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A Blurb About Blurbs

Well, not really, but I couldn't think of a better title, so bear with me. Recently I've been considering all the elements that come together to make a book (cover, title, synopsis, etc.), and I started thinking about blurbs. After all, they're everywhere.

However, I've noticed that I never really pay much attention to them. This is simply because I know whatever's put as a blurb is going to be gushing and positive, whereas a synopsis, for example, is something I can consider for myself if it's a plus or a minus.

Even in cases where authors I really enjoy blurb a book, I'm not much persuaded. Just because someone wrote a book I like doesn't mean we have the same interests and opinions about other books.

It is interesting to note, though, that if I follow an author's blog, and he or she writes a review or even a little positive note about another person's book, I find that pretty convincing. I think it's because unlike a blurb, I have the full context - I know about that author's past posts, and I have more of a full context. A blurb often feels like something rather manufactured, whereas a review in a blog is more organic.

What do you think? Do blurbs persuade you? What about call-outs in other authors' blogs?

6 comments:

Katie DeKoster said...

I pretty much always end up reading them, and I love it when I find one from an author I really love. Ashes had a blurb from James Dashner on the front cover, and that got me more excited to read the actual book - which turned out to be fantastic!

Jillian said...

Blurbs usually don't get me to buy the book, but like Katie said above, I do get a little 'excited push' if I see a favorite author's name or something :)

Kat Heckenbach said...

Ah, this took a moment. What you're talking about are endorsements. Most of us writers call the back cover copy "blurbs" and the little two or three line "gushes" you see on book covers "endorsements."

I do agree that I never paid much attention to them--until I got published myself. And then getting a few was an astoundingly good feeling. I know what goes into getting those endorsements now! It's another author taking the time to read my book--my first book in this case, so I have no reputation to use in my favor--and having them like the book enough to be willing to have their name on the cover for all eternity.

Does that mean I heed every one when I am looking at books? No. But I appreciate them far more now. Yes, I still prefer a bone-bare, honest review on a blog. But don't write off endorsements so easily. Maybe on the books by big name authors--for those are opportunities for the endorsers as well as the authors. Putting your endorsement on a book guaranteed to sell bazillions of copies? No-brainer. But if the author is not a big name, and they've got some good, legitimate endorsers, that means far more than you realize.

fakesteph said...

I like blurbs, but I don't think they sway my opinion too much. Usually, I get book recommendations from bloggers, but if I'm browsing in a bookstore, picking up books I haven't heard of before I usually choose books like this: cover, copy, blurbs.

I need to like the cover to pick it up. Then I read what it's about. If I'm already intrigued, then the blurbs excite me (especially if it's an author I like) and push me that little extra bit to buy. But the blurbs only work if I'm already interested.

Melody said...

Well, here's the thing. I love blurbs. I recently checked out a book because it had a blurb from an author I adore. But I didn't think much of the book once I read it. And more and more I'm realizing that an author can say something nice about a book without actually thinking it's the most amazing thing ever. You can say a book has vivid writing even though you hated it. You can go on and on about the world-building, even though you thought the romance was cliche. So while I used to base a lot of decision off of blurbs, I'm becoming more and more immune.

Julia :) said...

You know the first time I read a post someone did on blurbs I commented and said I didn't really care about them but now that I'm thinking about it I actually really do. It's not so much that a blurb will convince me to read the book but I do enjoy reading blurbs and sometimes if a books blurb is particularly nice/funny then I'll be more likely to give it a read!

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