also.

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  12. pari noskin taichert

    Louise,
    This is a must-read post; I wish I’d had it when I was starting out.

    I made several of the mistakes on the DON’T side of the list. Thank goodness people were kind anyway — all except that one author who gave me a blurb and then decided she wanted to take it back and cc’ed me and my editor a 3-page rambling email about her decision AND is now a mega-selling writer.

    Ah, well.

    I haven’t blurbed many books yet though I’ve read quite a few manuscripts. I can’t bring myself to sing the praises of a work if I don’t like it . . . just can’t fake it.

    I will say that a personal acquaintance asked me to read his manuscript for a blub. He brought the manuscript to a very public meeting and put me in an uncomfortable position. Worse yet, the 450 pages (I think) were riddled with typos AND they weren’t numbered.

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  13. Louise Ure

    One thing I should have added, JT, is that I recognize that "hat in hand/what amounts to begging" feeling, but I hope none of us take that to heart. After all, we also ask for time commitments from our writers’ groups, from the bookseller who does a launch party, from the librarian who schedules a book group discussion. And all of these folks respond because they love good writing and they like to help someone succeed.

    Please, debut authors, do not feel like you’re begging when you ask for an author quote. You’re offering us the chance to help you succeed. Time permitting, sometimes we can take you up on that.

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  14. Louise Ure

    Pari, you’ve raised a most interesting question. Having agreed to read a manuscript, how do you tell the budding writer that you won’t offer a comment? What do you say?

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  15. Neil Nyren

    Here’s one other DO, by the way. When I’m thinking about who to approach for quotes, I always make sure that the book is in the right kind of style or genre for them — in other words, if I’m going to tell them that I think they might like this book, I want to be telling the truth and not wasting their time. I’m not going to send a police procedural to a spy novelist, or a bloody noir to a cozy writer. Authors appreciate it if it looks like someone actually took care in their request, instead of sending it out scattershot to a dozen people.

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  16. JT Ellison

    Louise, you put it much more elegantly than I did. I was trying to be funny with the hat in hand comment, and you’re right, it didn’t come across. : )

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  17. Charlotte Hinger

    Louise–Priceless. I’m printing this out for reference. I once had a guy ask for a blurb for a yet to be published book that had "already been nominated for a Pulitzer." It would be "really easy for me to download and scan." Hardly any time involved at all. Actually, it took no time. I refused to do it.
    Charlotte Hinger

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  18. Carla Buckley

    Hi Louise–

    Thank you for a wonderful discussion of how to go about this messy business. This was especially timely for me as I embark upon my own endorsement journey (my novel debuts in February.) What I’ve found so far is that authors are a truly great group of people, and I look forward to the day that I can send the elevator back down.

    As for the reader in me, a blurb that drew me to a book (before Oprah discovered him) was Stephen King’s endorsement of Edgar Sawtelle. I’d read somewhere that King rarely endorses and so when I read what he had to say about Wroblewski’s novel, I had to check it out myself. I was not disappointed.

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  19. Allison Davis

    Louise, I’m not sure I could bring myself to ask someone to blurb for my first book. Does everyone ask (meaning, do published authors expect to be asked)?

    Also, to Pari’s point, god help me if my manuscript is such shambles, but if you don’t like the book, I wouldn’t want you to blurb or feel obligated. If someone gives you a manuscript like that, the kindest thing you can do is tell them it’s inappropriate. Better to know.

    (Louise, When are you pulling all your hints together for a book, eh?), yet more help, thanks so much.

    It’s also Shelly’s birthday today:

    Ozymandias
    by Percy Bysshe Shelley

    I met a traveler from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

    (I learned this poem from my dad reading it aloud at the dinner table…)

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  20. pari noskin taichert

    Louise,
    My standard now is: "I’m sorry, but I just didn’t feel I could give your book the read it deserved." Or something like that. The statement is true because if I’m still feeling frustrated with the work by page 100 or so, I won’t be able to read it objectively.

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  21. Louise Ure

    An excellent and important addition, Neil. Which prompts another question for you or any other publishing professional reading the blog today. Some publishers don’t like to use other in-house authors as commenters, believing that it would smack of nepotism. How do you feel about that? Is it okay to approach another author in the house for a quote?

    And JT, you phrased it beautifully and it came across just right. My addition was just to let folks know that we all felt that way the first time we asked for a quote.

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  22. Louise Ure

    Charlotte, that guy had cojones. "Already been nominated for a Pulitzer?" That reminds me of the blind date I had decades ago who said he was "a Rhodes Scholar," but later said he’d never been to England.

    Carla, good luck with your launch! (You do know, don’t you, that being a ‘Rati brings its own set of privileges? Like writing us to see if we could provide a quote for your book?)

    And yes, that rare Stephen King blurb was worth its weight in ink/gold/myrrh.

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  23. Louise Ure

    Rob, I think you might already know him. πŸ˜‰

    Allison, of course you’re supposed to ask for blurbs for your first book! And I expect to be one of the people you ask. Happy Birthday, Percy B. Shelley.

    "I’m sorry, but I just didn’t feel I could give your book the read it deserved." Pari, that is perfect. It implies time constraints, inability to focus, perhaps not my taste. A whole world of perfectly acceptable excuses without being mean.

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  24. Doug Riddle

    I hate to be the one to sound the sour note here, but I don’t think most readers care about blurbs.

    I think most readers see them as one author doing a favor for another author, kind of an author’s old boy network, and don’t really expect the author giving the blurb to actually to have read the book they’re blurbing. But don’t feel bad, because they don’t believe the chopped up "review quotes" either. I buy at least one hardcover book a week, and I couldn’t tell you who blurbed the last book I bought, nor do I care who is blurbing the next book I buy this week.

    Readers look at the description of the story and main character on the back or flap copy……if it interests them, they read the first few pages to see what the writers style is like……..I have never seen a blurb yet that can trump those two elements.

    (if you know someone who buys books based mainly on the blurbs, let me know….i have this land in florida…….i will cut you for half)

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  25. Louise Ure

    Doug, I’m with you completely. For the vast majority of readers, a blurb is at best "proof of citizenship," if you don’t mind me mixing two topical issues of the day. They say nothing about quality, just provenance.

    But publishers want them. And now agents want them. And that makes blurbs a sine qua non for most new authors out there. Certainly for the first book, and quite often for the first several. After that they can rely on those "chopped up reviews." (Don’t get me started on those!)

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  26. Karen in Ohio

    As an author of nonfiction I was asked several times to provide blurbs, and I always read the books. The nicest thank you came from an author who sent me a framed and signed copy of the cover. No clue what to do with such a thing, but I thought it was nice that she took the time and trouble. But a copy of the book, signed and with a thank you card is plenty of thanks. Some authors don’t bother with that much, sadly.

    I once had a review, or I should say "review" done by a really good friend who happened at the time to work as an editor for a magazine in the field I was in at the time. I was so excited, turned to the page and felt my heart thud. He had clearly not read the book, and his review focused on what he knew about me, not what the book was about. That was such a disappointment. Later on I mentioned this to his editor, and she graciously reviewed the book herself.

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  27. Neil Nyren

    Louise, the answer to your question above is, yes, it’s all right to approach other house authors, as long as you pick your spots carefully. The main criteria are, again, appropriateness — would a quote from this person be potentially meaningful for this particular book — and sparingness — you don’t want to keep going back to the well; you want to make sure the quote counts.

    You’ve actually got two separate audiences, you know. One is the consumer — the person who picks the book up off the shelf and reads the comment (and to Doug Riddle above, you’re right, nobody buys books based mainly on the blurbs — but they can be a contributing factor in combination with the other elements when you’re browsing the shelves, seeing who looks interesting). The other audience is the professional — reviewers, bookstore buyers, book clubs, foreign publishers, and your in-house sales, publicity and sub rights people. For all of those, you’re trying to rev up enthusiasm, separate your book apart from all the other books coming out, especially when you’re in the early stages, and you need to convince people that THIS book is worthy of reading, reviewing, buying, pushing maybe a little bit harder on. The right quotes can be a very, very useful tool there.

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  28. Louise Ure

    Karen, I just logged back on to the blog to write "Yikes! I forgot one of the most important DO’S! You or your publisher should send a signed copy of the endorsed book to the author when it comes out." Sure, they’ve already read it (hopefully), but a signed copy is a lovely thank you.

    And I’ll bet your friend misunderstood the reason you were asking for his comment. He replied as a friend, not in recommendation. I’ll bet I’ve done that once, too.

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  29. Louise Ure

    Thank you, Neil. Sparingly and meaningfully.

    Your additional reply to Doug sheds light on all the other benefits of having recognizable authors lauding a book. If a reviewer or a bookseller or a foreign rights buyer is faced with a hundred options of what to pick up next, let’s give them as much incentive as we can to make it our book.

    And glad to see you here, Julie.

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  30. Alan Orloff

    Louise,

    I’m coming a little late to the party, but thanks so much for this post (and thanks to all the commenters, too–quite a lively and helpful discussion).

    I’ll be sure to pay attention to the Do’s and Don’ts, and, like Carla, I hope to be able to send that elevator back down one day with my blurbing hat on.

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  31. Doug Riddle

    For a blurb to be credible, how about we get them from the author’s agent and editor? We know what their vested intrest is, and we can be pretty sure that they have read the book. And if you give me a short list after their name of who they edit or rep, that to me would give their opinion a lot more weight then another author that I can’t even be sure read the book.

    It stands to reason if Agent Jones tells me that Author x is good, and I can see that he reps Author Q, whoe’s work I really like, then I would think Agent Jones and my tastes might be similar………..does that make sense? (Aren’t we always told to send out our mss. to agents who rep the authors we like to read?)

    Something else to keep in mind about author’s blurbs……I don’t know how many times I have read in interviews that this author or that author no longer reads mystery/crime/thriller novels, only the classics. And I have seen some of those same author’s blurbing books.

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  32. Louise Ure

    Very funny, Doug. I can just imagine the quote "from Agent X whose name you don’t recognize and who also represents these sixty other authors ranging from children’s writers to non-fiction writers, whose names you also don’t recognize!" I think I’ll stick to the system we have now.

    I’ve seen a couple of those "I no longer read mystery" quotes, too. Rarely, thank God. I’d like to think that writers have a curiosity and interest in all kinds of good writing.

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  33. Doug Riddle

    Louise…….good point. But when I said an agent I meant someone like Philip G. Spitzer, and seeing under his name that he reps Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke………..and since I really enjoy their work, then there is pretty good chance I will enjoy what ever book he is blurbing. Sure agents who have clients you have never heard of would have a disadvantage, but then again you don’t want your book blurbed by an author no one else has ever heard of either.

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  34. TerriMolina

    A few years ago (when I had an agent and the dream felt reachable) I went on the hunt for author quotes because my agent told me to. I contacted a few of the biggies I avidly read and got some very polite no’s. One of the authors was fairly new and her second book was about to come out…I think it debuted on the NYT list, so she couldn’t commit to a read. A few months later I contacted her to see if I could interview her for an online magazine called The Scruffy Dog Review. (btw, look for the summer issue coming soon. Did an interview with Toni.)
    After the piece ran the author emailed me a thank you note and said if I was still interested in the quote she’d be happy to give it to me. At the time my book was being considered by an editor at Kensington. So I sent her the book and about four months later got an email with a very nice, glowing quote. Talk about being floored!
    Needless to say the editor who planned to acquire the book left the house for another house (and no longer does romance). Then a lot more crap happened, including losing my agent. *sigh* I still have the quote, the author was happy to let me keep it and use it on my website (although it’s ot there anymore). Now I use it as a header when I query. Which I don’t do a lot of because it’s just too frustrating. However, at the moment the book is on submission at Avon (four months now….not sure if that’s a good thing or not)..so if ya got some pull…heh

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  35. Louise Ure

    Doug, is it pure serendipity or great research on your part that led you to use MY agent’s name in your example? Too funny.

    And Terri, that sounds like a nightmare of backs and forths, but you approached this author absolutely correctly, and never let her turn down dissuade you from reading her/talking to her/asking for an interview. As I mentioned above, it’s a lot harder to turn down someone you know. (And I think that author was pretty wonderful to have come back with a great quote for you.)

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  36. TerriMolina

    Nightmare is an understatement, Louise.

    And, you know, I think I might be in trouble if I ever have to seek author quotes again because I know so many published writers and consider them friends…and to me it would be like taking advantage of our friendship.

    Maybe I’ll just ask a bunch of everyday people to quote for me. Then I could have something like, "Mary Francis, a working mother of four says, "IMy children had to eat Cheetos for dinner because I couldn’t put this book down !" haha

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  37. Louise Ure

    Terri, you may be on to something there!

    But please don’t hesitate to ask your author friends to read your work … with all the caveats above. Give them enough time, give them an out, pick authors who fit within your subgenre. We’d be offended if you didn’t.

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  38. Allison Brennan

    Allison, you don’t have to ask authors yourself. Your agent or editor would–or should–do it for you. Just ask them.

    I haven’t asked anyone to blurb my books. My published as Mariah Stewart to read my debut novel and I am forever grateful that she did and liked it and gave me a fabulous quote. I asked my publisher to ask Lisa Gardner to read SUDDEN DEATH, which I felt I’d take a big step forward in my storytelling skills. And, booksellers have told me that readers who like Lisa Gardner also like my books, so I thought duh, no brainer, let’s find a way to share that with readers who haven’t discovered me. Because we’re both at Random House, it was a bit easier to have my editor ask her editor.

    If I ever ask an author outside of RH, I’ll ask my agent to do it, and she will. She’ll tell me whether she knows the author’s agent well, or the author (i.e. if it’s a Trident author) or whether she doesn’t have a relationship at all, so I know what we plan to do. But unless I know the author personally, or they already offered a blurb when I need one, I won’t ask.

    I’m constantly surprised by how many agents and editors tell authors that it’s their responsibility to get blurbs. It’s widespread.

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  39. Louise Ure

    Great comment, Allison. With both of my publishers, it’s been a combination of them reaching out to potential commenters and me writing them directly. Like you, I think it’s a bit easier if it’s the publisher/agent asking.

    Reply
  40. BCB

    Reading this post and the comments has been very educational. And enlightening. And rather daunting. I will endeavour to keep it all in mind when I reach that stage in my career. [Note: I’m awarding myself a gold star for deleting "if and" from that sentence.]

    Thank you all for sharing your experience.

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    This article is fantastic! Just to show you how the blogosphere works when something is REALLY good– I found the link to this blog on Nathan Bradsford’s blog (literary agent). I thought it was so good that I posted a link on my blog and shared it with my self-publishing newsgroup (2,000 members). Articles like this a real goldmine for writers. Thank you so much for sharing all this great information with us!

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