To Blurb or Not to Blurb

I’ve been sending my novel (with permission) to other writers I’ve gotten to know online. I haven’t directly asked them for a blurb, but that is my hope, that they’ll saying something nice that I can use for promotion. I’m also lining up writers to read and blurb (yes, it can be used as a verb) my new Detective Jackson manuscript with the idea that it will help sell it. This is common practice in the industry. I haven’t asked, nor do I want, anyone to lie or fudge or say something they don’t mean. But apparently, this is common practice in the industry too.

J.A. Konrath
has written extensively about the dishonesty in the blurbing business (authors who give rave blurbs without ever reading the book), but now the NY Times reports that a company has taken it to a new level: Blurbs for Sale.

Now I wonder if there’s any point in what I’d doing. Does the blurb still have value or has it become meaningless? Have you ever bought a book because a writer you like said good things about it? Will you do it again in the future?

9 Comments
  1. Blurbs absolutely do help and have value. I do read a book I might not have otherwise read if an author I know and respect writes a favorable blurb about it. I also agree if you solicit a blurb, that you request that it be candid and honest, not just a “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” favor exchange to pump up each other’s fledgling careers. I ya keep it real, it’s a viable means of getting noteworthiness when and if it’s deserved. BTW, LS, if you want a review/blurb from me ever, I’d be honored to read and remark.

    Marvin d Wilson
    marvwilson2010@gmail.com

  2. I started reading F. Paul Wilson because Dean Koontz said nice things in a blurb on the bookcover. Then I noticed that Wilson uses Koontz’s blurb on other books, too.

    If it’s a writer I respect, the blurb means a lot, and I’ll continue to use it as a basis for buying a book, especially one by an author I don’t know. It’s not the main parameter, though.

    Nice website, btw.

  3. Blurbs are way down on the list of things that influence me to buy a book. But if I’m trying to decide between two, I may look at the blurbs. Names I don’t recognize mean nothing. But if it’s a name that I like to read, it would influence me.

  4. Before I had a contract, I never paid attention to blurbs from other authors. They were just words in the way. I only looked at the covers, the description on the back of the book and the first page. I still don’t pay much attention to them when I pick out a book, but know it’s good to have a few on your own book, especially from well-known authors, since some people actually do pay attention to them.
    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

  5. I have never actively solicited blurbs–but I most certainly grab onto any that are given that capture my attention. Yes, certain blurbs have helped me make the final decision on whether or not to read a certain book!

  6. I do pay some attention to blurbs, and you can bet older, traditional readers do. But, what carries more weight with me in the past few years is group blogs. If authors are blogging together, there’s usually a good chance their writing will have mutuality and about the same level of quality as a writer I’m already reading. I’ve picked up more books I probably wouldn’t have were it not for a blog recommendation, or on the merits of the blogging author’s posts. If I like their writing style/ability on the blog, I’ll probably pick up their novel. Don’t think your readers don’t notice your blog posts. We most definitely do! We also pay attention to who you’re hangin’ with.

    Dani
    http://blogbooktours.blogspot.com

  7. Blurbs can be helpful, if from a respected author.

    However, I’ve read blurbs and knew the writer did not read the book, after I did.

    I like a good blurb on the cover of a book, one that hints at the internal writing.

    Vivian

  8. Ever since I bought a book because Stephen King blurbed it (I HATED the book and thought it stunk), I’m not so big on them, but I still think they’re valuable. And whether nor not they help sell my book, getting positive feedback from authors I admire is a huge boost for me. I was also thrilled to be asked to blurb someone else’s book – it was easy to do because it was so well written!

  9. I believe blurbs have value. If an author I enjoy recommends a book, it gets my attention. I’m a bit of a skeptic, though. So the blurb has to sound like the author actually read the book. I think you can tell the difference if you’re looking for it.

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