Desperately Seeking Cover Blurbs

Dear Aspiring Author,

You asked me directly for a promotional blurb for your urban fantasy, you were amazingly polite,but you don't know that you're supposed to have your publisher do that for you, and that the publisher will go through my agent.

It's called protocol.

You can ask me directly only if we are friends/have met and had lengthy interaction at a convention and if I expressed interest in that work, but if not, then you follow protocol. By the way, I'm careful to not do that at conventions because I'm already swamped with stuff to read.

If you are indie publishing, great, but then you do not ask me at all. Seriously, don't.

I'm not dissing you. I'm not down on indie writers.

I'm BUSY. I don't have time to read commercially pubbed books by my besties, let alone indie books from strangers.

If we're friends you'd know that and give me a graceful out with an, "Only if you have the time." This also holds true when you go through channels. I've gotten a lot of books over the years through channels and never seem to have the time to read more than a handful. (I don't do a blurb unless I read the book; being funny that way.)

We better be real friends, not Facebook friends, that doesn't count.

Got that? Great. All sorted.

Now, let's suppose your publisher sent me your book. That's fine, but do not expect me to have time for it. I've a stack of those in my library and I feel badly that I didn't get to them, but this is my limited time. I don't owe it to you or anyone else.

I have been disappointed by many of these books. They can be debut efforts or a new one by an old hand, and maybe I'll read it. Then I skip the blurb. Why is that?

Perhaps the book read like all the other ones just like it filling the shelves--did the writer follow a check list of cliches for the genre?? Or maybe the story failed to hold my attention. I've a few here I just didn't finish.

Not one eyeball kick? Not one interesting character? Not one working brain cell in the cast? It's hard slogging through something like the high school drama department's annual play where the students are struggling to remember their lines, never mind *act* them. I wonder how that book sold in the first place, but there's a market for comfort food reading.

On one memorable occasion, early in my career, my editor sent me a copy of the actual manuscript, not a reading copy. I was flattered to be asked for a cover blurb and read the book. It was awful and in my reply mail I asked if this wasn't a mistake, then listed all the pages with word reps, characters with changing hair color, points where weapon use was incorrect, and the suggestion that the writer go back to his writing group and take a refresher, because he'd never make it out of one of mine alive.

My editor was not amused, but I stood by my assessment that it was a piece of crap that could do without my help. My name would be no where near that toxic pile of wordage.

When I do a blurb I mean it. Better hope I love your words, but have your publisher ask for you, don't just hand me the book.

Got that? Great. All sorted! Now you know why it's better to just hang out with me in the bar and trade stories.

If you don't know what an eyeball kick is, that may be why your book did a face plant in my recycle bin. Here ya go. Helpful definitions!

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