Have you ever been reading a book and thought, “I love this book—and other readers who love this book would love my books, too!” In the past, when I experienced this, I would make a mental note to remember the author as a candidate for providing an author blurb for one of my books. Later (sometimes much later), when I was finishing a book and was considering authors to approach for a blurb, those mental notes weren’t always so easily accessible. Even if I could remember the name of the author, I often couldn’t remember the reason I had thought he or she would be a good candidate for a blurb.
The first and most obvious tip …
Don’t rely on mental notes!
Capture the author’s name in a formal record.
Of course, I recommend a spreadsheet—and further recommend that you not have a separate spreadsheet just for blurb candidates, but instead have one master spreadsheet for all your contacts: blurb candidates, review candidates, research sources, support resources such as proofreaders, the nice person you met at the conference. You never know when the nice person you met at the conference might also be a great review candidate, and you don’t want to have to maintain this information in multiple locations.
The second and less obvious tip …
Draft a blurb request immediately!
Capture some information on why this author’s readers might enjoy your book as well; if months pass between the time you read the book and the time you request the blurb, your memories of why you thought this would be a good match will be hazy at best.
Here’s an example of a blurb request I drafted after reading a supernatural suspense novel …
You did a masterful job of weaving supernatural elements into a realistic story, of creating fully realized characters, and of bringing the location to life in a way that made it a character itself. I also loved the revelation plot, and your portrayal of the complex relationship between a father and son.
These are all things I aspire to in my own books. My first two books—The Sense of Death and The Sense of Reckoning—follow Ann Kinnear, a woman with the ability to sense spirits. A major theme of the books is how a person deals with an extraordinary ability in the context of the ordinary world, much as your characters do. I also share your fascination with historic buildings—The Sense of Reckoning has as one of its primary setting a fictionalized version of The Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor, Maine.
This version is the results of quite a bit of revision, but you don’t have to produce a polished product—just capture the idea, and note some specifics that illustrate commonalities between your work and the author’s.
This provides benefits even if you decide never to solicit a blurb from the author. It can serve as the basis for a well-thought-out review of the book on Amazon or Goodreads, is a useful exercise in analysis for both the author’s book and your own, or can just serve as an interesting record of your reactions to the book.
When the time comes to make the actual solicitation, check out the articles below for some tips:
Writers Digest, “10 Basis on How to Nab Your Book a Blurb,” Jenna Glatzer, March 21, 2011
Huffington Post, “7 Ways to Make Pimping Your Book for a Blurb Less Weird,” Holly Robinson, November 12, 2014
ˆScience Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, How Do You Ask for a Blurb?, Jennifer Brozek, September 17, 2015