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Star
03-26-2008, 06:13 PM
Greetings fellow writers,

My writing mentor offered to pass my novel to be blurbed by her friend who writes in my genre. My mentor gave me this writer's novel and said if I liked it, she'd then ask for that blurb. Well...sigh...I don't like the book. How can I tell my mentor this without being rude?

Some of you may think I always come here with elementary questions. But you don't know my history. In the past, I've been honest to a fault when pressed. Now that I'll soon be in the public eye, I have to work on myself. Too many bunions in my mouth, ya know?

stormie
03-26-2008, 06:41 PM
Maybe instead of telling her you didn't like the book, say, "I found it interesting" and leave it at that. Interesting could mean a ton of things. "Interesting that the characters were bland." "Interesting that the plot--uh, there was no plot." If pressed, chose one thing that positively made it interesting, even if it's only one character's idiosyncrisies.

Toothpaste
03-26-2008, 06:48 PM
How much do you need that blurb? I mean come on, a little white lie ain't going to hurt you if this blurb will really help your book. I know it sounds awful, but come on, in the grand scheme of things, whether or not you liked a book isn't that huge a deal. I've had to see plays my friends were in and desperately dredge up something good about it, because it would be so unfair to tell them the thing just sucked.

If this were a matter of life or death, if this was you testifying in front of a grand jury or something, you might have a larger moral dilemma. But this is if you liked a book or not.

Still the "interesting" thing could be your way to go.

"I found it really interesting, there were some moments I truly didn't expect." etc etc

Or you could just lie and say you liked it.

James81
03-26-2008, 06:57 PM
Don't lie.

Read the book again and find the parts you DID like about it (even in BAD writing, there are almost ALWAYS things you can find that you like if you look hard enough) and comment on those things.

Star
03-26-2008, 07:01 PM
Hmm, you guys are showing me that details are the key!

Thanks for your input so far. Allow me to add...

My mentor gave me an autographed copy of the book, along with another book just to peruse. She warned me three times to be very careful with them. I've already managed to spill a bit of tea on the spine of the other book (and I wasn't even drinking it at the time!) and I want to drop these books off as soon as possible.

To be honest, the potential blurber isn't widely known, and though she's in my genre, her audience is totally different - think preppy v. urban. I've already received two blurbs from bestselling authors in my genre, so I'm not really pressed.

I like the idea of saying the book is "interesting," but my mentor tends to push people together in an effort to help further careers. She's AMAZING. However, I don't know how to deal with this same scenario when I'M the author she's asking for a blurb if I don't like the book. :(

czjaba
03-26-2008, 07:05 PM
What does it matter if you like her book or not? She would be the one writing the blurb, right? Or is she perhaps expecting that you'll return the favor someday? If so, that would be for a different book, a different chance to hunt through the pages to find some things you like. But, yeah, I'd agree with the 'interesting' remark.

Star
03-26-2008, 07:36 PM
It matters because my mentor specifically said, "If you like the book, I'll ask her to blurb you." Also, as I've mentioned, I want to get this book back to her TODAY, before I spill a whole pitcher of cherry-red juice on it! So she'll know darn well I didn't read it that fast! (She gave me the book yesterday.)

Ahh, I guess I'm worried over nothing. Then again, I'll supply you with an example of how my mentor means well, but...

A while ago she thought I'd hit it off with another writer who happened to be looking for models to sell her clothes. My mentor thought I looked model-like, so she connected me with this writer. She gushed over this writer, said she was such a sweetheart, and that we'd SURELY connect and help one another. So um, I get to the spot, and the writer gives me a strained smile, then says, "So, are you an ASPIRING writer, or have you had anything published?" She then proceeded to treat me like a worker instead of a potential peer. I didn't expect her to slap me on the back and give me a big old hearty hug, but I also didn't expect to be treated with such disdain. This writer is clearly well-off/status-conscious and I am not. But just because she's black like me, my mentor swore we'd hit it off.

The uncomfortable part is that my mentor continues to bring this writer up, asking me if we've had a chance to link up yet, and reminding me of how wonderful it is to know her. All I can do is flash a strained smile, and nod my head.

I hope this gives you somewhat of an idea of how awkward things are when you can't tell the truth. I'd never dream of saying, this sistah is a snob, please don't suggest we hang again.

Does this clear things up a bit, or have I made things even more muddled? *scratching head*

Namatu
03-26-2008, 07:46 PM
To be honest, the potential blurber isn't widely known, and though she's in my genre, her audience is totally different - think preppy v. urban. I've already received two blurbs from bestselling authors in my genre, so I'm not really pressed.
If you don't need the blurb, then don't stress. Just call the book interesting. If you need to say more, use the different audience angle to sidestep requesting the blurb.

czjaba
03-26-2008, 07:51 PM
I'd say muddled. But I'd also question the mentor. If she is truly trying to help you, I think you should be honest with her. Straight up, but polite about it.

Momento Mori
03-26-2008, 07:58 PM
star:
my mentor specifically said, "If you like the book, I'll ask her to blurb you.

It sounds to me that this is a little backwards. Surely it should be if your mentor's friend likes your book, then she'll write the blurb? There shouldn't be any element of "if you like her's then she'll write and say she likes yours". Although this probably marks me down as being v. naive.

MM

dirtsider
03-26-2008, 08:02 PM
Is there anything you did like about it? If yes, focus on that. Was the book just not your style and that's why you didn't like it? If that's the case, then mention it to your mentor but focus on what was good about it.

My friend and I both love fantasy but have long since realized that we don't like the same type of fantasy. She prefers urban fantasy while I like medieval fantasy more. There's enough of an overlap that we can discuss books, though.

Star
03-26-2008, 08:12 PM
Hm, I'm confused too!

I guess I should've asked is it rude to give back the book the next day? See, all of this ties in...I guess....aw, let me go to lunch and clear my head. I'm going to see Gene Wilder at Barnes & Noble in a few!!! I Love him. Can't believe he's writing books.

Williebee
03-26-2008, 08:24 PM
Tell Gene I said Hey.

He won't know what you're talking about but he'll get that funny, blank look on his face, so we win!

Thou shalt not lie! Our world is too small and it will bite you somewhere down the road. Look at what dirtsider said, look for things you liked and didn't like. Be polite, but honest.
Not everybody "clicks", you know?

If you aren't honest about this, then your mentor may next steer you toward someone else, in the same vein, that you won't like, and we'll be right back here in a few months. Yes?

Good luck!

Twizzle
03-26-2008, 08:37 PM
I'm not sure I get the problem. Telling someone you weren't interested in a book they thought you'd like isn't rude-it's your right to have opinions and not agree 100% with your mentor. Tell them politely, but honestly-it just wasn't my cup of tea and hand back the book. If you don't need the author for a blurb anyway, what's the issue? Your mentor suggested a book, you tried it, it wasn't your thing.

Sonneillon
03-26-2008, 09:36 PM
It sounds to me like you're doing a lot of goose stepping to avoid offending your mentor. While I understand why this is important, I also think it's only going to get more and more difficult for you as time goes on, and you're giving her strained smiles in response to more and more inquiries. There are ways to be both gentle and honest. You don't have to say "I disliked the book". You can always say "You know, I just found it difficult to get into it, maybe because we're really not writing for the same audience. I'm sure (author) is wonderful, but perhaps there's someone else with whom I would have more in common?"

With this other lady, the previous one, you might try, "You know, we had a lovely conversation but I just don't think we're on the same page... I'm sure she's a great person to know in her field, but we just weren't able to click. No worries! I really appreciate the effort you made to hook us up, but I think we can relax on that relationship. No use forcing something that doesn't fit."

The trick is to be diplomatic and smile a LOT. Don't say anything bad about these people or cast any blame. Make it clear how grateful you are for her efforts, and change the subject to future endeavors.

Star
03-26-2008, 10:17 PM
All of your replies are much appreciated, and some quite funny!
I love this line, "You know, I just found it difficult to get into it, maybe because we're really not writing for the same audience."

I purchased Gene's book & he signed it. Oh, I'm such a groupie. B&N is smart. They made you purchase the book before you went up and ogled him. One lady was too cheap to buy the book, and the guard kept having to tell her to clear the area. Yet she stayed put and craned her neck, longingly watching him. LOL

stormie
03-27-2008, 12:09 AM
Lucky you, getting to say hi to Gene Wilder! That's what I like about the city, but don't get there often enough.

Anyhoo, this bothers me:
But just because she's black like me, my mentor swore we'd hit it off.
Huh? What does that have to do with hitting it off? And from what else you've said about your mentor, it sounds like maybe she's manipulative or overbearing. Do you need her? Or am I missing something.

Just say, "What I read of the book (since it's obvious you only had time to scan it), it's interesting. (Pick a character) seemed like another (pick a character from a well-known book)."

DWSTXS
03-27-2008, 12:24 AM
I would give the blurb, but I would say it as: If you liked (name of best-seller in that genre) then you'll love (the name of this writer's book)

You would be telling the truth, in that, someone who liked a best-seller in that genre would like the book...

stormie
03-27-2008, 12:28 AM
Oh, good answer, DWS! I like that one.

Star
03-27-2008, 12:50 AM
Yeah, I love that answer DSW! Thanks :)

Stormie, well...sigh...I'm so paranoid about revealing too much information here because ya never know who lurks. But I do see where you're coming from. :(

p.s. Stormie, speaking of black. I must admit Gene slightly raised his eyebrows when he saw me - I think, in a good way - like WOW, my work has even reached the young AA generation (though I'm not that young)! I told Gene that Young Frankenstein is my favorite. He nodded and said his favorite too. One last insignificant note. It was so weird to see Gene without his full curly head of hair. I know, I know, we age. But old pictures have a way of freezing icons in time. He still has the same smile though. :)

darkprincealain
03-27-2008, 01:13 AM
Based on what you said Star, I read her as overbearing or overwhelming in the amount of help she was trying to give. Perhaps she just wants to make certain she has pointed you in a good direction and as a result is pointing you in a lot of directions she sees as good.

Sounds like an excellent type of person to have around, but it might be a good idea to find a tactful way of telling the truth, and I don't see this type of person getting offended at what Sonneillon suggested. If you say nothing bad about the other writer and just point out some differences which you find troubling, maybe it'll help guide her into being more helpful for you? :Shrug:

If nothing is said, I think these types of interactions in which you have to fake an uncomfortable smile may become more and more commonplace. At least, that has been my experience.

chartreuse
03-27-2008, 03:58 AM
All I can say is that when I pick up a book and read the blurbs on the cover, I've never wonder if the author of the book I've picked up is a fan of the people blurbing it.

I guess I just never thought about it, but I don't see that it matters. Unless you're overflowing with blurbs, I'd simply lie.

And if they expect you to return the favor one day? Just write such an incoherent blurb that they'll choose not to use it.

Star
03-27-2008, 06:04 PM
Just write such an incoherent blurb that they'll choose not to use it.

This is hilarious!

p.s. Funny, my mentor actually gave herself the title. LOL
Don't get me wrong, I love her. It's just that this relationship is new. Again, can't go into details, but trust that I appreciate all of your input.


Lub you all at AWWC! :Sun:

stormie
03-27-2008, 06:52 PM
p.s. Stormie, speaking of black. I must admit Gene slightly raised his eyebrows when he saw me - I think, in a good way - like WOW, my work has even reached the young AA generation (though I'm not that young)! His work spans the generations. Timeless!

I told Gene that Young Frankenstein is my favorite. He nodded and said his favorite too. One last insignificant note. It was so weird to see Gene without his full curly head of hair. I know, I know, we age. But old pictures have a way of freezing icons in time. He still has the same smile though. :) Oh, no! No curly hair? I probably wouldn't recognize him on the street. Except for, as you said, his smile. Love that smile! And his eyes.... From what I understand they all had such a great time making Young Frankenstein. What a cast--Cloris Leatchman(sp?), Madeline Kahn....

Star
03-27-2008, 07:04 PM
Yep, sad to say, there are a few waves left, but not the full curly head. HOWEVER, I'm glad he hasn't opted for the rug. By the way, you should check out his book - though priced at twenty whooping dollars! I gripe because it's a small novel. But I love Gene, so I had to plunk down the cash!

http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Who-Wouldnt-Gene-Wilder/dp/0312375786/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206630241&sr=8-1

Hmm, Amazon has it discounted already. How does this work? *puzzled*

Wolvel
03-27-2008, 08:49 PM
You could say it was different, just not your cup of tea.

Star
03-27-2008, 09:01 PM
Wolve, was that a pun? Did you read in an earlier thread that I spilled a bit of tea on the spine of said book like a klutz? This is actually what brought about my question. I didn't want to hold on to a book I didn't plan on reading!:Shrug:

Wolvel
03-27-2008, 09:15 PM
Wolve, was that a pun? Did you read in an earlier thread that I spilled a bit of tea on the spine of said book like a klutz? This is actually what brought about my question. I didn't want to hold on to a book I didn't plan on reading!:Shrug:

No it wasn't an intended pun, kind of ironic now that I look at it though.

Star
03-27-2008, 11:25 PM
That's writers for ya. ;)

Wolvel
03-28-2008, 02:23 AM
That's writers for ya. ;)

The mind works in mysterious ways, too bad mine keeps forgetting to take me with it.:crazy:

Star
03-28-2008, 05:45 PM
You're clever. Now did you "write the damn book" yet, so I can read it?

Wolvel
03-29-2008, 01:09 AM
You're clever. Now did you "write the damn book" yet, so I can read it?

I wrote the damn book, I just haven't found the damn agent yet:D

kimmer
03-29-2008, 05:25 AM
Here's another twist that you allude to: maybe the book is perfect for her preppy or urban audience (whichever one she is) but not perfect for you. I think that's fair. I have written a book that may not be perfect for one audience but spot-on for another.

You could just say, "This book will resonate with xxxx type of people."

JeanneTGC
03-29-2008, 11:44 AM
Just write such an incoherent blurb that they'll choose not to use it.

This is hilarious!

p.s. Funny, my mentor actually gave herself the title. LOL
Don't get me wrong, I love her. It's just that this relationship is new. Again, can't go into details, but trust that I appreciate all of your input.


Lub you all at AWWC! :Sun:
Just wondering what her qualifications to mentor are. Probably because I'm coming from a Corporate America viewpoint with it, but is she really acting as a mentor or as a networker? Nothing wrong with networking, but that's what "oh, you'll hit it off" is -- networking. Mentoring has more to do with guidance and encouragement, from someone who's gone the way before. Is your mentor a successful author? An agent? An editor? I ask because I agree with those who are wondering why she's asking for a quid pro quo for blurbs -- I can understand it, but it's a negotiator's or networker's tool, not a mentor's. Mentors should be somewhere farther along the path than you are, or else how can they live up to the title?

She may be all these things, in which case, wonderful! If not, perhaps take her advice and suggestions with at least a couple of grains of salt.

Star
03-31-2008, 08:47 PM
Well Wolvel,

I know this sounds pat and sadly cliche, but...DON'T GIVE UP! (Not that you were planning to, I'm just making sure.)

My novel had been rejected by all of the major houses, and the last major house was about to give it the boot too. But an angelic editor saved me from the trash. So keep on keeping on! :)

*disembarking soapbox* :Soapbox:
Sorry, I get passionate about the subject. :Shrug:


p.s. Jeanne, she's more than qualified. A powerhouse in her own right. And by the way, I solved the problem. Gave the books back, passed on the offer for a blurb, and thanked her for the offer. All's well!

stormie
04-01-2008, 12:27 AM
<Whew> Glad for you, Star, that that dilema (is that right? I can't spell today) is over!

One thing: That's terrific about your book, that an insightful editor saved it from the circular file (trash). It's things like this that keeps us writing and submitting and writing and submitting and....

Anyway, congrats!

Star
04-01-2008, 06:52 PM
Thanks so much Stormie! :)
Unfortunately, I got the news the other day that my editor is leaving. I didn't want to come here blubbering and whatnot, but it's truly a bummer. Now I'm wondering what to get her. I've already done my "Tiffany's" research...well, slap me silly and call me delusional. I didn't know a silver bracelet is a down payment on a car! LOL

I didn't want to bother you guys with suggestions, but now that you're here...:D

misterkel
04-03-2008, 09:17 PM
Find something you like about it. It can't be totally worthless (or can it?) Must be a character or a setting or a particular scene. Whatever. Then say, 'I never read this kind of fiction, but I loved...'
Take a PR class before you go on tour. It might help.

Star
04-03-2008, 11:12 PM
Hey Mister,

You're right about the PR class. I am classy, but I lack tact, and can be overly honest when it ain't even necessary, ya know?:Shrug:

Wolvel
04-04-2008, 04:54 AM
Hey Mister,

You're right about the PR class. I am classy, but I lack tact, and can be overly honest when it ain't even necessary, ya know?:Shrug:

Most writers I know are overly honest and a little eccentric. But that is what I kind of expect from an author.

Star
04-04-2008, 05:48 PM
So I'm not alone, eh? :)

stormie
04-04-2008, 05:56 PM
So I'm not alone, eh? :)
Nope, you're not alone. Same here. Too honest, a little eccentric, but also with a touch of paranoia.

Star
04-04-2008, 06:59 PM
Stormie, Wolvel, will you join me in a bit of bunion-tasting? :Hug2:

Am I clever, or was my pun too convoluted? :gone: