As an author, I probably don’t view blurbs like an average reader. Heck, I’m not sure that I view books like an average reader – first, I check out the publisher, then I read the acknowledgements to see whom I might know, then, if I’m really curious, I’ll google the writer to learn more about her history, her book deal, her life. But this is all beside the point. Today, we’re chatting about blurbs, or, for the uninitiated, those quotes on the backs of books that sing the praises of the words inside.
Now, it’s a long-whispered secret in the literary world that blurbs are often nothing more than cashed-in favors, an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” scenario, in which one author agrees to laud another author’s work in exchange for a bit of publicity on the back of the book or for a future favor. Whether or not this is often true, I’m not sure, but I do know that in my case, this cynical application didn’t hold. In fact, to garner blurbs for The Department of Lost and Found, I emailed authors whom I thought might be interested in my material and asked them (very politely) to take a peek. Some didn’t have the time, some didn’t give blurbs as a rule, but many of them did write back and say, “Sure, if I like the book, I’m happy to endorse it.” And a few weeks later, they did. There were no secret handshakes or promises for reciprocation, though certainly, I am grateful to these authors, and should I ever be asked to help them out in some way, I’d do so in a heartbeat. [Read more…]