Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blurbs, Again

After Thriller Guy put up his rant about blurbs and how writers shouldn’t exaggerate the worth of books they’re blurbing, TG received a comment (which he intended to put up, but it got lost) from a reasonable gentleman who simply suggested that people should only give blurbs to books they think are really good. It’s refreshing to see that there are people like this still around, people who believe actual morality and truth telling should be our guides in life. Oh, if it were only so simple.
            To tell the truth, TG was telling the truth in that first blurb blog. He is annoyed when he reads rave reviews on books that are less than praiseworthy. But TG knows that it has been ever thus, and will ever be, for a variety of perfectly good reasons. The first and foremost is friendship. TG has written many times on what an insular, lonely road writing can be. So when writers go to conferences and award ceremonies or anywhere other writers are gathered, they tend to make friends easily. It is truly an us-against-the-world vibe at these get-togethers. So what is a writer to do when he goes home after a conference and finds a request from his newest best friend asking for a blurb for the newest best friend’s book? Why, he goes ahead and gives a great blurb, of course.
            So TG already knew the answer to the question he asked in the earlier blog, why do they do it. Mostly, TG was trying to stir up a little trouble, just to see what would happen. Turns out, not much.
            So here’s TGs suggestion: just don’t read the blurbs. They’re nonsense, for the most part, and it will make you annoyed with the blurber if you don’t agree. Got it? Don’t read blurbs, they’re worthless as far as being an indication of a book’s worth. They are only indications of who a writer’s friends are.



  1. Solution for readers: disregard reviews, especially in the case of non-commercially pubished books. Instead, read the sample chapter, or Amazon's "look inside" pages. Visit the writer's website. Blurb or no blurb, a turkey is soon revealed to those who can pay attention.
    Solution for writers: avoid writers' conferences. They are a cottage industry that serves mainly to provide summer employment to various types in publishing. Rarely do they do writers themselves much good. This is not said from bitterness (I once ran such a conference), but it is based on experience.

  2. Thank you Barry Knister for your intelligent advice. All you Thriller Guy readers out there take heed.
    FYI, Knister is a writer who has a dog novel, Just Bill. His blogs, mostly about dogs, are smart and funny. You can find them, and his novel, here: