Gail Gauthier: Getting Cynical With Book Blurbs
From: Original Content
July 22, 2012 at 08:01PM
The July/August issue of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators‘ Bulletin has a review by Karen J. McWilliams of Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven, Low-cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author by Patricia Fry. In the review, McWilliams describes “endorsements,” particularly from other writers. After reading Promote Your Book, McWilliams realized that “…when an author…comments on my book, she can include free ads about her own novels…Ms. Fry said encorsements should be displayed on the front and back covers and also listed in the inside front matter, another way for authors and endorsers to advertise for free.”
Endorsements here are what many of us refer to as blurbs. For a long time, I’ve realized that writers blurbing other writers’ books were getting free advertising because their name, perhaps listed as “author of Blah Blah in Blah,” would appear on thousands of books without them having to pay a cent. Some serious motivation for writers to wrack their brains for something nice to blurb, is it not? But for me to be thinking that in my cynical and jaded way is one thing. For me to see that other people have not only reached the same conclusion but are pointing out that this is a low-cost promotional technique for enterprising authors is quite another. I am feeling even more cynical and jaded right now, and not in a witty, Peter O’Toolish way.
Fortunately, I saw the announcement for the winners of the Lukewarm Cover Blurb Contest at A Brain Scientist’s Take on Writing, and it made me feel better about being cynical and jaded. Personally, I would have voted for the second place winner, whose entry begins with “This is a book that no one else on earth would even have conceived of writing” and ends with “I couldn’t get through it fast enough.”