BTT: Blurbs


And so back to Booking Through Thursday I come. That’s because I have to weigh in on today’s question. Ready?

“What words/phrases in a blurb make a book irresistible? What words/phrases will make you put the book back down immediately?”

There’s no pretty way to say this, so …

I ignore blurbs.

Well, until I loathe what I’m reading and look at the blurbs and think, “What sort of crack is this famous author smoking?”

Or “No wonder I don’t like this. I don’t like YOUR books, either.”

Or “I’ll remember this when I’m tempted to read YOUR book.”

… you get the idea.

And now that I know how important blurbs are said to be, and how some agents/editors want a list of suggested friends and/or contacts who can be approached for blurbs even before a book is contracted… it seems like a racket. In some ways, it’s false advertising at its best — like when I realized that critique partners had blurbed each other’s books.

Blurbs are nothing more than ads that clutter up the front cover of a perfectly good book. And as such, I ignore them. I choose books for a variety of reasons, but “Because so-and-so had a quote on the front cover” isn’t one of them.

(however, for my book blogging friends whose blurbs magically appear, without their notice on a book, that’s a different story. Those weren’t solicited statements. No one said, “Hey, how about a cover blurb?” And thus, they seem more genuine to me.)



  1. Priscilla

    October 29, 2009 10:37 am

    I agree, the blurbs don’t generally do it for me either. I am always already picking up a book for some other reason: recommendation, review, already like the author, interesting title. I do feel bad for authors, though, because publishers make them jump through those hoops to get blurbs. I also feel bad for authors who get misleading blurbs.
    .-= Priscilla´s last blog ..Booking Through Thursday: Blurbs =-.

  2. carol

    October 29, 2009 1:53 pm

    I agree. I always feel like they’re paying somehow for those blurbs from famous authors. And they are sometimes just incredibly misleading.

  3. Shelley Munro

    October 29, 2009 2:55 pm

    I don’t read author blurbs either. They must work though, otherwise publishers wouldn’t insist on them.
    .-= Shelley Munro´s last blog ..Naughty Bits =-.

  4. Wylie

    October 29, 2009 4:46 pm

    Funny… I think as blurbs as the back cover description and testamonials as the the review and/or author snippets.
    And no — don’t read those. Probably because I assume they either have the same publisher or same agent and nothing more.
    .-= Wylie´s last blog ..Wylie’s Fail Tags =-.

  5. Darlene

    October 29, 2009 7:23 pm

    You know I do read the ones on the front cover of a book but not the back and I definitely don’t read the ones that sometimes line the first few inside pages of a book.
    .-= Darlene´s last blog ..Book Review: Pendragon’s Banner by Helen Hollick =-.

  6. Thomma Lyn

    October 29, 2009 8:12 pm

    What Darlene said. I read the ones on the front cover of a book ’cause it’s kind of hard to avoid those, but they don’t do a thing for me in deciding whether or not to read a book. And I’ve found that the books with the most blurbs on the first few inside pages (page after page, as if to say “LOOKIT ME!”) are some of the worst published books I’ve read!
    .-= Thomma Lyn´s last blog ..Two More Days ‘Til NaNo… =-.

  7. Alice Audrey

    October 30, 2009 2:44 pm

    I thought blurb meant the little synopsis an editor sticks on the back of the book to let readers know what kind of book it is. If you’re talking author endorsements, I don’t bother with those. Except, come to think of it, a couple of times I put a book back when I saw an author I actively dislike gave it a thumbs up. My mother, OTOH, actively pays attention to the quotes and buys when someone she likes endorses someone else.
    .-= Alice Audrey´s last blog ..Suzie’s House 137: When it isn’t What She Thought =-.

  8. BeadedTail

    October 30, 2009 4:20 pm

    I don’t pay attention to blurbs either since I just figured they are basically biased paid ads. If I knew they were unsolicited then I’d be inclined to notice.

    I hope you got my payment for Year 2!
    .-= BeadedTail´s last blog ..Friday Features! =-.

  9. BeadedTail

    October 30, 2009 5:35 pm

    Me again! Year 2 came in the mail today! Yay! Thank you Susan! Can’t wait to read it!
    .-= BeadedTail´s last blog ..Friday Features! =-.

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