Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.
Your career is taking off–someone asked you to blurb their book! Yes, you! No, I can’t believe it either! I mean, out of all the authors available who have better sales and a bigger following and…well anyway, they picked you, so nice job.
This is a big opportunity. Blurbing a book lets you seize a chunk of someone else’s life’s work and make it all about you. Furthermore, if people are asking you for an endorsement, you’re now a tastemaker, subtly steering the zeitgeist toward works of true literary quality. The resemblance of said works to your own books is purely coincidental.
Like any important endeavor, there’s the distinct possibility you might screw it up, thereby trashing not only your own career, but that of a fellow author whose only crime was believing in you. Not sure what to do next? Aren’t you lucky you have me to tell you!
[pullquote]Blurbing a book you haven’t read would be unthinkable, even though it would be impossible to prove, and you’d face no consequences whatsoever. Oh yes, you’ll definitely read every word.[/pullquote]
Step 1: Agree to Blurb Every Book You Possibly Can
Remember when you were desperately begging every author you’d ever met to say just one nice thing about your novel? Just one?! Don’t make other writers go through that. You can be sure that if someone’s asking you for a blurb, they’ve already been turned down by half the RWA. When you come across an author who’s so, shall we say, highly motivated, you can ask for a few perks. I don’t mean anything fancy, just get the author to promise that your blurb will appear before any other author’s on the jacket. You’re doing them a favor, after all, so it wouldn’t kill them to work with you a little, amirite? No need to be pushy, but don’t be bashful either; with the right combination of charm and passive aggression, they’ll let you pick the font and weigh in on the cover design.
Step 2: Read the Book
Now that the author has agreed to your demands, it’s time to read the book. This is of utmost importance, because who would ever blurb a book they haven’t read? It’s unthinkable, even though such a thing would be impossible to prove, and even if it wasn’t, the offender would face no consequences whatsoever. Oh yes, you’ll definitely read every word.
[pullquote]Save your precious brainpower by making a template for your testimonials to make the headache of endorsing a book as fun as doing Mad Libs.[/pullquote]
Step 3: Writing the Blurb
We all only have so many good words in our brains. Do you really want to use your literary wordlotment on someone else’s work?
Save your precious brainpower by making a template for your testimonials. Use a structure like the one below and the headache of endorsing a book will be as fun as doing Mad Libs.
[TITLE] by [AUTHOR] is __________
- an emotional tour-de-force
- a pure laugh riot
- a chilling vision of things to come
- a rollicking adventure
- a non-stop rollercoaster ride (the loop-de-loop kind, even; don’t get me wrong, though, wooden coasters are cool, too)
- more suspenseful than when your in-laws’ car won’t start just as they’re about to head home
- a cry for help
- sturdily bound, printed in an inoffensive typeface
that will leave you __________
- on the edge of your seat!
- behind at the scene of the crime, police sirens rapidly approaching.
- begging for more!
- drowning in your own tears :'(
- staring blankly into the void, waiting for death.
- mentally casting the movie adaptation.
- reaching for a stiff drink.
- home alone on Christmas, defending the house against incompetent burglars.
Do yourself a favor and __________
- buy this book.
- buy two of this book.
- at least pirate the ebook version.
- call up the New York Times and politely ask if they could please help you understand why they only gave the author’s last book two stars despite its obvious brilliance, and could they perhaps run a correction and apology.
- maybe also pick up my book, which is kinda similar and has a 3.81 on Goodreads.
To show that I practice what I preach, I will happily volunteer to blurb your book using the template above. Just think what an endorsement from famous author Bill Ferris can do for your career! You don’t want to overtax your brain, though, so don’t think too hard.
Have you ever blurbed someone’s book? Want to blurb this here column? Indulge yourself in the comments section!