How Not To Get a Blurb

A self-published author sent me a generic email asking me to read his book and blurb it. I’ve taken out his name, and the title of the book, as a courtesy:

I am  about to launch the XYZ novels, which are
legal/crime thrillers. I would love to get a blurb from you for the first novel
in this series, XYZ.  I have attached the first few chapters for
your review and will be happy to send the full book upon request.  I
thoroughly believe that you will find this book compelling and will be proud to
have your name associated with it, otherwise I wouldn’t intrude upon your
valuable time.

As compelling as his personal endorsement of his own book is, that’s not a good enough reason for me to read his novel.  In fact, this solicitation is a classic example of how to not to get an author to read your book. For instructions on how to do it right, check out author Gregg Hurwitz’s checklist of dos-and-don’ts for blurb pitching.

21 thoughts on “How Not To Get a Blurb”

  1. I told that I was a screenwriter with no published books, so my blurb would probably not help him.
    He wrote back something like “You don’t have to play football to know a good team.”

  2. Wasn’t this the one Sarah Weinman posted on her web site?

    I don’t know… but if so, I’d love to read her post on the subject!

  3. There’s clearly some sort of mutual thing going on amongst novelists as regards the exchange of blurbs. As a reader of popular / genre fiction I’ve learned one thing the hard way: Never be taken in by blurbs by other novelists in the same genre – or novelists in general I’d say. Even world famous ones. It’s totally meaningless.
    Another thing I’ve learned: Treat excerpts from reviews with the utmost caution. There’s some publication called ‘Publisher’s Weekly’ – or something like that. I never buy a book with a blurb that orginates from Publisher’s Weekly. It’s a sure sign that the book is a pallid affair.

  4. Lee,
    This is so funny – Everyone should know you are above helping any self published author. My goodness we all know we are the eathlings and you are the writing GOD!So many literary contributions you have made –

  5. I heard from the lawyer also.I feel annoyed that I wasted even five minutes of my time telling him why I couldn’t.
    Are the comments above about Publisher’s Weekly serious?
    PW is a very important trade mag. They review almost all published books. Bookstores and libraries order according to these reviews. You want to get a good review from them. As for using their review as a blurb there is nothing wrong with it. Far from it. You’ll be very lucky to have it.

  6. I got this email today from the lawyer guy (name removed to protect the clueless):
    Dear Mr. Goldman:
    I recently discovered that you and others had quite a bit of fun at my expense in a Blog dated May 20, 2005 and in the associated Comments. Hope you all had a great laugh and were able to share a few momenents of looking down your collective noses at someone. I’m glad I provided a good bonding opportunty for you all. Regards, [LAWYER GUY]

  7. What’s clear from his response to us both is that he hasn’t learned anything from mistakes. He still doesn’t get it. In many ways, he epitomizes the misguided thinking that motivates so many self-published authors…and, sadly, reveals why he hasn’t made it as a professional novelist. You can just imagine how he would react to an editor’s comments on his manuscript…


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