Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Guest Post: ADVICE ON BLURBS: HOW NOT TO DO IT

Today, we have a special guest! Here's Nicole Wolverton with how NOT to request blurbs! Take it away, Nicole!

Can we get a round of applause for Nicole?!
So last weekend I was at the Rosemont College Book Festival to sign copies of my psychological thriller, THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS. Another writer approached me.

“How did you get Emily St. John Mandel to blurb your book?” he asked. “Do you know her?”

I shook my head. “I have no idea why she agreed.”

Probably not the answer he wanted to hear, but it’s the truth. And it’s true of all three wonderful writers who blurbed my novel. One of them had been a guest judge for Five Minute Fiction when I was organizing it, but none of them knew me or owed me a solid. So how did it happen? And what is the process for securing blurbs anyway?

In some cases, the marketing and promotions team at your publishing house may want to target certain writers, perhaps writers also published with your imprint or writers who are well-known in your genre. Often, though, you—the writer—will be responsible for soliciting your own blurbs, whether you’re being published with one of the big houses (HarperCollins, for instance) or your book is coming out with a small press (like Bitingduck Press, who published my novel). That’s clearly true if you’re opting to self-publish.

Yeah, think about that: you have to email writers you admire, most of whom you don’t know or have no connection to, in order ask them for a huge favor. That’s not mortifying or fraught with opportunities to embarrass yourself at all.

So, today, I give you the top four ways NOT to solicit blurbs:

1.      Be a jerk. Assertiveness is key when dealing with strangers from whom you want something, so definitely skip the polite request to consider your manuscript for a blurb. Simply assume each writer on your wish list has the time and inclination to read your novel, no matter how long or out of their genre it is—either attach it right to the email and give them a two-day deadline to have your blurb in hand.
2.      Be creepy. In your email, be a total fangirl. Not normal fangirl-y but the stalker type. Mention that you know where the writer lives and will be happy to stop by to read the entire manuscript aloud to them. Be sure to include a line about something you found in their garbage during your last pilgrimage to his or her house.
3.      Take it public. You should totally pressure each writer on your list to blurb your book by posting about it on your blog, on Facebook or Tumblr, or by tweeting incessantly at each person on your wish list. But the very best way to get your writers to say yes is to bug their friends and followers, asking them to convince the folks on your list to provide a blurb.
4.      Throw a hissy fit. Are the writers on your wish list playing coy? Don’t they know who you are? Bombard them with emails to let them know exactly how miserable and stingy they are. Take to your social media accounts to ream them out for not jumping at the chance to read your brilliant manuscript. Complain to anyone who will listen about how badly you’re being treated by the writing community.

Oh, and no matter what . . . never, ever say thank you. For any reason.

Now, go forth and request your blurbs!

_______________________________________________

Nicole Wolverton spends an inordinate amount of time figuring out what makes people creeped out and uncomfortable. And when she’s not scheming or writing, she can be found running (for fun, not from things), dragon boating, or cooking. Publisher’s Weekly calls Nicole’s psychological thriller, THE TRAJECTORY OF DREAMS, a “skillful […] examination of a psychotic woman’s final descent into insanity,” while The Millions describes it as “wholly original and fearlessly dark.” She is represented by Michelle Witte of Mansion Street Literary Management. Nicole writes young adult and adult horror and thrillers.

Hang out with her on Twitter: @nicolewolverton
or on Facebook

Visit her website: www.nicolewolverton.com

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