Thursday, November 22, 2018

On Blurbs and Blurbing

So, blurbs. You know what they are, even if you think you don't (this has been true for 100% of the people who looked at me funny and said, "Your what?" when I told them my first blurbs came in).

The blurb (aka endorsement) is that little sentence or paragraph of promotional praise you find on the cover of a book (or just inside, or on the back, or on the Amazon page, or wherever). It's written by another author, usually one that has some clout in the publishing world, and I guess its purpose is to show that, look, a legit literary person read this book all the way through and they liked it, so if you like them/if you like books like theirs/if you like books that can be read all the way through and spoken glowingly about, you might like this book too. 

I've always noticed blurbs on the covers of books and wondered about the process behind them—how did this other author get ahold of this book in time to write this praise before the cover was finalized and the book was published? Did that author really even like or read that book or were they bribed? I know we got blurbs for the C+C book, but I wasn't really in on the process and this felt like a new thing to me still, so I googled it and came across these nuggets of wisdom from authors who have gone before me:

1. Asking for blurbs is humiliating and horrible—especially for debut authors.

3. It's not uncommon to ask a lot of people to blurb your book and come up with nothing.

The gist of it: Brace yourself (that's a direct quote). No one's heard of you. You're asking people who have never heard of you to read an entire book you've written and, if they like it, say something nice about it. Not only that, you're asking this of other authors—people who are presumably very busy writing books, beta reading for their actual friends and writing groups, promoting their own work, doing conferences and tours, etc. You're asking them to put their name on your book, which is kind of a massive favour. 

So, okay then. I was ready when the email came from Alicia saying we were going to see if we could get some blurbs for V&V. I prepared myself to get exactly zero blurbs. If I even got one blurb that said, "This book is okay!" that would be great, I thought. And then I thought, "Wow, this is exactly like walking the hallways on the first day of high school asking other students if they think you're pretty, and then if they say yes, asking them, In what way and will you write that down for me?"

Not my thing, you know?

But we did it! (Actually, Alicia and Victoria did it! They do everything! I like them so much!) And it feels like a big enough deal to blog about. They sent out a (very early, not completely edited) copy of the book to some authors they thought might like it and who write in the same genre as I do, and then we waited. They've now begun to trickle in, and it's very, very good for my frazzled nerves.

(My nerves are so much more frazzled than I thought possible at the beginning of this whole thing, which is why if you've asked me about my book at any point in the past nine months, I've stared at you like you slapped me across the face and dumbly said, "'s...let's not talk about that, please." But that's a subject for a whole other blog post because this one is about BLURBS.)