Talking About Talking About Books

June 23rd, 2009 • Kate

bullhornA conversation starter today, if you don’t mind. I was thinking about blurbs, and how eager we as agents and editors are to get the right people to blurb our books, and I posed the question on Twitter: As readers, how much weight do you put on blurbs? Will you pick up an unknown author because of a blurb?

The bulk of your answers agreed that good, original blurbs from authors you already know and like do carry a lot of weight, at least in terms of picking up a book. But if an author you DON’T like blurbs a book, you might avoid it. Which leads me to a couple of follow-up questions:

– If an author you don’t know provides a blurb for a book by a likewise unknown author, does that do anything for you?
– How much weight do you put on WHAT is said in the blurb, versus just who says it?
– How do you find blurbs? I mean, are you already in the bookstore browsing, or do you go to a store because of a blurb already read?
– Do you put any more weight on blogs versus blurbs? For instance, if an author mentions on her blog a book that she enjoyed, will go seek it out?
– What about blog tours, or group blogs of authors? If you like one author, are you inclined to find out more about the other(s)?

I’m honestly curious. There’s a statistic floating around the interwebs that 85% of book sales come from word of mouth, and I’d love to know how much which mouths are talking matters. And to make things interesting… one random comment will win another copy of Vacations From Hell!

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40 Responses to “Talking About Talking About Books”

  1. jimnduncan Says:

    Ah, I mistook blurb for back cover blurbage. Unless it's an author I know about, it won't do anything for me. I almost always ignore them. I look at cover, back cover blurb, and if I'm still piqued, I'll read two to three pages. If I'm still interested at that point, then I keep it in mind to buy.

  2. meaghan Says:

    the people i most listen to are authors i like who recommend certain books through blog posts or on twitter, etc. a blurb on a book usually has little influence on me. when i go to the library or book store, i almost always already know what i am looking for.

  3. thelittlefluffycat Says:

    I'm finding I get a lot of my recommendations from twitter, now. Thinking in particular about Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You, which I'm bouncing looking forward to Picador's online discussion on, and The Stranger, which my husband is reading right now. Both of these were recommended by agents, although not (at least I don't think) the representatives of the authors, and I'm finding the opinion of somebody who basically reads for a living on what blows their socks off really carries a lot of weight with me.

    I think if I see a blurb on a very new author from someone who is quite famous, my cynical mind is going to want to know how they met, yadda yadda. In other words, a simple, "Superb! A sure choice for Hugo Nomination! A brave new voice!" isn't going to get me there. I do want more. Give me two or three really meaty blurbs from names I recognize over a back full of review blurbs, any time.

  4. beth Says:

    – If an author you don’t know provides a blurb for a book by a likewise unknown author, does that do anything for you?

    -Absolutely nothing. I'll ignore it entirely.

    – How much weight do you put on WHAT is said in the blurb, versus just who says it?

    -Pretty much none–they all say about the same thing.

    – How do you find blurbs? I mean, are you already in the bookstore browsing, or do you go to a store because of a blurb already read?

    -ALWAYS when I have the book in my hand. I buy books one of three ways.

    1) I've read it before (library, a book I've read as a kid) and liked it so much I wanted to own it.

    2) I've heard about it from a friend or an online blog (I subscribe to several kidlit book blogs) or I've just heard about it enough (i.e. Twilight) that I want it.

    3) I'm browsing the bookstore (which I do a lot) and the cover catches my eye.

    Blurbs don't matter in case 1. A blurb *might* matter in case 2 (i.e. Stephenie Myers blurb for Wings was pretty impressive). Blurbs matter more in case 3–if I'm on the fence about the book, that'll push me over.

    – Do you put any more weight on blogs versus blurbs? For instance, if an author mentions on her blog a book that she enjoyed, will go seek it out?

    Blogs, absolutely. I subscribe to several, and there are about 5 book bloggers I read daily. They usually agree on the quality of the book–and I usually agree with them. I've made at least 15 book purchases this year based 100% on book bloggers–and all those books were books I'd not heard of before (or had heard of and dismissed) and then went on to seek those books out.

    – What about blog tours, or group blogs of authors? If you like one author, are you inclined to find out more about the other(s)?

    No, not really. With the exception of the online promotions of Cynthea Lui's book and the Twenty Boy Summer book, I've not seen a blog tour or author book promotion online that was effective for me.

    I’m honestly curious. There’s a statistic floating around the interwebs that 85% of book sales come from word of mouth, and I’d love to know how much which mouths are talking matters.

    -For me–book bloggers.

  5. HWPetty Says:

    – If an author you don’t know provides a blurb for a book by a likewise unknown author, does that do anything for you?

    No. Blurbs only catch my eye if it's one of my favorite authors. And even then it means very little. If I don't know the blurbing author at all, it means nothing.

    – How much weight do you put on WHAT is said in the blurb, versus just who says it?

    I have almost never seen anything interesting said in a blurb. It's usually the same old drivel.

    – How do you find blurbs? I mean, are you already in the bookstore browsing, or do you go to a store because of a blurb already read?

    I'm almost always in the bookstore browsing. ahahaha

    – Do you put any more weight on blogs versus blurbs? For instance, if an author mentions on her blog a book that she enjoyed, will go seek it out?

    Blogs hold WAY more weight, mostly because they'll say more than one or two sentences. And reading even a paragraph of review from an author whose blog I follow means more than the sentence a publisher edited out of a review.

    – What about blog tours, or group blogs of authors? If you like one author, are you inclined to find out more about the other(s)?

    I'll look into friends of authors that I like. I found Cassie Clare through Holly Black, found Maureen Johnson through John Green…etc.

    But the author still has to be in a genre I'm interested in reading. And, in the end, they have to have a book I want to read.

  6. Manar Says:

    Okay, I'm just going to go down the list and answer your questions in order.

    -If I don't know the author who blurbs the book, or the author of the book itself, then it doesn't impact me in any way (Unless, perhaps, it is an unprecedentedly amazing blurb?). It's perfectly possible that I will still read the book, but if I do it will be based on other factors.

    -Blurbs are always complimentary, so the specifics of what is said isn't really all that important. Whatever it is, it's good, and that's basically all that matters. So, to me, the item of real importance is who said it. The exception to this is when blurbs compare the work of the author that they are blurbing to another author that I like. In that case, I am more likely to read the book.

    -I generally encounter blurbs when I am already in the bookstore browsing.

    -I put an equal weight on books that authors blog about and blurb. I will read any book that a favorite author either blurbs or blogs about.

    -I most definitely am inclined to find out about more of the authors if I like one in a group. I do this all of the time. The same holds for when a favorite author co-writes a book with someone else. I am inclined to go and read everything else by the co-writer(s).

    I hope that my answers were helpful. 🙂

  7. Kiersten White Says:

    I've already read Vacations from Hell, and quite enjoyed it : )

    As I said on Twitter, if I know the blurber and it feels like more than a generic "Fun read!" soundbite, then it will definitely sway me.

    If I don't know either author, it has no effect.

    And if an author takes time to talk about the book on their blog (or if friends do, etc) then I am definitely more likely to seek it out.

    HOWEVER–if I feel like a book is being sold solely on the weight of a blurb, it's more likely to turn me off for some reason. Tell me about what the book is, not what [redacted] thinks of it.

  8. HWPetty Says:

    I'm with jimnduncan… I thought you meant back of the book blurbs in your Twitter question.

    To be honest, an author blurb has never affected my purchasing decision. Unless you count suggestions on blogs.

  9. Sonia Says:

    Anytime an author I recognize and respect recommends a book, I am interested in finding out more about it. I do take stock in blurbs from authors I don't know, but not nearly as much as I do from authors whom I like. What is said in the blurbs is equally as important as who says it, but of course it means more from a source that I recognize.

    I think I put equal weight on blurbs and books. Whenever authors I like mention books in their blogs, I look them up. Similarly, if an author I like is grouped with other authors, I will try to find out more about their books as well.

    Hope this helps!

    Sonia

  10. Edi Says:

    I don't like blurbs in or on books. To me it's like tiny ads, and that bugs me. I try to ignore them entirely, to be honest, and I'm probably more likely to buy a book if it *doesn't* have any (or many) blurbs on it.

    Blogs are a completely different story for two major reasons. (1) The ones I read are by authors that I like and respect, not just random authors or journalists that I may or may not know or like. (2) I get to read their thoughts in context and in significantly more depth than the 1-2 sentences (or less!) that go into the typical blurb. Whether I end up agreeing with them or not, I definitely respect, and thoughtfully consider, the opinions that are expressed by the authors whose blogs I read.

  11. ksg Says:

    If it's an author I don't know writing the blurb, it does nothing for me, no matter how good a blurb it is. If I DO know the author, then the blurb impacts me more if it seems genuine and specific. Either way, I'm going to open the book up and read the first page to see if it seems interesting. If I don't like that first page, then even a great blurb by an author I respect won't affect me. I really only see blurbs when I'm in the bookstore browsing, but since I buy most of my books on amazon.com anyway, I don't often see the blurbs. The "Look inside this book!" feature on amazon has a lot more sway over my book-buying than a blurb does. Book reviews (NYT, CSM) and public radio have an even greater impact on my buying. As for your other question, I don't even know what a "blog tour" and "group blogs of authors" are. I don't often read authors' blogs. I do follow a few authors on Twitter, though, and if they talk about other authors there, I am likely to peek at those authors' twitter pages, and if the authors are tweeting interesting things, I'm likely to eventually mosey on over to the author's website and check out his/her books. For example, I discovered Maureen Johnson on a Mashable list of tweeting authors, became captivated by her sense of humor, and bought "The Bermudez Triangle" just because I liked her personality, although I'm 30 and not her target demographic at all!

  12. WindyA Says:

    I usually read books based on recommendations from people I know, fellow writers, family members, etc.

    I think there's only been 1 case where I've picked up a book based on reading the back cover and was won over by the blurb on the cover. The blurb was from an author I adore and one who I had rarely, if ever, seen a blurb from, making me think that she was really passionate about this book.

    I do read the blurbs, though, just as an FYI. But I've seen a few too many from certain authors and it just makes me think they "LOVE" everything they read, so there definitely isn't as much value in their opinion anymore. At least not to me.

  13. Christine Nguyen Says:

    – If an author you don’t know provides a blurb for a book by a likewise unknown author, does that do anything for you?

    If I don't know BOTH authors, I wouldn't pay any attention to the blurb.

    – How much weight do you put on WHAT is said in the blurb, versus just who says it?

    To me, it's 95% what the blurb says versus 5% who said it. I read the blurb to give me a better idea on the book's genre, plot, characters, etc.

    – Do you put any more weight on blogs versus blurbs? For instance, if an author mentions on her blog a book that she enjoyed, will go seek it out?

    I've never bought a book because of a blurb alone. I decide what books I'm going to buy next because of blogs and, now, Twitter! What usually happens is an agent or author I admire will talk about a book (I've noticed that people in the publishing community often read the same thing at the same time) and I'll look it up on Amazon. Amazon then recommends similar books that it thinks I'll like and then I keep clicking and adding things to my shopping cart until I realize that I shouldn't spend $200 on books in one sitting …

    Hope this helps!

  14. Megan Says:

    When I see a blurb, it is because I am inside the bookstore already. I do most of my book-buying based solely on the covers and summaries, mostly because I've already read everything my friends recommend. Because of this, a blurb from an author I know and like definitely catches my eye.

    Of course, the author is just about the only thing I care about in a blurb. There isn't much you can say in one or two sentences that'll persuade me either way.

    Of course, blogs will do much more for me than blurbs, especially if it's by someone whose opinion I already trust. Youtube seems to be doing even more for me than these blogs, however. All of my new favorite YA authors were found via John Green during/after Brotherhood 2.0. Basically, I trust the opinions of authors I know, evn I only follow them on twitter.

    And that covers everything, I think. Hope it helps.

  15. dust Says:

    Blurbs read in bookstores by someone I know and love = I'll at least flip through the book. I don't care about the content of the blurb.

    Blurbs run across via Internet of pretty much anybody, as long as the blurb sounds interesting = I'll look the book up and add it to my Amazon list if it sounds interesting, and check it out from the library if it still sounds interesting when I get that far.

  16. Rob Charron Says:

    Hi 🙂

    If it's an author I enjoy who has a blurb on the book – that book rises 90% in my estimation. Usually blurbs are on the front cover or back. What is said is not really as important as the overall recommendation.

    🙂

    Blogs from authors or reviewers I follow & trust who recommend a book will make me read more about it to make sure it is a book I would read. 95% of the time the recommendation results in me buying that book.

    🙂

    Twitter has given me a lot of new authors and books to adore and has sold more books to me than any other method in my life. For instance, I'd never heard of Maureen Johnson and now I am an avid fan of hers, having bought her back catalogue and eager for more from her.

    🙂

    Thanks for this great topic.

    Love From Canada

    xoxo

  17. Stephanie W. Says:

    Blurbs are a are also big thing for me as well. I put quite a bit of weight on them – that, and the cover. 🙂

  18. Kathleen Foucart Says:

    If an author I don't know blurbs a book by another author I don't know, it depends on what is said. If it's a generic "This book is fantastic!" it doesn't do much for me. But if it says something specific- describing great characters, how they read the book in one sitting because they couldn't put it down, etc. then I might take another look.

    The blurbs from authors I DO know are when it matters a little less what they say, and a simple "I love this book!" will do.

    Usually I don't notice blurbs unless I'm physically standing in front of the book. If I see blurbs on a website for a book I might read them, but I'm much more likely to notice a blurb when I'm looking at a physical book.

    I put a little bit more weight on a blog entry than a blurb, since blog entries can go into more depth, and I frequently go look up books authors talk about on their blogs.

    Blog tours I don't pay much attention to, but that's mainly because I don't notice them going on unless they cross over onto someone whose blog I already read. I don't read many group blogs, but the ones I do read have sparked my interest in authors who I haven't previously read- unless I don't like their tone in blog entries. Then I get a bit iffy about whether I want to read them or not.

    Hope that helped! 🙂

  19. Karen Says:

    I don't really put much weight on blubs on books. Half of the time I never even notice them. If it's a cold pick, something I've never heard of before, I'll read the back or inside cover to see what the book is about. Then I'll read the first page and if I like both, I'll buy it.

    Since most of my friends don't read or simply don't read the same genre that I read, I get most of my book referrals from blog blurbs/reviews. I read a lot of reviews on Amazon, Shelfari and Goodreads. I go right to the 1-star reviews or whatever constitutes that the reader didn't like the book. Those reviews are usually the most informative and sometimes help me decide to actually buy a book.

    To answer some of your questions…if an author I don't like blurbed a book, I would probably roll my eyes, make a comment under my breath about the blurb, but I'd still read the back and the first page:-)

    Truthfully, if the blurb came from an author who I really like, I'd probably do the same as above with the exception of the eye roll and muttering under my breath.

  20. Casey Says:

    I only pay attention to the author behind a blurb if it's an author I really, really like. I'm more interested in what it says – if it's an intriguing blurb, no matter who wrote it, I gain more interest in the book. If it's a typical blurb, I could care less.

    To answer one of your other questions, I generally only pay attention to blurbs in book stores, since I don't generally see them online. However, I recently read an author's novel because of the great blurbs she had posted on her Publisher's Marketplace page.

    Also, if an author was raving about someone else's book on their blog (and I respected the author's opinion) I would definitely have more interest in the book than if I saw a blurb on a copy at the store. To me, if an author is excited enough about the book to say something on their personal blog, it shows more genuine interest than giving the author or publisher a blurb for the cover of the book.

  21. Kristin Says:

    I think that most authors write a that they want to read themselves. So keeping that in mind, if I am a fan of a certain author and they recommend it, I will look into reading the book.

  22. Samantha Clark Says:

    I don't pay too much attention to author blurbs either. Sometimes they might get me to open a book, but only if I'm already almost ready to.

    Titles attract me most to books. I browse the shelves and pull out any title that looks like it's up my street. After the title, I read the jacket flap and see if it lives up to the name, then I read the first few pages. If I want to continue reading, I buy. I bought the first book in the Sisters Grimm: Fairy Tale Detectives series because of the title. Who could pass that up?

    As for blog tours, I do think they're good. J.A. Konrath said his Web traffic lifted enormously and Amazon ranking of his books rose when he did his blog tour for Afraid. I think it builds buzz, and so many people find entertainment online these days.

  23. Amy Lynn Sonnichsen Says:

    Blurbs might be more important to non-fiction than fiction, simply because it helps to know the source is trustworthy. If I read the jacket copy and the first page of a work of fiction, and I like what I read, then I'll probably want to read the book, regardless of whether Stephen King likes it or not. With non-fiction, I may like what I read on jacket flap or first page, but if someone with a title or a certain degree says, "This is a great book!" I'll be a lot more likely to pick it up. Especially if it's someone I respect in that field.

    That "word of mouth" may be something we really have little control over. I know the fiction titles I read are normally ones that circulate in my group of friends, so "word of mouth" is at a much more personal level. Blurbs are kind of a bonus after I've already decided to buy.

  24. Anna Says:

    As I said on Facebook, I hate blurbs and don't let them influence my book purchasing at all. I think they take away from the artistry of a cover, and I just always find myself wondering how many of them are taken out of context. How many times is the review like, "I hated this book! However, I did like…" and what comes after the dots is what goes on the cover?

    If an author I like Twittered about a book or mentioned it in their blog, I would definitely Google that book and consider buying it. But if they just mentioned that a publisher had sent them an advance copy for a blurb from that author, I would avoid that book. Blurbs are GIMMICKS, and I like my books real and pure and un-pimped.

  25. Sara Says:

    What an interesting question to mull over. I've never explicitly considered it before.

    I don't pay attention to blurbs at all. (I'll occasionally note a blurb as interesting, but it's an abstract kind of "huh, neat-o" thing, not a nudge to buy or not buy.)

    I'm far more likely to pay attention to recommendations from people who know my taste; even more often, I've come upon what turned out to be my favorite reads by pure happenstance — I heard something interesting on the radio, or I stumbled on a review that piqued my interest, etc.

    I'm also a teensy bit ashamed to admit that I've picked up many books simply because I liked the cover — especially a cool cover with a compelling or offbeat title. I swear there’s a correlation. Or I’m a marketing dupe. (If I come away with a great read, I suppose I don’t really care why.)

  26. Jamie Says:

    Blurbs for me do nothing… I dunno, I am just not all that interested in them. But, if someone mentions a book I should read on their blog or their twitter stream, and they are an author I like-then I will be far more likely to buy it.

    I would probably still go into the amazon reviews and check it out just to see what people are saying, though.

    The other BIG thing that would make me far more likely to buy it was if the author just had me click right through to their blog to the little "buy this book on my kindle" page. You see, I am quite the little impulse buyer, and things like that make me ten times more likely to click and buy before I ever even think about the ten bucks I am about to spend on the book. So, I guess the easier they make it for me… the quicker I am going to click and buy.

    As a side note, I started Vacations from Hell on the plane earlier today (the perfect book to read when you are coming HOME from vacation, BTW) and it's super fun!

  27. bookwormchris Says:

    – If an author you don’t know provides a blurb for a book by a likewise unknown author, does that do anything for you?

    Not really, unless they say something extraordinary (I mean beyond the normal banal things) and I like what I see after reading the back cover or inside cover.

    – How much weight do you put on WHAT is said in the blurb, versus just who says it?

    Again, not so interested in the ordinary boring blurb, even if it is by somebody I know. In fact, the blurbs aren't that helpful most of the time. A wonderful book might not have great blurbs, or any while a book I didn't like so much might have glowing blurbs.

    – How do you find blurbs? I mean, are you already in the bookstore browsing, or do you go to a store because of a blurb already read?

    I guess mostly I see blurbs when I browse in a bookstore. Generally though, I pick out books I've heard of or books whose author I've heard of.

    – Do you put any more weight on blogs versus blurbs? For instance, if an author mentions on her blog a book that she enjoyed, will go seek it out?

    Well, do vlogs (video blogs) count? I heard John Green mention E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and decided to check it out. I think the first instance was in a vlog, I know he has mentioned it on BlogTV as well. I've found a lot of good reading material via the Internet and interactions with authors on their blogs, twitters, etc. Really the Vlogbrothers are responsible for my recent foray back into Young Adult books because I really stopped reading too much of genre (well, the lines are blurry) probably around the end of elementary school or in middle school besides what I read in classes.* Lots of good YA about now to sink my teeth into.

    – What about blog tours, or group blogs of authors? If you like one author, are you inclined to find out more about the other(s)?

    Yes, I think I would be. I read a good deal, when I can find the time, so I'm always looking for exposure to new authors and their writings. I use recommendations from authors I've read and whose books I've enjoyed to help expand my reading horizons.

  28. kelljones Says:

    When I used to buy children's books for libraries and bookstores, I considered a combination of pre-release requests, reviews, and the books themselves. Author blurbs weren't usually available far enough in advance to influence a decision (or weren't on the ARCs and/or reviews).

    For my own reading, I tend to go for books that match my taste (so I want to know a fair amount about it), and books that people are genuinely excited about. Blurbs on the books themselves almost never fall in that category for me, since they feel like part of the advertising, not part of the excitement. Also, by the time I read the small print on the cover I've already come to a decision. (Not saying those authors didn't genuinely like it, but it becomes part of the official package for me, and therefore gets some extra salt applied.) On the other hand, if an author I like blogs about another author's book, that reads as genuine excitement to me; I treat that differently. (I do see the logic gap, but that's my perspective.)

    Best of all? When someone who knows my taste recommends a book to me. I hang out with a lot of book folks, so this happens a lot, and they're almost always dead on. Since those same folks are recommending (different) books to hundreds of other readers, I believe the "word of mouth" model is more of a "six degrees" thing, with those folks as hubs. And I definitely believe it's what moves books; almost every time someone has asked me for a book, it's because someone told them about it. The trick is finding those folks and getting books to them (and that's where reviews come in).

  29. tamara Says:

    I usually never pay attention to blurbs. I can actually only think of one instance where I bought a book because of the blurb.

    It was on a suspense/horror book (before I discovered the YA section of the bookstore and fell in love.) Anyway, I've always been a huge Koontz/King fan. I've read almost every book either of them has ever written.

    I noticed a book by some writer who's name I forget. It had a blurb on it from someone else I never heard of BUT the blurb said , "If you like Stephen King or Dean Koontz, you'll love this book."

    Obviously, those weren't the exact words, but that was the general idea. I bought the book based on that blurb. Of course it turns out the book was nothing like either Koontz or King. In fact, I hated the book.

    So now…no more blurbs for me.

    A blog on the other hand is a totally different matter. I've discovered a ton of new authors I love from people blogging about them.

  30. Rachel Green Says:

    In the last couple of years, 95% of my purchases are because someone blogged about it.

  31. Mandy Says:

    I rarely pay attention to blurbs. In fact if I look at the back cover and all I see are blurbs instead of the plot blurb about the book then I generally get annoyed and put the book back. I mean I like Orson Scott Card, but I really don't care that someone asked him to make a positive and uplifting statement about your book.

    Author blogs on the other hand are a different story, because then I'm not usually getting just one sentence that is always uplifting. I'm usually getting a couple sentences if not paragraphs about how the author liked the book, and then I'll go out and get it.

  32. Shelia Says:

    I don't put a lot of weight into blurbs.

    Word of mouth from friends, family, & authors/agents/editors on blogs do get my attention, but in the end, when I buy a book to read it is mainly because I want to read it, something captured me when I opened the book to a random page and started reading, or walked by and the cover looked interesting.

    I also never liked the comparing of an author to another (if you like X, then you'll like this). In the end, the author, their voice, & their characters are never the same as the authors I have already read & like.

  33. Carrie Harris Says:

    On very rare occasions, I'll see a blurb by one of my favorite authors who doesn't blurb often and be impressed by it. But I can't think of a single instance in which a blurb has driven me to buy a book that I hadn't already intended to buy. Often, I don't even read the blurbs until I have it home in my hands, and then I'm thinking, "Oh, cool. Author X likes the same things I do! That makes me cool by association!"

    Pitiful. I know.

    Blogs on the other hand, have driven me to buy way more books than my shelves can hold and my husband would like. A good blog review or virtual launch party can get me going like nothing else.

  34. Jenny Tonks Says:

    I used to buy books based on blurbs by my favorite authors, but recently got burned! An author that I LOVE touted a book on her blog AND on that book's jacket, but I bought it and HATED it, so will be re-thinking my preference from now on!

  35. Tilly Says:

    I stick strictly to the back cover/ first page rule. I read the back cover. If it interests me, I read the first page. If that interests me enough to cram several more pages in before the kids start yelling about Mcdonalds and ice cream, I buy it.

    I don't know how much work everyone else's mouth is doing, but I tell everyone I know when I've found a must read.

  36. Holly Bodger Says:

    I definitely read the back cover blurb and give it a lot of weight in my decision to read or not to read. I do not give the quotes from other authors any weight at all (honestly, I am not even sure if I believe they read the whole book before supplying the quote!) In both cases, this only applies to situations where I am browsing the book store without a specific intention (which is rare).

    I used to pick books from lists online (such as the recommendations on ReadingGroupGuides or Oprah) but I found that I disliked many of the books. So I switched to my now foolproof method which is to rely on personal recommendations, but only from readers with the same taste in books.

  37. *** Dave Says:

    I mistook what kind of "blurb" you were referencing as well. But as to the questions you're really asking …

    – If an author you don’t know provides a blurb for a book by a likewise unknown author, does that do anything for you? — It's quite a bit less likely to, unless they are actually saying anything that sounds interesting.

    – How much weight do you put on WHAT is said in the blurb, versus just who says it? — A lot. It's a plus if Neil Gaiman says, "Triffic read." It's a lot more of a plus if Neil Gaiman says, "Best retelling of the Arthurian theme I've seen 'Camelot.'" I respect Neil, and think his stuff is triffic, but I don't assume what he thinks triffic always matches what I do. More specifics help.

    – How do you find blurbs? I mean, are you already in the bookstore browsing, or do you go to a store because of a blurb already read? — Almost always in browsing.

    – Do you put any more weight on blogs versus blurbs? For instance, if an author mentions on her blog a book that she enjoyed, will go seek it out? — Again, it depends on why … but blogs more often go into the reason, which will give me more confidence that I might like (or probably won't like) the book.

    – What about blog tours, or group blogs of authors? If you like one author, are you inclined to find out more about the other(s)? — Not something I've been involved in, so, for the moment, no.

  38. Sara Raasch Says:

    A lot of times blurbs don't carry weight with me, especially when the blurbee and the blurber are known to be friends in the writing world. Of course you'll say your friend's book is awesome and exciting. I wouldn't expect otherwise. I just wouldn't put any weight in such a blurb, and would determine my purchase of the book on other things (plot uniqueness, reviews, etc). If the blurb was more in-depth, on someone's blog or in a review, I would put more weight with it. If the blurb said WHY it was such an awesome and exciting book, specifically, I would definitely consider it more.

  39. meftihe Says:

    -If an author you don’t know provides a blurb for a book by a likewise unknown author, does that do anything for you?(and) How much weight do you put on WHAT is said in the blurb, versus just who says it?

    I barely ever read blurbs. I find it time consuming, and often very misleading. Some of my favourite books in the world have the worst blurbs I've ever laid eyes on.

    – How do you find blurbs? I mean, are you already in the bookstore browsing, or do you go to a store because of a blurb already read?

    I go to the bookstore with a book, not just a blurb in mind. If I'm just bored I check out whats new in the sections I favor, and then browse for known authors.

    – Do you put any more weight on blogs versus blurbs? For instance, if an author mentions on her blog a book that she enjoyed, will go seek it out?

    Absolutely. I've read Tamora Pierce books since I was young and have been a member of her online community sheroescentral for around 7 years. On that site and her homepage Tamora often lists great reads and recommendations in different and similar genres. Fans on the site also discuss and recommend books, and since we already have one favourite author in common, I value their opinions more than any blurb.

    – What about blog tours, or group blogs of authors? If you like one author, are you inclined to find out more about the other(s)?

    A thousand times YES. For example, I love John Green and through his online exploits I found he was friends with Maureen Johnson. So I read her books and loved them. This led me to her friend Libba Bray, which also led me to Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfield, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, MT Anderson, and many many more.

  40. Yay! Powerless Blurbs! | kt literary Says:

    […] on a sec, that sounds wrong. It’s not “powerless,” right? According to our discussion, some people do look to blurbs for guidance on finding great to books. In which case, I’m […]