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September 19, 2007


David Thayer

David Peace's novel TOKYO YEAR ZERO was blurbed by George Pelecanos and James Ellroy as well as John Burkett. This is a case where the book exceeded my expectations and the blurbs caught my eye.

Jeff Cohen

As a reviewer, Sarah, do you look at blurbs when choosing what to read for a review?

Kevin Wignall

I'm feeling very contrite now. When my editor asked me to think about blurbs for "Who is Conrad Hirst?" I insisted they didn't work. (proof that I know nothing)

Fortunately, she asked me to do it just for her and we ended up with some great blurbs - Jeffery Deaver and Joseph Finder among them.

Rosemary Harris

I was back and forth on the whole blurb thing for my book (my first.) As a reader I don't pay much attention to blurbs - just because Tess Gerritsen likes something, doesn't mean I will. But the time came, and like all good newbies I sent my uncorrected bound manuscripts out into the wilderness hoping that total strangers would say something nice about me. Lo and behold, they did! And I love them for it. I don't know if more people will buy my book because of it, but it's certainly put a spring in my step knowing that 3 bestselling authors thought my book was pretty good.

Sandra Ruttan

Most readers I've talked to insist blurbs have little to no impact on them. They indicate nothing to me about publisher support, as the overwhelming majority of authors I've talked to have been largely responsible for seeking out their own blurbs. And the more conversations I see from people who say they'll only blurb friends or books from their own publisher, the less value I give them.

Add in the fact that the community is small, a lot of us know each other, and if you start analyzing it, you could throw doubt on 99% of the blurbs out there, although they may be completely sincere. Best not to pay too much attention.

Kevin, the main thing with blurbs is, they've become expected. There are certain things almost all books in our genre have, and blurbs are one of them. Go through your bookshelf and see how many books from the last few years you've bought that do not have a blurb on the front cover. Then look at the back covers. The blurbless books tend to be by well-known bestsellers who don't need the endorsement to sell. But look at those newer/lesser known authors and see who doesn't have blurbs. The few I can think of on my shelves come from smaller publishers, debut books, authors not American or British.

Or they're self-published.

So, it's something you have to do, because everyone's doing it and you can't risk not doing it.


Blurbs and review excerpts on books may not be my only deciding factor but it still stands as a strong deciding factor. If I come across two books that interest me where one has blurbs etc. and the other has none, I will buy the one with blurbing.

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