A small avalanche of e-mail requests have recently come in asking me for quotes and recs here on PBW, or asking me why I chose so-and-so's novel, how come I wrote this or that, etc.
Making endorsements is tough for me. For one thing, I'm still new at it, and I have no procedure to follow. I'm still fumbling with how to do it, as well as how often, for whom and so forth. I'm also aware of a certain freak value being attached to me because of past endorsements, so I'm getting even more leery about making them.
I can't write glowing, artfully worded blurbs. You know, the ones that sound a lot like those intimate scenes from certain romance novels where actual sex acts, body parts, and fluids are never mentioned, but lots of euphemisms throb and bud and dampen? Right. Can't do that. So my endorsements take a lot of time and thought, and still tend to be, shall we say, colorful. This makes editors nuts, btw, and some of them want to reword my quotes to be thus glowy and arty, which is also something I generally nix, creating even more headaches for all involved.
I also go out on numerous limbs when I endorse something. I know plenty of writers who don't sweat it, but personally, I put my rep on the line every time I do. My attitude is that I'm asking people to spend money based on my word, and that's something I take very seriously. To combat the rampant cronyism out there, I prefer to endorse writers who are total strangers to me, but in one instance that came back to bite me on the ass, so that's always a risk, too. This is all why I don't toss out quotes and recs like handfuls of confetti.
As far as reading manuscripts goes, I truly am quoted out at present. I don't intend to stop forever but my batteries need some recharging. I still recommend books here, and I'll keep doing that as I come across books I think you'll enjoy. There is no agenda. I'm a reader, you're readers, and I'll let you know when I find something I think is worth your time and money and then some.
There are good reasons to endorse other writers, and it's not simply to help them out. For example, this came in e-mail this week (posted with permission):
You certainly are doing something right! Your recommendation for Nightlife was right on. The book is slick, scary and YUM. I can hardly tear myself away from reading it to write this, and I can't wait to see what the audacious midpoint surprise that you mentioned turns out to be. If the rest of the book delights me as it has so far, I'll definitely be putting the word out. :) --Suzy
There are a couple of great things about what Suzy wrote. One is that she apparently got sucked into the book as quickly as I did. She's endorsing my endorsement, so to speak. The other is that despite the fact that I have recommended Nightlife, and she's reading a free copy, she's still reserving judgment until she finishes the book. Suzy is not a pushover or a suck-up, and I respect that. As reader responses go, this one is damn near perfect. As in, this is exactly what I want when I quote or rec something.
Let me point out one more thing to dispel some odd assumptions. I cannot make anyone into another J.R. Ward by the awesome power of my super endorsement of their book. Guys, my endorsements aren't that awesome or powerful or super. Nothing I did made J.R. Ward a success.* She accomplished that all on her own with her talent, imagination and hard work. Don't make me into some kind of rabbit's foot for books. I'm not.
Questions, thoughts, opposing opinions? Please post them in comments.
*I reserve the right to occasionally gloat about being SO right about her, though.