Book Report: Blurbage

With the book officially written and turned over to the production folks we move into the next phase – obtaining endorsements. Getting established writers to look at the manuscript and offer up a nice blurb can make the difference between the book going to check-out or the book being placed back on the shelf. Certainly I’ve bought books based solely on one or two sentences from authors I admire.
One hopes for something like:
“This is the greatest book I’ve ever read.” – Bob Smith.
But rather than Bob Smith you’d want someone more recognizable, like Norman Mailer or Jon Stewart.
HarperCollins compiled a list of authors to contact, including those I’ve mentioned admiring or who I know have come across my work. Fortunately they have their own staff with fancy, official stationery who will seek the endorsements for me. This gives the request much-needed credibility and saves me the pain of being rejected by agents, managers, publicists and other gatekeepers who stand between me and the author I’d like a blurb from.
There are some folks who I wanted to reach out to directly because I know they’ve read something of mine and liked it. I’d heard through the grapevine that author Neil Gaiman was a fan of Saddam’s Interrogation Logs so I asked him to take a look and he said he would, as busy as he is. I know that Penn Jillette read Your New Monkey on his radio show, so I made sure to reach out to him in a clumsy and unprofessional manner.
Small World I: While reading the bios of both aforementioned gents, I came to realize that Jillette and Gaiman were actually friends. (Wikipedia never lies).
Small World II: After realizing Gaiman and Jillete were connected, I then randomly followed the link of a regular Banterist commenter. I came across a photo of him with… Neal Gaiman. In Poland. Tiny, tiny planet we’re on, really.
John Hodgman wrote a funny book and hails from Brookline, Massachusetts where I had family, so he seemed right. But he’s busy working on another book and politely declined citing that he doesn’t have time to read or bathe.
I crossed paths in a roundabout way with Neal Pollack, author of Alternadad, when we were both writing for the short-lived reincarnation of CRACKED. So, I reached out to him and he said he’d take a gander.
Stephen Fry is someone I really enjoy. Probably a little obscure for an American audience. Alas, he doesn’t do endorsements, so no quandary.
Of course, you don’t want any endorsement. John Mayer doesn’t seem appropriate. And he’s not an author. Nor does he seem on the fatherhood track anytime soon. Glenn Beck would be a nice blurb, but you either love him or you don’t depending on how much you believe what the watchdog groups say.
Getting them to read the book is only part of the struggle. Hopefully they like it. And more hopefully they put together a blurb that works well on its own and doesn’t have to be Frankensteined with bits of words and lots of ellipses.
“This… book… heartwarming… great…” – Bob Smith