Thursday, March 24, 2005

Mail Bag: Blurbs and Quotes

Got a great letter today from Sara C. who asks: How did you get people to read your book and write blurbs? Did you do that or did the publisher engage them? I'm curious.

Actually, Sara's a friend from a writer conference we attended together last summer, so I won't even pretend to do the fake "Well, Sara..." answer.

The blurb process is part publisher initiative, part writer initiative. Once the book was accepted for publication, the publisher asked me for my "dream" list and my "real" list of people I'd like the manuscript sent to for consideration. My publisher also asked which folks from the list I already have a relationship with, so that both of us could approach the writers in question.

Publisher sends out the manuscripts about nine months to a year ahead of publication, asks if the person would consider reading and blurbing the book, and give a deadline by which they'd like the blurb back. I also write, call, talk to the people on my list who I know and ask if they'd consider a blurb. You also tell them how much you love their work, thank them for their time and consideration, blah blah blah. Then, it's a waiting game.

So far I've gotten some great blurbs for DOWN FOR WHATEVER. I want to share them with you and publicly thank those who have blurbed me so far for the cover:

  • "Fresh, funny and real..." -- Monica Palacios, writer and actress, The Original Surfer Chola
  • "Few write with more honesty or so entertainingly." -- Jervey Tervalon, author, The Cocaine Chronicles and Understand This
  • "A must read! Offers layered and complex portraits of L.A., and African American and Latino gay men devoid of stereotypes and cliched sentimentalities." -- Rev. Irene Monroe, religion columnist, In Newsweekly and Queer Take
  • "DOWN FOR WHATEVER is a fabulous romp of colliding egos and cultures, longing and lust, and most of all, friendship. An absolute delight to read." -- Kerry Madden, author, Gentle's Holler
  • "An exhilarating debut... smart, sexy, hip, painfully honest, and wickedly funny." -- Denise Hamilton, author of the bestselling Eve Diamond crime novels.

A couple of blogs I read say blurbs only matter to the writer and to others involved with publishing, and that real people don't care at all. That in fact, real people and readers see blurbs as misleading or something. I love blurbs and always look at them before considering a book purchase. But, then again, I'm a writer. Maybe I've proven my point.

I've been fascinated lately with the idea of "real people" readers -- those who aren't writers, connected in publishing, blah blah blah. What makes them buy a book? And when they do, what makes them consider the titles they purchase or read? I sometimes think publishing misses the mark by only targeting the demographics perceived as the book buying market. Book buying may be considered a "leisure class" privilege, but there's a whole 20 - 30 something, hip/urban, progressive, and of color, who don't read or buy books, but I think would if more were written they could identify with, instead of a lot of artsy, over-your-head material out there. Nothing against artsy or over-your-head...

Anyway Sara, I hope I answered your questions about blurbs.

Though I'm no expert, I am a first-time and newly-published author and have a little insight. Send more questions. I'll do the best I can.

fs

1 comment:

Trent Jackson said...

Thank you for that bit! I have been trying to get people to blurb me and they take forever or act shady.

So Fred...can I call in a favor?