by Lev Raphael
Take blurbs. Begging for blurbs for your forthcoming book is a definite downside of being published. It’s humiliating to have to grovel for them rather than have your publisher take care of it. You can feel like Dorothy menaced in Oz.
Far too many authors think blurbs will magically rocket a book to success. That the right, brilliant blurb by Author X will impress the publisher, readers, reviewers–and of course our friends, family, and fans.
But do blurbs really make a difference in terms of sales? It’s hard to say. How can you quantify a blurb’s impact?
What you can be sure of is that not getting a blurb you hope and pray for is a major buzz kill, and getting it is like July 4th on steroids. The entire world is ablaze with joy. Someone famous, or at least someone you admire, has given you their blessing. That name is on your book–won’t their fame be contagious?
Is it any wonder blurbs make us writers sometimes get a little frantic? A writer friend told me a hilarious, sad story about a new author asking a national best-selling author for a blurb. I can’t name the celebrity writer, but she’s huge.
The newbie waited and waited. No response. So the anxious author tried again. This time she got a swift and stinging reply:
“My Dear: I understood your letter to be a request, not a demand.”
I sympathized with the celebrity author feeling put upon, but I felt sorry for the writer who was embarrassed and wished The Famous One had simply said “no” the first time.
Stories like that have made me determined never to ignore a request from an author asking for a blurb. If I can’t do it for whatever reason, I always reply. I don’t want to waste someone else’s time. Will my blurb make a difference if I’m able to do it? I hope so, even for a little while, and that’s good enough.
Guest post contributed by Lev Raphael. Lev is the author of Writer’s Block is Bunk and 24 other books in genres from memoir to mystery which you can find at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Check out more of Lev’s work on his blog, Writing Across Genres.