The Mail I Get – How Not To Solicit A Blurb Edition

I often get asked to blurb books, and it's not unusual for me to get a request from a publisher or editor on behalf of an author I've never met or heard of before. But I have never had a request like this one, which came to me from Greenleaf Publishing through my agent (I have only edited out the name of the author, the title of her book, and a summary of the plot. The grammatical errors, missing apostrophes, etc. are from the original email)

I’'m writing on behalf of our author X, who counts Lee Goldberg as an influential and inspirational author.  I would love the opportunity to include Lee's name along with a brief endorsement in X's upcoming book from Greenleaf Book Group, XYZ. […] Below are a few short endorsement suggestions for XYZ.  Of course, Lee can edit any of these as fit or write his own.  Attached is the book’s first two chapters to give you a better idea of X's story.  I would be happy to send you the complete manuscript if you’re interested in reading further. 

I thought it was very nice of her, before I'd even agreed to read the book, to already provide me with endorsements I could just slap my name on. Even better, she granted me the flexibility to edit them as I pleased or, if I really wanted to be daring, to actually come up with some of my own.

Naturally, I was anxious to see the personalized endorsements she'd created for me to lend my name to. I bet you are, too. Here they are:

Suggested endorsements:

X ropes you in from page one and doesn’t let go until the end.  A great read!

Anyone who enjoys fast paced, thrilling mysteries will love XYZ.  You simply won’t be able to put it down!

 Characters you connect with, a driven plot, and suspense make XYZ a book you won’t want to miss!

 From suspense to mystery to romance, X's debut has it all!

 XYZ will captivate you and not let you go until the very end.  It’s a thrilling debut.  I can’t wait for her next book!

Those sound like genuine, heartfelt endorsements to me, ones that truly reflect my unique experience of reading her book. Even if I haven't read it yet. And they are so fresh and creative, too! They also offered me an irresistable incentive.

If Lee provides a testimonial, we will send a signed copy of the finished book as soon as they are made available.

I can honestly say, in all my years in the publishing business, I have never had a publishing company approach me for a blurb and also supply a selection of them for me to choose from. Perhaps that's because Greenleaf isn't a publisher. It's basically a very,very pricey, high-end vanity press. Or, as they put it in their letter to my agent:

If you’re unfamiliar with our company, Greenleaf Book Group is a publisher and distributor best known for its innovative business model.  

Their innovative model is that you pay them buckets of money to publish your book, distribute your book, publicize your book and, apparently, send out really inept, sloppily-written appeals for blurbs. 

4 thoughts on “The Mail I Get – How Not To Solicit A Blurb Edition”

  1. Not that I would go the self publishing route, but thanks for the heads up on a company with little to no ethics.
    Patricia Stewart-Bertrand

  2. Oh, brother.
    I fear my reply to Greenleaf–had they favored me with such an honor–would likely cause their heads to explode. Messy, but they’d strike me off their list of contacts for good.
    If the author was very lucky, I’d try to forget her name.

  3. I recieved the same email from the same company on the same day. I find it encouraging that the author finds both of us inspirational and important,although I wonder if she has ever read any of our books. I downloaded Greenleaf’s brochure, and studied their revolutionary business model — a concept so different from vanity press publishing that it would take a carnival huckster to explain it to you. Despite the Homeric length of their sales pitch, they never once revealed their prices.
    Seriously, I’m currently completing an excellent project with Jed Wallace of Street Relations for Dr. Akikur Mohammed, addiction medicine specialist. We’re using Create Space for the print version, and are perfectly pleased. I’m sure C.S. is more affordable and professional than the firm that sent us that letter.


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