Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Fistful of Blurbs

I just saw a few copies of my newest paperback (Rusty Nail) in a bookstore, and did the standard author thing of picking them up and fondling them while grinning like an idiot. While fondling, I was stuck with a powerful emotion:

I'm the luckiest damn person on the planet.

I felt this because I'm living my dream, and because I'm well published by a smart publisher who knows what they're doing.

But I also felt this because on the cover, above the title, is this quote:

"Thrills, chills, and laugh-out-loud hilarity... Konrath expertly pours on both shivers and fun." - Tess Gerristsen.

I'm thrilled to get this blurb. Not because Tess is a NYT Bestselling author (though that doesn't hurt.) But because Tess is a stellar writer, and I've admired her work for a decade. Having met Tess, I can vouch that she's every bit as cool in person as she is in print. Having her name on my book makes me feel all kinds of cool.

But my happiness gets even happier. If you buy Rusty Nail (and you should) and open the cover you'll find wonderful blurbs by authors Anne Frasier, Alex Kava, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Gayle Lynds, William Kent Krueger, Jack Kerley, PJ Parrish, James Rollins, and Ridley Pearson. Plus favorable snippets from Booklist, Library Journal, PW, and the Midwest Book review.

If you happen to run into a paperback of Bloody Mary, on the cover you'll see this terrific blurb:

"Excellent smart-mouth thrills... my advice: Take an long sip." - Lee Child.

Thanks, Lee!

You'll also see praise from authors James O. Born, Blake Crouch, Bill Fitzhugh, David Morrell, Barara D'Amato, and MJ Rose.

If you move on the the PB of Whiskey Sour, on the cover you'll see the quote:

"Whiskey Sour is the best debut of the year." - Chicago Sun-Times (which is uber-critic David Montgomery)

There are also blurbs from Jay Bonansinga, Raymond Benson, Robert W. Walker, George C. Chesbro, F. Paul Wilson, Steve Alten, David Wiltse, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Andrew Vachss, Barry Eisler, Eric Garcia, Warren B. Murphy, and David Ellis.

Which means I've had 30 writers say nice things about me. That's thirty-one if you count Kay Hooper's remarks about Dirty Martini:

“It’s difficult as hell to balance wit with suspense and horrific violence with humor, but JA Konrath manages the feat deftly in his “Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Daniels” series of thrillers. Jack is a smart, sexy cop with a rocky personal life and a career that pits her strength and skill against the worst kind of evil – and she not only triumphs but does so with humor and style. Spend some time with Jack and the people in her life; I can promise you won’t regret it.”

So I've been extremely lucky when it comes to getting blurbs.

Naturally, I also try to return the favor.

Perusing the mystery section of the bookstore, I found eight books with my blurbs on either the front or back cover, and another four with quotes from me inside them.

Though I'm waaaay behind on my blurbs (I have a TBR pile the height of my desk) I still try my best to blurb everyone who asks. I went into a lot of detail about blurbing on a previous blog post (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2006/02/secret-world-of-blurbing.html) and I don't want to repeat myself here. Suffice to say, both getting and giving blurbs is an important part of the publishing business.

We all should remember that.


Unknown said...

So, JA, since you're in such a hospitable mood, can I put you down for a blurb on my debut novel? Assuming that is it gets published, which I realize is still a longshot, given that I don't even have an agent yet. Hey, a guy has to have a goal! I'm pretty sure I could cajole Kristy Kiernan into providing one, so you would be in excellent company. Seriously, congrats on your newest book and heres to its continued success.

Spy Scribbler said...

I bet it's all well-deserved. Good to see you're taking the time to smell the roses, too!

I can't wait for Dirty Martini to come out! Best of luck!

Rob Flumignan said...

I'm looking forward to the day when I can walk into a bookstore and see my own book on the shelf, with or without blurbs. It's nice that the thrill hasn't worn off for ya. Them are some nice blurbs. Congrats.

Jim said...

Joe: I don't know if one of the books you picked up was FATAL LAWS, but if it wasn't, you'd find one of your blurbs there too. I'm very happy to see you're still blurbing. Best as always, Jim Michael Hansen.

Patti said...

i tripped across you from allison's site. i am a newbie. all bright eyed and unpublished. i loved the entries and will be back. oh, and i linked you.

Flip Dixon said...

I actually saw a cardboard book display with a JA Konrath blurb at the top of it! I forgot the name of the book though.

Jude Hardin said...

Blurbs are cool. Can't wait to get mine!

Potential sales boosts aside, it's really nice to get a bit of validation from someone you respect.

JD Rhoades said...

Thanks, Joe, for your excellent blurb for me.

Ty said...

This is what I love about this blog: I learn something new with every post.

Always wondered how blurbs worked. Now I know.

Tom Schreck said...

I'm incredibly proud that the following blurb was written for my debut ON THE ROPES, A DUFFY DOMBROWSKI MYSTERY(...which debuts in September)

"Schreck is a major new talent, and Duffy has my vote for the best new character in mystery fiction. Laugh out-loud without sacrificing thrills,
loaded with suspense, charm, and heart, ON THE ROPES is one of the best debuts of this, or any, year. The ending had me standing up and cheering. No BS. You will love this book."
JA Konrath

Besides that blurb he introduced me to a whole host of other writers that wound up blurbing my book.

I hope I get big enough some day if for no other reason than to be able to blurb Konrath.

Sept '07

Allison Brennan said...

I agree that blurbs are important, and I try to read everything I'm sent. But I often turn down books because of time. Every book I've blurbed I've read cover-to-cover. I can't in good conscience give a quote for something I haven't read. I know we disagree on this, but that's okay--good people can disagree, right?

The thing is, I feel awful when I tell someone I don't have the time to read their book. This is why I much prefer the request coming from an agent or an editor. It's much easier to tell them, "Send it, but I really don't know if I can get to it." I always ask when the need it, and usually I know if I can get to it.

Reading takes time, and while I read fast I can't read in the middle of writing. It throws me out of my story, so I save up books and manuscripts for that small window of time between ending one book and starting the next.

Anyway, you should be proud of your quotes, Joe! They are all terrific. My mom liked your book--I think I gave her BLOODY MARY, but it might have been the one before that.

WDGagliani said...

Just ducking in here to say that I'm very proud of my JA Konrath blurb! Thanks, Joe! I think your very concise exclamation may well have sold quite a few books to people who waffled -- should I or shouldn't I? Then they saw: "The best werewolf novel since THE HOWLING!" -- JA Konrath... and probably said: what the heck, why not? Thanks, amigo!

W.D. Gagliani

Mark Terry said...

Yeah, Joe, I appreciate your great blurb for The Devil's Pitchfork. Thanks!

Trish Ryan said...

Congratulations - it's cool to read about how much you appreciate how life is going for you, your books, your writing. This blog is a fun place to hang out :)

And thanks for the inspiration (and shot of courage) as I start thinking about asking for blurbs for my book!

Tasha Alexander said...

I was a happy girl the day I got my J.A. Konrath blurb...

Dawn said...

I was fortunate enough to get a blurb by best selling Australian author Kim Wilkins and her kindness in assisting a newbie author was much appreciated. The book is on sale only in New Zealand (but can be sold online -hint, hint!) and I'm sure her quote will have a dollar value.

Mary Stella said...

I appreciate your honesty about blurbs and that you do your best to actually read the books that you blurb -- or at least enough of each book to give a reasonable blurb. It totally bummed me out last year when I found out that some authors don't read the books and, in fact, tell the writer to make up a blurb and they'll agree to it. As a reader, that bothers me, but maybe I'm just naive.

As an author, I'm incredibly uncomfortable asking other authors for blurbs. I said once that I feel like the writing equivalent of a hungry Oliver, holding up my book and asking, "Please, sir, may I have a blurb?" *g*

Peggy Payne said...

You are a hero to try to blurb everything you're sent. Wow!

Also, it's very nice that you're enjoying your own success so much. It's easy to get weird and nervous about it.

wannabe said...

But Joe,

Surely you don't blurb every book sent to you? What if the writing is not up to par? You wouldn't endorse a bad product now, would you?

DC Homeowners said...