Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On the Writing of Book Blurbs

Yesterday, I was supposed to work on my sample chapters. I just could NOT get motivated. I don't know why. I have lots of other things I could blame besides myself, of course, including the fact that Shawn ended up not going to work (she had to attend the funeral of her co-worker/friend's mom) and Mason had the day off from school. Mason, however, was quite content to spend the day watching too much streaming MythBusters while putting together the LEGO DeathStar. So... actually, I had plenty of free time.

Which I spent meandering around the Internet and generally moaning about having ennui.

I did manage to write a blurb for a friend's small press science fiction novel. That had been on my to-do pile for MONTHS. I thought, in fact, I'd missed my opportunity to say something about it, but he emailed me a week ago to say that the book was in its final stages and they could still use a quote from me, if I had something to say. I'd read a lot of it when I thought I still had time, but then life had gotten in the way like it always does and I'd set it aside. So I picked it back up and read it.

Writing blurbs is such a funny, fun experience. It's one of the perks of being a pro that I never really gave much thought to when I imagined my life as a writer. Of course, I never imagined that I would still be struggling to make ends-meet when my "dream came true," but, on a happier note, there are these strange sort of perks to being a writer that are a bit like benefits. Like, occasionally, I get free books. My only 'price' is that I have to find something snappy and witty to say about them (if I like them.)

If you ever wondered, there is no blurb out there that wasn't solicited in one way or the other. By solicited, I do NOT mean paid for, but I mean the person asking (usually the author her/himself) knows or is connected to in some way the person s/he requested the blurb from. Only very rarely, I get requests from people's publishers. I suspect if I were a bigger NAME, I'd get many more of those. (I'm sure Neil Gaiman and Lois McMaster Bujold are overrun, for instance.) But for someone at my level, it's usually someone I consider a colleague, or even a friend, who's asked me to read and blurb their book.

I've actually long dreamed of asking my friend Eleanor Arnason to blurb my book in her signature Icelandic way, which I imagine going something like this, "XXX by Lyda Morehouse is okay. I've read worse."

Anyone who knew Eleanor would realize what AMAZING praise that was and rush out and buy a million copies. Of course, most people outside of the Mid-West (who weren't Scandinavian) would be like, "What?!"


Anyway, I'm happy to report that, having turned in my blurb to my friend, I did, officially, accomplish SOMETHING yesterday.


Sean M. Murphy said...

Yeah, that's not the worst Midwestern reaction to an okay book, I guess.

Douglas Hulick said...

I offered to blurb someone this last weekend at ConFusion with, "Yup, it's a book." They didn't get it at first. :)

Eleanor said...

It's not so bad. It could be worse. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Eleanor said...

"Yup, it's a book," is good.