Friday, April 9, 2010
Asking for Blurbs Never Gets Easier
I'm at the point in the publishing schedule for my March, 2011 Midnight Ink release, Deadly Currents, where I'm asking for blurbs from other mystery authors. This was terribly hard for me to do for my first published book, A Real Basket Case, and it hasn't gotten any easier. At least this time, my editor and I are sharing the workload. We brainstormed a dream wish list of Western and/or outdoorsy-oriented mystery authors and divvied up the list between us according to who had the best contacts with each author.
One wonderful author came through with a stellar blurb, shown below, just this afternoon. (PS. I love her books!) Two other authors have agreed to take a look at the manuscript, so please keep your fingers crossed for me that at least one more likes it!
"If you’ve wondered what white water river rafting is all about, get ready for a wild plunge into Colorado’s Arkansas River with Mandy Tanner, river ranger extraordinaire and dauntless sleuth. Beth Groundwater gets the mountain town of Salida and its cast of river denizens just right. Hurray for Deadly Currents, a heart-racing debut to a new series with as many twists and turns and unexpected upsets as a ride through the rapids itself."
---Margaret Coel, author of The Silent Spirit.
Asking established authors for blurbs is an imposition on them, a request for a huge chunk of their time to read your manuscript. There's no way I would ask such a large favor of an author that I have had no contact with and done nothing for on my part. The best way to help this process along is to start doing favors for the authors you may want to approach for blurbs in the future. Show up at their signings and buy their books. Post complimentary reviews of their books on bookseller websites and mystery discussion groups. Recommend their books to friends. Do other favors for them, such as putting them in touch with experts they need for their current research project, volunteering to help on their latest MWA or SinC project, etc. That way, you've established a professional networking relationship with them, and asking for a return favor is not such an imposition.
Also, don't assume or imply that once they read the work, they should think it worthy of a blurb. When I ask established author contacts to blurb my book, I ask them if they would be willing to read the manuscript and IF they like it, to consider giving me a blurb. I ask them at least 6-8 weeks before the blurb is required by my publisher and state the deadline clearly, so they can determine if they have time in their busy schedules to read my manuscript. And timing the request is important, too. If the author is working toward a looming manuscript deadline or is out on the road promoting a new release, it may be best to wait a few weeks before asking. That may mean the blurb doesn't make it into the catalog, but it may make it onto the review galleys/ARCs and the back cover of the published book.
Thankfully, for A Real Basket Case, four fellow Colorado mystery authors graciously read my manuscript and crafted glowing blurbs: Kathy Brandt, Margaret Coel, Christine Goff, and Maggie Sefton. I think their words of praise definitely helped my sales. I thanked them--in writing--for their efforts and gave them each a small gift basket, put together with advice from my gift basket designer protagonist, Claire Hanover. Many authors give their blurbers an autographed copy of their book once it's published, and that's a fine gift, too.
I've got my thinking cap on for thank you gifts for my Deadly Currents blurbers. Anyone got any ideas? A miniature whitewater raft full of chocolates? A gift certificate for a whitewater rafting ride near where they live? Smoked salmon and bagels?