Monday, October 20, 2008

Sorry I'm Late...

Normally, I like to have the blog updated by now, but I was called away to combat duty (read: chaperoning yet-another field trip). I'm home now and in one piece, which is pretty amazing given that there were twenty-seven kindergartners tromping through the woods.

Today I'm thinking about blurbs. You know those little tag lines you read by authors which say, "The best book I've ever read! I love [fill in name here] better than chocolate."

Do you buy books based on those?

My editor just asked me to review a book from our house by a new author and write something up (if I *like* it, of course.) I love doing these because I get to read a book before it comes out, but I also dread them a little....

I know I've done one for one of the authors on this list. Full disclosure: I knew nothing about Angie before I read her book. (Seriously!) We became friends after I got the opportunity to read her amazing book in manuscript form. That's not always true when I blurb books. I have been known to blurb books for writing colleagues I'm already friends with. That can be tricky because... well, what if the book isn't their best? Obviously, I have to say no then because you don't want to be that author that when you see their gushing remarks you think, "She says that about everyone!" But, on the flip side, saying no is bound to get back to a friends, you know? Like I said... tricky.

I sometimes wonder if that happens to Stephen King. I read one of the blurbs he wrote and I began to suspect it was like those trick phrases people use to say nice things about bad employees, like, "you'll be lucky to get this person to work for you." (read: they never did much WORKING here.) What he wrote was, "No one writes quite like [author's name.]" And I remember thinking: does that mean no one is as GOOD or... no one is as BAD???

Anyway, I've always been curious how much those kinds of endorsements affect your buying habits. If one of us on the list says a book is good, are you more likely to buy it?


Natalie Hatch said...

Does this now leave you thinking about the blurbs for your own books and whether they're said for real or just to placate?
I've never bought a book on an authors blurb recommendation, but many from recommendations by friends who've read it. Funny that way.

Angie Fox said...

I haven't had to worry about that yet - no one has asked me to blurb. But I know the standard way to do it is to have the editor ask. In fact, my editor didn't even tell me who she'd asked to blurb until she received them back. I gave a few ideas, including Stephanie Rowe and Michelle Rowen (who, it turns out, my editor had already asked).

Then I went after Tate because I love her work and my editor didn't know her. But it was a bit of a risk and I only did it because I was 100% okay with her saying, "no."

In our case, it really worked out and I got to know a favorite author. Yay! Now as far as whether I've bought a book because of a blurb? Probably not. But I have picked up a book because an author I like has a blurb on the front. And if I liked the back cover copy and my sneak peek at the first few pages, I probably bought it. So I think blurbs help in that respect. And it's always fun to get a free book. :)

BethRe said...

To be honest that doesn't effect my buying habits at all. What draws me to a new author is the taste of the book, if I read it and it interest me I'll try it

Stargazer said...

I have totally bought a lot of books on author recommendations. I started reading Richard Laymon, becuase Steven King says he's great. And it truns out that he is now one of my favorites. smiles*
Angie Fox~ I totally Love Michelle Rowen! I am on her blog all the time! too Cool.

Lilithas said...

I never really pay close attention to whatever blurb is written about a book. Funnily enough, I normally buy the book and then read the blurbs. Sometimes I even finish the book first.

Normally it's the opening and finishing sentences that seal the deal for me. But then again, we're all unique in our own weird ways. ;)