Sunday, April 11, 2010


Blurbs are the things on the inside flap or on the back of a book that provides one-sentence or more praise for the book, generally by popular authors. Because I don't want to single out any authors or blurbs or books, an example would be like, "The book Awesomesauce is a paranormal romance with a twist for the ages at the end. I fasted for three days because I was so enraptured by the gorgeous prose that I couldn't put down the book to eat." -Author McAuthorFace, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Schmarry Schmotter and the Schmampires of Schmilight. 

For publishers and up and coming authors, it can be a big deal to get a nice blurb from a well-known, well-respected author with a hefty fan base. But I wonder if it is a big deal for readers? I mean, I don't go out of the way to find books my favorite authors have blurbed. I tend, much more, to read books that my friends (bloggy and RL) recommend. Their opinions are more valued to me than those of a person I've never met who may or may not have been paid or owed a debt or felt obligated in some way to write a blurb. 

Note that, I'm not saying that blurbs aren't sincere, but I've certainly noticed books with blurbs from people who are quite publicly friends with the author of the book. I've also noticed books with blurbs from husband and wife authors, which I mean, REALLY? The average joe reader might not notice this, but I did, and it kind of cheapened the book for me because the marketing team did a sloppy job with that one.

So my question is, do blurbs make a difference to you when you're looking for a new book to read?

PS I don't know about you, but I'm a little tired of blurbs that say things like, "THIS IS THE NEW TWILIGHT," or "THIS IS A TWILIGHT-ESQUE ROMANCE." Please stop comparing everything that is paranormal with Twilight. I actually read a book that said on the cover that it was just that (Twilight-esque romance) and was mildly annoyed to realize at the end of the book that romance was not the main focus AT ALL because the main love interest dies halfway through and is pretty much never mentioned again. Dear blurber, please actually read the book before you compare it to Twilight.


  1. This post makes me happy, and your blurb is fantastic. I had to try not to laugh out loud as I'm at work (in a library). :)

    I consider blurbs from authors that I enjoy reading, because they tend to read and enjoy the same types of things that they write. But I'm with you, I'm more likely to pick up a book because a friend told me it was good.

    And I'm really tired of everything getting compared to Twilight, too.

  2. Amen!

    I don't really pay much attention to blurbs, because my tastes are not necessarily the same as the person blurbing. I hate when blurbs promise that this book is the next Twilight/Harry Potter/Whatever. Especially when I've read enough of both books to know that this is more of a marketing ploy than anything else.

  3. Greaty post. I honestly don't pay much attention to blurbs either, unless it's from someone I know and whose opinion I respect a great deal. I agree with you too, that people need to stop saying "This book is the next Twilight (or whatever other book is popular at the time)". If you have to blurb about a book, just say what it is, not what it's like.

  4. The blurb might make a difference depending on WHO it's coming from, but that's like the last thing I look at. Like you, I usually pick books by recs from friends or by browsing. I don't usually look at the blurbs until after I've read the jacket copy.

    I get that comparing things to Twilight is a marketing ploy to get people on the Twilight bandwagon, but its effect on me is to make me walk away (or at the least be hesitant to give the book a chance). Also, some part of me really dislikes the new marketing for Wuthering Heights, in which the cover has been redesigned to look very reminiscent of the Twilight covers (which, not gonna lie, are nice covers) and there's a blurb/sticker on it saying "Bella and Edward's favorite book!". It's mostly the last bit that bothers me.

  5. I agree with you about the blurbs, and I think it's just an ego trip for the author of the book AND the author who's writing the blurb. I mean, seriously. I want an actual review, from an actual literary authority, written by an actual unbiased reviewer. Otherwise, I just can't believe it! Although, it isn't always fair, a lot of authors don't get to choose what's on their covers. And there was one series that was absolutely amazing, but I took a risk on it because the reviews were ridiculously partial toward the author. Since then, however, this author has raked up a bunch of very good reviews and recommendations. So, yay!
    Also, I agree with the person who commented above me about Wuthering Hights. It's one of my favorites, but it's not exactly the same type of reading as Twilight, and I don't think a lot of Twilight fans would go for it. The books are so different, and the romances are so different. Wuthering Hights is good enough to stand on its own two feet - it doesn't need the help of Twilight.

  6. I read the blurbs, but they usually don't have an impact on whether or not I buy or read the book...unless the blurb comes from Stephenie Meyer, of course. I was on the fence about getting a book and then I noticed a blurb from her on the back, and I put it down at once. It was that sort of that gut "Ew, Stephenie Meyer liked this, there must be something wrong with it, I'm not wasting my time," reaction. A little childish, but whatever. ;)

    I find it hard to trust blurbs when they come from other authors instead of reviewers, especially if you're aware that the author doing the blurbing is the friend/cousin/significant other. It definitely makes you question the impartiality of all of it, and you never know how the publisher has manipulated the blurb for their own gain. Movie studios are notorious for taking a few positive words out of overly negative review and using them for blurbs, and I wouldn't put that past the publishing industry either.

  7. I think it's very kind of authors to recommend other authors, but I don't put any stock into it. Come on, they're doing the author a favor! I buy books based on my own random method--love the cover, have read the author before, read a review that intrigued me, or picked it up at the library and it found its way home with me.

  8. Interesting. For me, as both a reader and a writer, I think the blurbs are important. But as a reader, I think you may have nailed it.

  9. When I'm book browsing, blurbs aren't crucial, but I totally take notice. Especially when it's by an author I respect that doesn't normally do a lot of blurbs.

    But I personally think word-of-mouth is huge when it comes to actually selling book. Like you, I'm way more likely to buy a book my friend (online or real life) recommends than one Author McAuthorFace recommends.

  10. You bring up some really great points. I really don't seek out books based on blurbs. But from a writer's perspective, they seem super-important!