- Target list: check.
- Killer elevator pitch: check.
- Brief bio including previous literary accomplishments: check.
- SASE ready to go to those agents who still request one: check.
Or perhaps you’ve decided to self-publish and everything’s ready, including a cover designed around a gorgeous image you’ve found that perfectly captures the spirit of your book.
It’s time to pull the trigger.
But wait. Isn’t something missing?
If either your querying materials or your self-published cover do not include blurbs, then yes: something’s missing. Something you absolutely can’t proceed without.
Quick primer in case you’re not familiar with this quirky term:
A “blurb” is that little snippet of praise from another author or a reviewer brandishing a book’s cover. Think, “Immensely readable. From small town to the grit of the city, family farm to union factories, the Midwest of Michelle Hoover’s Bottomland is alive with secrets, hard choices, and the acute costs of independence.” —Daphne Kalotay, author of Russian Winter and Sight Reading
Or, “Half in Love With Death is a suspenseful psychological thriller and a mesmerizing coming of age story. I raced to find out what happened, yet longed to linger with this rich cast of characters and Emily Ross’s stylish prose. This haunting story of a teen girl’s search for her missing sister, served up with plenty of plot twists, will excite YA mystery fans.” —Diana Renn, author of Tokyo Heist, Latitude Zero and Blue Voyage
These well-crafted snippets not only showcase readers’ praise of a book, but they also serve a very important purpose long before a book is marketed or promoted:
At every phase of the game, blurbs offer a crucial layer of vetting.
In an industry where where no specialized training or prior experience is required to go knocking on agents’ or editors’ doors, blurbs help distinguish those writers who’ve done their homework by seeking critiques from others more experienced than themselves. They also demonstrate that a manuscript has gone through the requisite rounds of revisions and rewriting and is at the point where a published author can read it start to finish and approve. [Read more…]