Monday, April 25, 2011


Pick up a book. What catches your eye first? What makes you want to read the book? The title? The cover? The description? The quotes from reviewers and authors? (Really, I’d love to know the answer to this question. Share!)

Today I’d like to talk about the latter, specifically author blurbs. Publishers believe that if so and so famous author writes up a positive review quote for a book and we paste that quote on the jacket, some readers will be convinced to read the book. I won’t name names but we try and solicit quotes from the most famous and pertinent authors for whatever title we’re excited about. And it is exciting when a Newbery author, for example, thinks your book is worthwhile. It gives the book some clout as it makes its way into the marketplace.

There are lots of questions when it comes to how successful blurbs are:

Does it matter who is being quoted?
Do you know that author?
Is it a bestselling or award-winning author? Does that matter?
Have you read their books? Did you like their books?
Do you trust their opinion?

Just because Author Alice says that Writer William’s book is good doesn’t mean I’ll believe it and buy the book because of that. (And there’s been a lot of controversy about who blurbs whose books although that’s another blog post altogether). I prefer to look at other things—like I listed above—but I discover most of my books through word of mouth from people I trust—friends, those in the industry, other blogs. I guess you can tell I’m pretty reluctant about the power of blurbs, but if you think they’re one of the best ways to sell a book, please do let me know!

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