You're not going to like what I say. It's not my job to make you like me. It's my job to warn you. That's the whole idea of this site. You know the title of this blog and what it means. I've been an admirer and student of the gutsy Harlan Ellison since the Ice Age. I fight back.
Celebrity blurbs can be a real minefield for the new-up-and-coming
author who is about to release his/her prized tome. BTW, soliciting for a
blurb should take place, at the earliest, about three months before
release. These can be galleys or ARC copies of the book. Just make sure
you leave enough time, to get the blurb on the finished book before it
hits retail. The earlier the better, because this little admiration blip
can be used to boost pre-order sales. Otherwise, post-release, it
could cost you or you publisher a small fortune to send out trade or
hardback copies. This has happened to me.
So who should be solicited for a solid blurb? Unless you know them,
don't even bother with the current heavy hitters--Charlaine Harris,
Stephanie Meyer, Veronica Roth, Susanne Collins--and stay
away from King, Rice and Rowling. You aren't spit underneath their
shoes (in a figurative sense--no one hates you). But...they don't know
you; they haven't got time for you and you're a bother in the middle of
their busy lives. That's the reality of it.
The self-published set definitely has to do it themselves. They might
even be better at it than any trade-pubbed author! In fact, I think they
get real good at it and have more success.
Who should send out copies for blurbs? Aside from some exceptions, NOT
YOU (self-pubbed excluded). Successful mid-list and recent breakout
novelists just might give you the time. If you personally know a fairly
successful author, give it a shot. I can speak from experience and tell
you that I've lost a half dozen hardback books that cost $30.00 apiece,
countless trade paperbacks and a truckload of ARCs. I knew these
high-profile authors in some form or another. They knew me. I think I've
had about 35 non-responders (fairly recently) on two books. Not one
single blurb was offered in a span of four years.
My friend, HH, of the W.o.o.L series asked me for a trade paperback copy
and promised a blurb. He never got back to me. He just got more famous
and more famous. Hardly his fault for the media attention.
In 1990, Ralph Nader agreed to do the foreword in my auto repair book.
Little did I know that my publisher paid $4,000 for a page of comments
and then they took that amount out of my royalties. DO NOT PAY-FOR-PLAY
BLURBS. Ever. That goes for pre-order reviews, too.
Why shouldn't you solicit for blurbs?
They haven't got time to read your book--they're way too busy.
It could be construed as a sign of desperation coming from an author.
They might think your publisher is beneath them, or that your publisher trademark is really a disguised self-published book.
They read it and hated it.
You're a bothersome intrusion into their privacy, even if you're fan.
They can get free copies this way without payment or risk. It happens.
You've nudged them too often and pissed them off.
Your publisher should solicit blurbs. Seen in the eyes of the celebrity
author (or whoever), it is more respectful. The publisher is not as
obviously biased or as desperate as an inquiring author. There is more
weight behind a publisher request--more status--more importance. You
might get the email or home address of the author wrong. The publisher
marketing team, not you, should know who to send copies or books to in
If you are determined to be proactive, go ahead. If you have landed
numerous celebrity blurbs by your own hand without your publisher's
assistance, you need to tell the writing world how you did it. I doff my
worn fedora to you. Never mind if you've bought a truckload of books
and tossed them every which way in sundry. Why would you want to go into
debt before your book is published?
Red-shifting out of here. Happy blurbs trails.