Sunday, August 1, 2010

Author Blurbs: Yeah! or Meh.

“This book is the best thing I’ve ever read.” - Popular USA Today Best-Selling Author

“Breathtaking! Don’t miss this rising new star!” - Even More Popular New York Times Best-Selling Author

Does the above really do anything for you?

When it comes to book promotion, it is probably easier to catch a fly with vinegar than it is to figure out the return on your investment. However, of all the unknowns regarding publishing and promotion, the one that really sticks out for me is the influence of author blurbs. Personally, I’m not convinced there is one. Will a reader really be more likely to buy a book if another author has given it their stamp of approval?

In my opinion, a more interesting question is whether or not an author blurb can potentially harm a book’s sales? What if someone chooses not to buy a book because they don’t like the work of the author who wrote a blurb for it? Would it have been better to simply not have a blurb at all?

I suspect I’m in the minority on this. There would not be so many authors blurbing books if there was no credible reason for it, right? Still, for me, the author blurb takes me back to high school. Remember when you wanted the cool kids to like you, so you tried to glom onto the really cool kid in hopes their coolness would somehow rub off on you? Sounds a bit harsh, but hey, I’m being honest here.

There’s a huge chance that I’m also being remarkably naïve by not recognizing the importance of author blurbs, but as of right now I’m just not convinced it makes a huge difference. (Side note: I’m making a list of potential authors I’d like blurbs from if it turns out that there is evidence that it will help book sales. I have no problem eating crow. I just throw a little Cajun seasoning on it and swallow it down.)

I want to know your thoughts. For those of you who believe wholeheartedly in the benefit of having a well-known author’s praise on your book cover, let me know why? For readers out there, who has bought a book because of an author blurb? Or, better yet, who hasn’t bought a book because of one?


Charles Gramlich said...

I don't think they help a lot. They certainly don't make one iota of difference to me. I've never bought a book because of a blurb from a well known author, but I've never not bought one either for that reason. I don't think I"m all that typical of a reader, though.

G said...

Most definitely a book blurb doesn't influence me one way or another.

A blurb is a blurb, and for me, how do I know that the person who wrote the blurb actually read the book that he/she is blurbing about?

Carol Mitchell said...

I don't generally pay attention to the comments of other authors. I am more interested in whether the description of the story is intriguing and appealing to me.

On the other hand, if I spotted the name of an author I really admired, or one whose work I particularly despised, I might be inclined to take the opinion into consideration, but it would have to have been a very memorable author one way or the other.

Phyllis Bourne said...

They don't weigh into my decision to buy.

It's the cover blurb and the first page for me.

Chicki said...

I never pay any attention to the blurbs. I buy what I like and rarely even read reviews.

Anonymous said...

Like Carol, I consider the blurb to be distinct from the testimonials. The former, a micro-synopsis, may possibly influence my decision to buy a book. The latter is just noise.

Shauna Roberts said...

Author blurbs have influenced my choice when the book was self-published or put out by a very small press. Particularly with self-published books, one needs all the help one can get separating the wheat from the chaff.

Stefanie Worth said...

I can't say I buy a book because of the blurbs. It's usually the cover copy, title, first page and a few random paragraphs that help me make the decision with unknown authors.

That's not to say that I wouldn't accept a blurb from Toni Morrison, Stephen King or Dean Koontz if they offered though. lol

Liane Spicer said...

Never bought a book because of a blurb, and I doubt the authors who blurb read all those books anyway. And even though the blurb won't a induce me to buy a book, one from an author I dislike might very well turn me off.

It's possible they influence other readers. Like so much of marketing, the effects of individual ploys aren't always measurable, but they try to cover all the bases.