View Full Version : A question for published authors - cover blurbs?

09-18-2008, 05:40 PM
I am still at the beginning stages of this process. I have an agent, and we're revising, but I haven't reached the "sale" point yet. So really, this is just a question to plan for the future.

At what point do the cover blurbs from other authors come into play? Do the publishers arrange those, or are you expected to collect your own?

The reason I ask is because I have the opportunity in a few weeks to meet with another author in my genre (at a signing, nothing overly personal). I've met him at signings before, but not like he would remember me or know who I am.

Would it be inappropriate for me to ask him at least what his policy and procedure is on doing cover blurbs? His blurb on my book would be phenomenal (not to mention I'd probably squeal like a little fan-girl for the next year or so).

I don't want to commit some big faux pas, but I also don't want to waste this chance if it could turn into something more in the future.


Claudia Gray
09-18-2008, 07:10 PM
My publisher took care of mine. It's not inappropriate to go after your own, particularly if you know the authors very well, but you should always ask the publisher first -- their idea of an ideal author to blurb your work may not be the same as your own. Given that, I would think that requesting blurbs pre-sale from an author who is not an established mentor or friend is probably premature.

09-18-2008, 07:25 PM
Oh yeah, I'm not going to ask him for one. Yet. But I'd at least like to know what process I might need to go through when the time comes.

Michael Davis
09-19-2008, 07:24 AM
OK, here's my take. The first step to attract a potential buyer, assuming you're not a politician or Hollywood flash turned author, is the cover art and the blurb. I can't tell you how many readers have emailed me reflecting how they were attracted first by the blurb (my books are primarily sold on BN.com, Amazon, and other websites) or the cover art. And it makes sense. When you buy clothes, or a car, or a house, or what ever, doesn't the summary and exterior draw you to look further?

The blurb is critical. I spend as much if not more time on the blurb than the synopsis, and I probably rewrite then AT LEAST a dozen times. I have some examples on the cover page of my website (davisstories.com (http://davisstories.com)) and they took a lot of time to craft. Hope that helps.

09-19-2008, 07:31 AM
Have you spoken with your agent about it? He/she might have a good answer. You're probably better including your agent anyway, then you can talk to the author with a better approach. IE, at the signing, you could then say, "Hey Super-Famous-I'm-Your-Biggest-Fan-Girl-Author, would you be opposed to My-Awesome-Agent sending you My-Equally-Awesome-Manuscript for a Sales-Breaking-Cover-Blurb?"

09-19-2008, 03:00 PM
That's probably the best idea, Katiemac. At least get his opinion.

09-19-2008, 07:12 PM
If you actually KNOW some authors, you can definitely ask them for a blurb. Otherwise, I would be very careful about imposing yourself on someone at a book signing or conference. You can, of course, also ask nicely through their publisher and agent. I once asked Michael Chabon if he would read my book and blurb it -- yeah, I was such a dreamer -- and of course he turned me down. He's a very busy man after all, but he did send me a very encouraging letter.

My publisher and I didn't worry about blurbs until the second printing. By then we had enough reviews and accolades to include...

09-21-2008, 10:57 AM
I gotta laugh. Think about it ... everyone tells you it is the first sentence or paragraph that is all important ... then you're told it's the story, every word. But wait, the query letter is most vitally important ... however the blurb is something to put the most work into. Naw, it's the synopsis ... your CV ... your cover letter ... the cover art ...

The end is no where in sight. My answer? Everything, except this little note, is written as if it'll end up somewhere, sometime, carved in stone, quoted on the evening news or stolen for part of Jay Leno's nightly welcoming speech. But you got to admit, it's funny.

Christine N.
09-21-2008, 03:14 PM
I think there's been a mix up here between the copy and the blurb. What Michael Davis is talking about, I have seen referred to both as the cover copy and the blurb - depending on the publisher. I always called it cover copy, but both my publishers call it a blurb. Whatever you call it, it's that little description on the back of the book.

What the OP is asking is about is getting quotes from other authors praising his book. Bigger publishers tend to call this a blurb, others call it a quote.

It's not inappropriate. I've contacted bigger name authors in my genre, which sometimes you have to do through their publisher (it's better if you and the author in question SHARE a publisher, I think, but not necessary) and asked. All they can say is no, right?

But be aware that just because they agree to read the book doesn't mean they will blurb it. I've had two BIG names in my genre agree to read my books (because they're super nice people) but it came with the caveat that if they didn't absolutely love it they wouldn't blurb it. The first book, well, it wasn't the author's type of book - and she made that clear that it wasn't about the writing. She actually invited me to lunch, which blew me away, and now we're friends after a fashion. The other, well, there was problems with the book and I couldn't get it to her in time.

I've also asked other authors and they've been too busy, no big deal. Doesn't hurt to ask. But don't do it in the middle of a booksigning :) .