Recently, I wrote a back cover blurb for a friend, which got me thinking about book blurbs in general.
I still think book blurbs (or back cover quotes) are one of the best marketing tools for a writer to sell a book. Reading a quote from an established author, reviewer, or even a well-crafted plot summary acts as a preview for what’s to come. In fact, a few choice words can be most effective in that point-of-sale moment when deciding whether or not to take a chance on a new work.
Of course, we’ve all seen cases where the quote is more hype than honest praise. I don’t trust any blurb that claims the work of the author is the next best thing since the dawn of time. When I write blurbs, I treat them the same as if I were reading them: if I knew nothing about this literary work, what would be most helpful in making a decision. Most of us do not purchase new books solely on the back cover quotes, but I consider them because I do appreciate knowing who is speaking up for the author.
Securing quotes, especially for your first book, can be difficult. When I was looking for established poets to write quotes for Underlife, the writers I had hoped would come through for me did not, but the ones who did surprised me with their generosity and kind words. So when I get a chance to blurb, I almost never turn down the opportunity. I like to pay it forward.
Questions for you, dear reader. What's your take on back cover quotes? Are they important to you? Do they make a difference when deciding what to buy? If you’re an author, what’s the process like for you writing quotes? Also for authors, do you write them—and have you ever said no for a quote request?