Here’s the scoop on author blurbs: start early. Obtaining endorsements for a book is an author job they don’t tell you about in Writing 101. When my ARCs came in, (Advanced Reader Copies made from uncorrected proofs), my editor asked me for names of authors to contact for blurbs.
The second thing I will say about soliciting blurbs is you can’t start too early. By the time the ARCs were ready, there was just over a month for authors to read my book and write a blurb in order to meet my publisher’s deadline. Of all the authors I queried, those with whom I had some kind of connection agreed to try to accommodate my request. Those who generously provided their endorsement–and I love them–were able to do so because they squeezed my request into their already crushing workload of writing, promotion, and let’s not forget–holiday chaos. Soliciting author blurbs five years before your book’s publication is not too early. I sent Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club, an email in 2006, asking if she’d be willing to read my book.
Karen Joy Fowler. Right.
She was busy at the time. But she remembered me two years later when we met at Squaw Valley Writers’ Conference. And she was still busy. But three years after the conference, when I resurfaced with a publishing contract, she found an opening in her schedule.
Take away point: Start early.
Although no one has asked me for a blurb, I’m practicing just in case. Here’s how I would blurb some of the books I’ve read lately:
- Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. I couldn’t put it down.
- The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent. The most beautifully written book I’ve ever read. And I couldn’t put it down.
- Nocturne by Syrie James. Fantastic escape: four days in a snowstorm with a vampire who reminded me of Mr. Darcy. I didn’t want to come home!
- Mamalita by Jessica O’Dwyer. Now I know how it feels when a book reaches out and blesses the reader. The ending was exquisite.
- Friday Mornings at Nine by Marilyn Brant. Delicious vicarious adventure! I’ll never meet friends for coffee without remembering this story.
- Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. I love this book! Engaging characters, compelling story, and a trip to India.
- Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd. My favorite characters return to the page in an engaging mystery. Jane lives!
- Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff. Facinating reading adventure: to be a fly on the wall at Cleopatra’s house.
- The Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore. This engaging literary fiction taught me how much more innocence one has to lose when coming of age post 9/11.
You, too, can blurb books! What have you read lately that deserves your endorsement? Leave your blurb in the comment section.
To read the blurbs for My Jane Austen Summer, click here.