Monday, September 24, 2007

"Best Book Ever" Says Author's Mother

I used to have a silly fantasy about getting a cool cover quote from a really famous author that read, "Doesn't suck," Stephen King, author of LATEST NOVEL and "Couldn't get enough of it! By far the best book in the entire world," Rita Hallaway, Mother of Author. But, you know, my sense of humor doesn't sell books....

My question is: do cover quotes?

I will admit that sometimes a good cover quote will help put a book over the top for me. However, I've usually gotten pretty far with a book if I'm reading the cover quotes. I already have in my hand either because the title or the cover intrigued me or the book was shelved under "managers' hard SF picks!" or someone --usually my partner -- handed me the book and said, "Check this out."

I'm also on the look out for what I call "suspect" blurbs. You know the ones that don't really say anything or say things that could be construed as a subtle slam, ala (and this a real quote I found once) "No one writes quite like [blank]." My partner who read the book in question later said she figured what famous author must have meant was "No one writes quite as badly as [blank]." I'm also nervous of any quote that has too many ellipses, ala "This book... number one... fabulous!" Makes you wonder if the original read "This book [is no where near] number one; [it's so bad that I wonder why anyone would call it] fabulous!"

Yet, my editor gets really excited about cover quotes. I met MaryJanice Davidson (author of UNDEAD AND UNWED) at MBA, a booksellers' trade show and introduced myself as a fellow Berkley author with a new vampire book coming out. I asked her if it would be okay for my editor to send her my book for potential blurb. When I told my editor, she was thrilled -- and doubly so when a very positive quote came back. My editor also updated me weekly with the various paranormal romance superstars that agreed to blurb me. Clearly, for her, getting these kinds of quotes was extremely important to the selling of my book.

Personally, I'm a bit unconvinced, if only because people have used *me* to sell books. I read and blurbed a great book called WISH CLUB by Kim Strickland. But, given how new I am to the romance field, who on earth thinks anything I might say about a book would help sell it?

And what about that? Do you ever get turned off a book because you've never read the author who blurbed the book (or find out that the quote comes from a writing spouse)?


Melanie A. Howard said...

I don't generally read blurbs, to be honest. I even get especially annoyed when I have to skate past five or ten pages of "praise for [who the frack's] other works" at the beginning of the book. It says "New York Times' Bestselling Author" at the top of the cover. That's good enough for me.

Kudos on MaryJanice Davidson! I interviewed her once. She lives in my hometown, and we got her for the local cable station. She's a really neat lady. [[Unfortunately, the day I had to interview her, I'd just read the third installment in the Undead and Unwed series... let's just say, an editor that lets something like that out without a fight ought to be SHOT.]]

So, blurbs, meh.


Tez Miller said...

I only pay attention to the cover blurbs if they're written by authors whose work I've read and liked.

Have a lovely day! :-)

jpj said...

See, you've always told me that a good cover sells books. I've never, ever bought a book because of the cover. I HAVE bought a book on the basis of a blurb. Usually by someone famous whose work I've admired.

So when Dan Simmons get a quotation from Stevie King that reads, "I am in awe of Dan Simmons!" that is good enough for me. Despite the fact that the cover is stupid.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those people that actually DOES judge a book by its cover....if it has crappy half-assed cover art on it, then I won't buy it. ....Your Garnet book covers by Margarete Gockel really caught my eye, and I actually did notice the blurb on the top and it enticed me to pick it up even more (where usually, I don't read those blurbs). ....So yeah, I think blurbs are important. But to me, good cover art is even more important.

Zoe said...

I don't pay much attention to cover blurbs; even if a book has a blurb from an author I love, it doesn't make me any more likely to buy the book. Just because I like reading an author's writing doesn't mean we both like to read the same kind of thing. Reading authors' blogs has made me even more aware of this; I often see authors I love rave about books I can't stand.

What I really hate is when the back cover is so full of quotes from other authors that there's no room for a description of the plot. I don't care how many people love the book, I'm not going to buy it if I don't know what it's about.

I do like looking for the blurbs that read like they may have initially come from bad reviews though. And I was amused by this sad example: a quote on the back cover that was designed to look like a blurb, but was actually a quote from the author's own introduction to the book.