Claire King


Blurby be Kind

Posted on: April 25th, 2012 by Claire - 15 Comments

One of the most re-tweeted comments I ever made on Twitter, a couple of years ago, was this:

“When I’m a successful author, remind me to be kind to those still struggling to make it.”

It encouraged me, then, that Twitter cheered, ‘hear-hear’ed for kindness.

I was reminded of this recently when contemplating the fact that in a few months The Night Rainbow will be heading off to unsuspecting authors whom I admire, with a request to have a look, and  – please, Missus, if you had the time, if you could read it and then, if you like it that is, maybe you could say something positive that we could put on the cover, so that people in bookshops will see that I’m a good bet, what with me being new at this and not known and all…

*author blushes and backs out of room curtseying*

Can you tell I feel a bit bashful about this?

Bashful because I understand that asking (even indirectly via my publisher) for a blurb is asking people to work for free. And since I don’t have many actual real-world friends who are published authors, well then it’s asking someone I don’t know to work for free.

Of course I hope that they will not find it like work, and will really enjoy the read, but that’s not the point.

I also understand that not everyone has the time or inclination to to read a book to provide a blurb. Also that the more successful and respected you become, the more requests you get for blurbs and of course the more people you have to turn down. This brings me back to my question of kindness. Compare these two approaches:

This kind and eloquent approach from Margaret Atwood who explains why she no longer does blurbs. She has already blurbed with the best of them and now her doormat is exhausted. Contrast it with this  New Yorker article, which made me cringe.

So I just want to say this:

Anyone who writes a blurb for my novel will be doing me an enormous favour and I will be thoroughly, genuinely grateful.

What’s more, I promise, here and now, that I will pay it forward with good grace when the time comes. And you can hold me to that.

Photo (c)

15 Responses

  1. Good luck, I hope you get lots of lovely quotes. I had never thought about how those quotes on books were acquired! I suppose I thought that well know writers contacted publishers and said “wow”! Although I do remember wondering how they got hold of the book before it was published! DUH!

    I hope one day to be in your position. In the meantime I am almost at the stage of stopping random people in the street and asking them to read my work – a sort of literary mugger!

    • claire says:

      I guess there are worse habits than being a book-pusher. Thanks for the luck! I’m hoping if they read the first couple of pages it will do the trick. But a book doesn’t open itself!

  2. Claire, I’m at this same stage of the game. So glad I don’t have to do the asking myself! I’m sure you’ll get some great comments for your book.

  3. You will get wonderful quotes. And the ‘pay it forward’ mention means karma is with you. Ommmmm…


  4. Marcus Speh says:

    I feel close to the blurb. I think we should all blurb more and more bravely, and I’m sure you’ll get what you need, Claire, since you always were and continue to be kind and clever both. I’ve collected undirected but beautiful blurbs for unpublished books since I started blogging, here.

  5. Marcus Speh says:

    PS. Margaret Atwood is lovely, as ever and who else would have written a poem on her decision…this is so…quaintly and friendly Canadian! The NYT guy is just a prick, I think. Perhaps he’s trying to drum up more interest in his hard-to-get-blurbs?

  6. […] I’ve read and admired? No. Best not to. Pretend it’s not happening. As Claire King has recently blogged, you can only hope people will be […]

  7. You will get wonderful blurbs. I know this because you are a writers’ writer.

    And sometimes you have to go off into the desert with only a tiny bottle of water….

    • claire says:

      Thank you, Alison, that’s a really lovely thing to say. The copies are in the post today and all I can do now is hope for the writing to do its thing. Crossing fingers.

  8. […] that they will say something about it that we can put on the cover. I wrote about author blurbs here, by the […]

  9. […] if they liked it they might consider saying something nice for the jacket, I wrote this post: Blurby be Kind (do have a read and then come […]

Leave a Reply