A Twitter Thread on Book Blurbing
From earlier today, presented here for archival purposes, and also, you know, to make the the point that people are often very confidently wrong about things. The subject at hand is whether I pretty much indiscriminately endorse the books that come my way. Longtime readers here know the answer to that, but it’s always worth repeating.
1. Lol, no. I show off piles of books to show people what’s coming out; I also give authors space on my site to promote their latest books. But the number of books I actually *blurb* – give a quote for their cover – is actually pretty small, limited to books I’ve read and liked.
2. Nor do I (or the authors I know) engage in simple logrolling. Do I endorse the books of friends? Sure – if I like them. I don’t endorse books of authors I know if they’re not to my liking. And I endorse books of authors I don’t know when they come to me and are amazing.
3. I decline to endorse the large majority of books that I’m sent to blurb. Mostly because I just don’t have time to read them (I warn the editors up front that might be the case) but sometimes just because it’s not the book for me, even if it will be a fabulous book for others.
4. And for the record I have never been *pressured* by an editor/publisher/etc to blurb a book. Several is the time my own publisher has sent me something for endorsement and I didn’t give it. The response is always, “okay, thanks, maybe next time.”
5. Not on this person specifically, but I really get annoyed with the assumption that author endorsements are this corrupt and chummy thing. That’s bullshit. If you see my name on the cover of someone’s book, it’s because I think that book is good and worth a look. That’s it.
6. This “blurbs are corrupt” nonsense is part of a larger narrative of “publishing is fixed, you have to know someone and/or recite a secret password” bad thinking. It’s untrue. Getting published isn’t easy but it’s not just for a pre-determined club. Reductive nonsense, that is.
7. Oh, and, know what? I have a pretty damn good track record with my blurbs. Many of those books have gone on to award wins and/or bestseller status; some have been made into movies or television. It’s correlation not causation! But indicative of me not being indiscriminate.
8. That said: I happily *promote* writers! I retweet their stuff, post pics of books sent to me, schedule Big Ideas, and otherwise help to get word out. Why? Because I have reach and because promoting books is *hard* even in the best of times, which these are not. Glad to help!
9. I can’t possibly read or actively endorse every book I’m sent or know about or retweet. But I can let other people know they *exist,* and I’m happy to do that. If that counts as *endorsement* to you, then okay, I guess. My own distinction is a little more fine-grained.
10. In sum: author book endorsements generally (and certainly mine specifically) are not glad-handedly corrupt. If I blurb something, I actually, you know, *liked* it. Thank you. And now, here’s a picture of a cat to see you all out of this thread.