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Effusive encomia

by Jessica

I’m a great believer in the value of blurbs, and I pay careful attention to who has weighed in on the cover copy of any given book, but, thanks to Galley Cat, I could not help but chuckle at The Guardian’s contest, which was spurred by Nicole Krauss’s glowing-to-the-point-of-incandescent endorsement of David Grossman’s new novel To The End of the Land. Grossman’s book is on my to-read pile, and I am now keen to see the degree to which I agree with Ms. Krauss rapturous praise.

To what degree do endorsements matter to you? Will you read a new writer based on the recommendation of a beloved author? Can you offer any examples?

16 Responses to Effusive encomia

  1. Jamie says:

    I picked up the first book in the Mortal Instruments series based on the Stephenie Meyer blurb on the front cover…and glad I did! Sometimes the blurb is a great selling point for me.

  2. Tom M Franklin says:

    a good blurb from the right author will definitely catch my eye. if charles de lint likes a book enough to blurb for it, i'm half sold already.

  3. Kathryn Packer Roberts says:

    Blurbs actually means very little to me. Sorry, but when I saw all the recommendations of Stephanie Meyer's first book, I thought, 'wow, this must be a great book', but when I read it I found that it was an incomplete novel(meaning, in my opinion, it wasn't ready for publication. It could have used more work.) I know that is harsh, but so it is.

    On the other hand, I have read several series by LJ Smith (this was back when I was a teen, YA) and there were no recommendations on the back, just a synopsis. I LOVE LJ Smith. Her books, all of the ones I have read (which are many) have all been right on. Great plot, great characters, etc.

    Anyway, just one persons oppinion. (hope I didn't offend the Twilighters out there).

  4. Anonymous says:

    I ignore them until I've actually bought the book and am laying in a bubble bath about to read it.

  5. Kristin Laughtin says:

    Wow. That is quite a blurb. I'd probably laugh a little if I saw it at the bookstore.

    I rarely pay attention to blurbs, though. I may raise my eyebrows with interest if there's a good one on the front, but they've never been enough to make me buy a book I didn't intend to before.

  6. Tricia J. O'Brien says:

    I used to often buy books when they had blurbs by authors I admired–until I got burned. I realize that opinion is subjective, but I'm just not so quick to take one person's word anymore.

  7. Melody says:

    I only take author blurbs seriously when 1) I know the author giving the blurb, and 2) When that author writes in the same genre.

  8. CFD Trade says:

    Well, I would definitely like to read a book that has been recommended by Dan Brown…:)

  9. Brandi says:

    Did it once, I picked up a book with a blurb from Jim Butcher (whose books I adore), and absolutely hated the book. I decided then that just because I like an author it doesn't mean we have similar taste in books. So, I went back to my policy of reading the back of the book and reading a few pages from the beginning of the book. If it catches my interest, cool, if not, I don't care who endorsed it.

  10. Suzi McGowen says:

    As a reader, I don't even see the blurbs. Literally. My eyes just glaze right over them.

    As a writer, if I were to get a nice blurb from an author I liked, I'd probably cry big weepy tears and hug myself in delight.

  11. Lynn says:

    Suzi, you took the words right out of my mouth!!!

  12. Jason says:

    I'm not sure. I read them, but I don't really believe them. It seems that every book has some blurb on it recommending it, so it's not a discriminator anymore.

    That said, when I see one from an author I like, I will pay more attention. I generally don't read the back cover copy, I found it gives too much of the plot away. (I like mysteries, and even an allusion to something can sometimes give things away.) However, I'll read the back cover copy if I like the writer that gives the blurb; and if I like the copy I'll buy the book.

    What really gets me to buy a book is a friend's recommendation. Or a sales' clerk's recommendation, for that matter, after I've told him or her what books I like.

    And what gets me to NOT buy a book is a terrible cover. Sure, good covers are attractive, but that's not what gets me to read a book. A bad cover can make me put a book down, though.

    Blurbs? Not so much. I expect them to be glowing and positive.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Endorsements don't mean a hill of beans to me no matter what. If the blurb catches my attention and/or I read a review on the book and it sounded like something I would enjoy I'll get the book. But blurbs? They are so much noise to me and frankly I don't even really read them.

  14. Harry Connolly says:

    As a reader, I never pay attention to blurbs.

    However, many of the readers who write me about my book tell me they picked it up because of the Jim Butcher blurb on the front cover, so I know it's important to a lot of people.

  15. Jan Markley says:

    As an author I read the blurbs, but I don't think the average reader would notice them unless it was a writer they knew.

  16. evilphilip says:

    The two times I have specifically purchased a book because Stephen King blurbed it (online, not on the front of the book) I was horribly disappointed.

    Unless someone you love is blurbing a book YOU wrote, I say they are worthless.

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