Saturday, May 20, 2006


Jessiegirl's comment from yesterday started some e-mails flying, and now I need some opinions. Of course I'm going to hit you guys up for them. You're an opinionated bunch.

Which author(s) out there give(s) the most honest quotes and blurbs (to keep my ego in check, we'll exempt me from the list.) If you don't have an author in mind, what sort of quote do you find most believable?

Also, do you prefer brief blurbs or lengthy ones? Or, as in other important personal matters, is size not a problem?


  1. Or, as in other important personal matters, is size not a problem?

    Sez who?

    In answer to your questions, I don't usually find blurbs believable or useful. I mean just because -insert big name author- likes the book doesn't mean I will, so who cares what he/she thinks?

    That said, if the blurb is by an author I genuinely enjoy and admire, I might take a second look at the book. If the cover is pretty. :) When I say 'enjoy and admire' I mean someone whom I know a little more about beyond her writing. So yeah, if you endorsed a book I would take it more seriously than if, say, Guy Gavriel Kay did. I adore GGK's books and I have nothing but the highest respect for him. But...I read your blog and if you say you liked a book, that would almost be like a personal friend telling me the same. I would trust the judgement of a friend any day over that of a total stranger. (how's the ego doing?)

    If the blurb says something along the lines of "The heir to Tolkien / Stephen King / whoever" I'd probably stuff the book back on the shelf and try not to draw attention to my overactive gag reflex. And since I don't really read blurbs anyway, I would like them short and sweet.

  2. I don't normally pay any attention to them. Some of the best books I've read haven't had any. I suppose because of that, I prefer them short - they're not messing up the cover so much!

    I suppose if it was an author I knew well and really liked, I might give a book an extra few seconds when I was deciding to buy it or not. But it would still come down to the cover, blurb, and possibly first page.

    Like Dawn Firelight said, just because a big authot liked a book, doesn't mean I will!

  3. I'm convinced the cover quote on my first novel pushed it onto the bestseller lists. It defined the book's place in the genre (SF/Humour) in four words, and that's all it took.
    The more effusive the cover quote the more you wonder how much it cost, and quotes like 'best X ever' look silly a few years later when other, better Xs have come along. At the time I'm sure they boost sales.

  4. I like short blubs. Best ever? All the blurbs for Atlanta Nights by Travis Tea.

  5. "The Alan Banks mystery-suspense novels are, simply put, the best series now on the market. In fact, this may be the best series of British novels since the novels of Patrick O'Brian. Try one and tell me I'm wrong." Stephen King

    That made me buy Robinson's Close to Home.

  6. Anonymous9:10 AM

    Don't pay any attention to them at all. I might notice them after I have the book at home and start reading it. But even then, they are just cover fluff. I just read one off the cover of "Spin State" (great book btw), and it was from and author I really love. But her quote was meaningless and did not reflect the book anyway. She said something about it being sexy? yeah. the least "sexy" book I've read. Kick-ass SF is what it is, but I guess you can't put that on a cover blurb ;-)

    Cover art, back copy, and if I have it in my hands, the first page or so. That's what makes a sale for me.

  7. Anonymous10:14 AM

    I don't pay much attention to blurbs unless it is from a writer whose opinion I trust. I've found that too many are the result of a mutual admiration society that is a round robin of their cronies, each endorsing the others books on a regular basis and rarely for someone out of the group. I'm more concerned with the back cover and the first paragraph.

  8. I don't think blurbs are for readers. I think blurbs are aimed at booksellers and sales people. That's why publishers want them so early.

  9. Which author(s) out there give(s) the most honest quotes and blurbs

    None. :-P Sorry, I take all and any blurbs/quotes with a huge pinch of rock salt.

    The only blurb I'd *kinda* take on face value would be if an author mentioned a book (not ARC) she'd just read, and then went on to recommend it. This again would depend on (if I was aware of) any previous connection/relationship (ie crit buddies, etc) between them.

    Also, while I might admire certain authors, that in no way, shape, or form means we share the same taste in books. Many a writer I've loved, have recommended books/authors not to my taste.

    And let's not talk about the one innocuous blurb given on a particular *specific* book... years ago, that's then slapped onto the cover of every single book release thereafter. Very disconcerting to see this on an entire bookstore shelf backlists. *g*

    Jaye (the long-winded crummugeon)

  10. Anonymous10:25 AM

    Cover quotes more irritate me than convince me to read/buy a book - it's live movie reviews - how do you know what I'm going to like. On the other hand an author blogging about a book will peak my curiosity and tempt me into action far quicker and usually with much better results.


  11. Anonymous11:20 AM

    Normally I don't pay much attention to the cover blurbs, but I'm reading a book right now with a cover quote that absolutely made me a buyer.

    It's the autobiography of Lynne Cox, an open-water long-distance swimmer who set a new record for swimming the English Channel when she was 15. She went on to some pretty burly swims after that.

    Here's the cover quote: "She is fit. She is focused. She is Lance Armstrong with body fat."

    Come on. Who could resist that?

  12. Blurbs keep me intimidated. What if I don't like it? What does it say about my tastes.

    Only rarely do I check the blurbs out, usually only if there is not info on the book except in the blurbs. (I've seen books with no back cover copy except blurbs. Crazy!)

  13. I don't think I've ever bought a book because of a blurb. The only reason I read them is to see which writers do a lot of blurbing. I'm more likely to try a new author because I've followed a conversation about the author or the book on someone's blog.

  14. Quotes... depends on the author. Some authors, the ones that I really like, I'm going to give a little more attention to, whether they are big name sellers or not.
    Also depends on what they say...

    Blurbs~ah, a good, short blurb can hook me into buying a book. I always read the back cover copy, well, when they have it. I hate books that don't back cover copy. That's one of the key things I go buy when I'm buying. But I want it short, quick and concise.

  15. I rarely pay any attention to endorsements on the cover. The cynic in me assumes the authors are friends and/or share an editor/agent/publicist.

    I think the names sometimes (perhaps mistakenly) give me a sense of where a book falls in the genre rainbow, though. If I see one book with an endorsement by Debbie Macomber and another with one by Lori Foster, my mood-of-the-moment may choose one of the books over the other based on the endorsing author's name---going under the assumption that Debbie Macomber's going to endorse a touching, sweet romance/women's fictiony book, and Lori Foster to endorse a fun, sexy romp.

    And yes, I know what they say about assuming. :)

  16. Wow. I was mentioned by name on pbw's blog. It feels like a special award or something.

    For the record, I don't read blurbs and when I come across a book where the back cover summary is replaced entirely by blurbs I'm a little annoyed. I don't trust blurbs because they all say essentially the same thing "This books is great". I'm pretty sure there are crappy books out there with great blurbs. If you can't win me with your jacket summary and first page then you loose.

    I asked the question from a writer's perspective because I know that publishers value blurbs. Hopefully one day I will have to go out and find my own blurbs I wanted to know how it worked to kill my fear.

  17. What I was going to say :
    I don't pay any attention to blurbs at all. When I do notice one, it's usually because I see the name of an author I recognize, and the voice that won't shut up in my head is whispering "I wonder if (s)he really read this." I go for the back cover, and if that sounds good I turn it to the first page to see if I like it.

    But then that same voice in my head said "hey idiot, what if someday you need someone to blurb your book (!)- better not go on record with that opinion.

    So, I think blurbs are fabulous. Anything a publisher likes must be fabulous, right?

  18. I'm a fan of short blurbs that say something aside from "This book was awesome!". Something that sounds original is more likely to snag my attention than something that sounds generic or run-of-the-mill.

    Also, I hate the pages and pages of blubs and quotes prior to the novel beginning. That space should be used for an excerpt from the book. My opinion anyway...


  19. Anonymous12:34 AM

    Cover art, that's what snags me. Otherwise, I need personal recommendations. I'm currently reading The Book Thief at Booksellerchick's recommendation. GREAT cover art, IMO.

    I don't think I ever read the blurbs. Not intentionally. I read the first page, open the book at random, read a few paragraphs, and then I read the ending.

    OKAY, kidding about that last bit!

  20. Blurbs? Don't read em at all. Can't stand them.

    OK, I fell for one. Tanith Lee blurbed The Captain's Witch, by Rosemary Hawley Jarman.

    Tanith said, "One of the greatest darkest fantasies ever written`in any genre."

    The reason I fell was because Tanith never gives blurbs.


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