Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Art of the Blurb

Let's say you are a writer!
That's not a far stretch of a guess, considering you're reading my blog.
But let's assume you are - even if you're not.
Got it?

Let's say you're a writer who has an agent, and has been out on submission, has gotten a multiple book deal from a real life publisher, and you have two books coming out this year …

You're sitting pretty sweet. Aren't you?
It's all up from here! WOOT! Good for you! ;)

Let's say you are in the beginning stages of planning your marketing push for the first book to launch this year, and all that confidence and knowledge you've gained from getting an agent, being out on submission, getting a multiple book deal from a real life publisher, and having two books coming out this year - IT'S GONE.

Poof!
Like a wisp.
You are back to feeling like a complete idiot and a nobody. Just. Like. That.

Do you want to know how someone who appears to be sitting so pretty can all of the sudden be reminded of how a creative business like publishing has a 95% rejection rate?

Blurbs.

Author blurbs are those lovely little quotes other famous writers give to someone else's book.
"A fantastic read that kept me up all night!" - Signed, some writer you've probably heard of

To get these blurbs for my first book coming out this year, I asked a few traditionally published authors that I knew:  "How do you do it? Is there a particular procedure one needs to go through to obtain author quotes?"

I'm the first of my writer's group to publish so unfortunately I had no close buddies to ask, but the authors I approached were kind enough to respond.

The procedure? The "correct" way to get an author blurb?
Just like there is no one way to getting published, there is no one way of getting an author blurb.

The advice I got from the other authors was all different.

Method #1: Have your agent contact the agent of the other writer, and do the asking for you.

Method #2: Ignore method #1, that won't get you anywhere. Ask the author's directly, they respond better to the personal touch.

Method #3: Ask your writer friends for referrals. Don't email writers you don't personally have a connection to - it's like Six Degrees of Separation - "We both mutually know [So-in-So] and he/she suggested I contact you. Would you like to read my book, and if you like it, give a blurb?"

Method #4: Ask your editor and agent if any of their other writers would be interested in giving a blurb.

Now, remember how I mentioned that traditional publishing is 95% rejection?

Well, it's 95% rejection all of the time, for everybody, even if you have an agent, have a publishing deal, blah blah blah - unless you are one of those authors that gets asked to give blurbs (in other words, unless your name and work are widely known by the public), then I imagine, it's quite a bit easier.

But for the rest of us commoners, it's a bit trickier - and I have a truck-load of sympathy for any author out there who is contacting their favorite writers, and querying for blurbs - because MAN -

There is nothing like having one of your favorite authors ignore you.

And here you thought agent and editor rejections were bad?
(Not bad for all of us, I am one of those sick and twisted individuals that didn't mind agent and/or editor rejection - I always figured that if they passed, it was for the best)
…But to have your idols reject you?

That's way rougher on the ego.

Ego.
Ha.

As if this industry allowed one.

Don't get me wrong!
This is a good problem, and any person sitting in this position would be a fool to wish it otherwise - but I just have to say, with each new lesson I learn about the publishing industry, my skin thickens and callouses and my mind grows sharper and more shrewd.

I have just begun the blurb process, and I have 1 writer willing to read the book without guarantee of blurb - but it's a good reminder.

Don't sit back.
Don't relax.
Selling books is a hardcore business.

Even the small parts are hardcore - even a one-line quote on the book's Amazon page which most people don't bother reading anyway.

Just keeping it real, folks.
--Anne