Thursday, July 31, 2008

Report From The Floor (RWA 2008)

STATUS: I’m finally back in my room before midnight and have the energy to blog.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Nothing at the moment.

Best Quote of the Conference So far
“In paranormal and you’re not an already established published author, if it’s the same story about a hunky magical hero with the same beautiful mortal woman saving the world, it doesn’t matter if the world is defined by Shiva, vampires, Quetzalcoatl, or Merlin; that alone is not making the genre fresh.”
--Abby Zidle, S&S Pocket




Best RWA Random Moment




Marie Bostwick, Me, Brenda Novak are all wearing the same bracelet.

Best San Francisco Random Moment
While standing on the corner of Union Square in downtown while checking email messages on my iPhone, I looked up and around to figure out which way I needed to walk to find my street when a gentleman standing nearby caught my eye and said: “just in case you might have been wondering, you still have got it going on.”

Not quite sure how to reply (and I actually hadn’t been wondering), I went with the simple, “thank you.”

Can’t say that’s ever happened to me in Denver. Made me chuckle all the way to my lunch meeting.

Hottest RWA Moment
Ally Carter and I convince thriller writer Barry Eisler to proudly wear “I am a Gallagher Girl” pin.



Proudest RWA Moment so far: NLA’s Rita Nominees

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Kelly Parra

Linnea Sinclair

Simone Elkeles

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

All In A Day's Work

STATUS: In San Fran for Romance Writers of America national conference. Even more alarming to me is that Worldcon will literally follow right on its heels. I’ve got a crazy two weeks ahead of me.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WALK ON THE WILD SIDE by Lou Reed

After I got here, I realized the one thing I forgot to pack. A jacket. Dang it’s chilly here in San Fran. With several weeks of 95+ degree weather in Denver, I just plum forgot.

So what has happened to me today?

1. While boarding my plane, I ran into a children’s book publicist I knew and we spent the flight chatting about the biz (well, amongst other things).

2. Had a lovely afternoon tea with said publicist.

3. Checked into my hotel room (which took blessedly only about 5 minutes or so). I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before at RWA. Lines are usually long.

4. Wrestled with the hotel internet connection. I’m happy to announce that I was victorious.

5. My dinner plans were derailed but happily an agent friend took pity on me and invited to me to her agency dinner instead.

6. Had a blast talking with her clients—one of which mentioned that she didn’t know that agents could be friends with each other (and she didn’t ask in a bad way—she was just surprised). Yes, agents are often friends with each other and we celebrate each other’s success.

7. Authors are so loquacious when wine is involved. I heard some great stories this evening (but client confidential—even if they weren’t my authors!).

8. Some writers are coming from as far away as England and New Zealand for this conference (waves to all the Kiwis I hung out with last August—be sure to say hello).

9. Checked email. Frightful amount I might add. Still lots of it is last minute planning that needs to be accomplished for the week to kick off right.

Tomorrow morning I’m having coffee with an editor from MacAdam/Cage (and no, they don’t do romance at all but they are based here in San Fran and I love to connect when possible).

I’ve got lunch with an editor. Afternoon tea with a client. Literacy Signing and then the evening parties begin.

This year’s RWA is especially exciting as the agency has 6 RITA nominations for 4 authors:
Linnea Sinclair
Hank Ryan
Kelly Parra
Simone Elkeles

And to top off the excitement, I also have a new client who is a Golden Heart nominee:
Courtney Milan

Boy am I going to be on pins and needles come Saturday evening when the Awards ceremony takes place.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Shades Of The S&S Out Of Print Debacle

STATUS: Heading out tomorrow morning for RWA in San Francisco. To be honest, I don’t know how much time I will have to blog but if I can, I’ll try and send reports from the floor.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? APOLOGIZE by OneRepublic

Hey it didn’t work all that effectively for S&S in the United States but who says it won’t fly across the pond?

The agents over there of course. Since I do have an international reading base, this is for you Brits out there. It’s Random House UK’s turn to see if they can play with the Out of Print clause in this digital age.

Here’s the story. Haven’t heard any news about whether RH USA will be follow suit but I imagine we Yanks will be watching closely.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Don’t Mistake Voice For Character Development

STATUS: It was a nice quiet day. Only something like 25 emails versus my usual 60 to 80 on any given work day. Gosh I love half-day Fridays in publishing!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? COME MONDAY by Jimmy Buffett

I’ve been reading sample pages again this week (a desperate bid to catch up before I go out of town all next week for RWA in San Fran).

And here’s another “problem” that has me thinking this week. I see a lot of young adult sample pages and one thing I’d like to highlight is that writers should not mistake voice for character development in their manuscripts.

In other words, I’m seeing a lot of sample pages with fun, light (dare I say—chick litty) kinds of voices where the main characters will use a lot of OMG or “hello? How could they not know” type of phrases as a way capturing girl teen speak.

Now I understand why writers are using this. It’s a fun, more light tone to convey the lighter nature of the novel but that alone does not define your main protagonist. In other words, that’s only ONE facet of character development. That alone will not be enough and that’s why I’m passing on a lot of sample pages as of late—pages with good concepts but an over-reliance on this voice technique and almost no other character development outside of the voice.

I need to see more original character development so the young teen protagonist strikes me as a unique individual (worthy of a story) and not a conglomeration of how teen girls talk.

It’s Friday and I’ll just throw it out there. Let me know if it makes sense. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Big In Slovenia!

STATUS: What craziness. Sara just got her wallet stolen and since of course she’s got the company credit card, we had to do some quick phone calling. Lucky for us, the thief was not able to act quickly enough to use the card.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? IF NOT NOW by Tracy Chapman

Okay, this is terribly embarrassing story. Yesterday, we sold one of our client books to be translated into Slovene.

Yeah, I had to look up Slovenia on google maps.

I had guessed former Yugoslavia but the fact that I couldn’t say for sure, well, that shows a bit of shortcoming on my part. Bad agent! If I’m going to sell a translation right, I really ought to know to which country and where it is on the globe…

But hey, maybe we’ll be big in Slovenia! May this be the first of many.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So Whatever Happened To That Guy…

STATUS: I literally was on the phone from about 9:30 this morning until now. Not continuously mind you but that’s a lot of phone conferences.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? DOMINO by Van Morrison

who did the Book Promotion 2.0 youtube hit?



Well, Bella Stander did an interview with Mr. Cass that you might want to check out.

It’s a revealing look on how intention can really make the difference in promotion. Art for art's sake etc.

And one of my authors, Shanna Swendson, grabs the spirit of GOOD TO GREAT and outlines how it might apply to authors. That’s definitely worth a look!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nip That Rumor In The Bud

STATUS: I’m totally laughing.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? A WHITER SHADE OF PALE by Annie Lennox

Sometimes I just can’t help but want to know how a rumor gets started. I’m particularly delighted with the one that I had passed on Stephenie Meyer’s TWILIGHT (titled as something else? FORKS?) when it was in query form or on submission.

Folks, TWILIGHT was sold by an agent friend of mine back in December of 2003—long before I started representing anything in the children or young adult world as that didn’t happen until early of 2005.

There wouldn’t have been any reason for Ms. Meyer to send me a query (and we certainly didn’t see sample pages) of this project as I didn’t represent young adult at the time.

That would also have been pretty darn early in my career (as I opened my own agency doors in August 2002). I had just sold my first project as my own agent in February of 2003, so I can’t imagine I was on too many radars back in those early days.

(Which I remember so fondly as we only received 10 to 15 email queries a day rather than the 80 to 100 we get now…).

I’m absolutely tickled by this rumor, and only Ms. Meyer could say for sure whether my agency was on her agent list or not, but sorry, from the knowledge I have, it’s not true.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Do Agents Feel Regret?

STATUS: Man, I totally rocked on my TO DO list today. I have one more task that I must finish before leaving the office so I’m off to do that right now.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? MY HEART WILL GO ON by Celine Dion

Today I passed on material from an author who already had several offers of representation on the table from other agents.

Is this hard for an agent to do? Yes and no and here’s the process I went through.

1. I knew that the author already had several offers of representation so I read quickly and paid extra attention to what I was reading.

2. The topic was hot and I did think that the project would sell (and probably quickly) so with that in mind, I reread the material.

3. My thoughts didn’t change. I liked the premise and the concept but I wasn’t in love with the story.

4. Did I think that I could work with the author on it? Yes. But the question isn’t whether I could work with the author on it, the question is should I? If other agents love it enough to take it on right now, then maybe that’s the clear signal that I’m not the right agent for this project.

5. When this project sells (and potentially for big money because hey, the topic was hot enough and I could see this happening), would I regret passing on it?

Ah, now that’s the question I don’t think I have an answer to.

Won’t know how I feel until it happens, right?

But I can make this remark. Last year I passed on a project that landed on the NYT list for a short duration. Did I then regret having passed? Well, I picked up the book and gave the first 50 pages of the published version a read—after all, a lot can happen in editing etc.

After rereading, it still wasn’t my cup of tea but I certainly wished the author well. Obviously this person found the right champion for the book.

Now if anything I passed on attained JK Rowling status, well then, what I can I say? I’d probably kick myself. Who wouldn’t?

I pray every day that doesn’t happen (and my apologies to the authors I passed on because obviously you’d love to attain that kind of hallowed performance!)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Beginning Writer Mistake (Take 4)

STATUS: TGIF! Really, what more is there to say?

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WHEN YOU COME by Crowded House

Let’s round off this week by focusing on one more mistake Sara and I have been seeing lately. We call it the opening-chapter-back-story-info-dump.

That pretty much sums it up.

But if you want more details, this is when writers feel like they can’t begin their story until the readers know and understand the back story, or the history of the character who opens the novel, or how the world works (if this is SF or fantasy). So, the opening chapter usually has nothing to do with the direction of the rest of the novel but the writer hasn’t mastered the ability to integrate it seamlessly as the real-time story unfolds.

The writing is almost always explanation (telling instead of showing) with very little dialogue, scene action, or character development.

Auto NO response every time.

This is often why prologues don’t work.

And don’t be fooled, the chapter back story info dump is sometimes disguised by coming in chapter 2 or chapter 3 but can be characterized by many pages where the above telling versus showing happens at the expense of dialogue, plot, character, or scenes to move the story forward.

So don’t just breathe a sigh of relief if you’ve checked your opening chapters and it’s not there. The large info dump chunk can sneak in later. If the chunk comes later and the rest of the novel is decent until then, we agents will allow some wiggle room because that issue can be easily edited if it’s just a one time snafu. I find that if this problem exists though, many of the other beginning writer mistakes are present as well.

Have a happy editing weekend!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Titles: Another Writer Mistake?

STATUS: I've got a lot of phone calls to do to start my day.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? 50 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR LOVER by Simon & Garfunkel

This one is certainly a lesser evil and in comparison to some of the other writer mistakes we’ve talked about this week, low on the totem pole. But I do think it’s worth mentioning although I’m pretty sure I’ve already discussed this at least once on my blog.

The overdone title.

A couple of thoughts to keep in mind:

1. Sometimes simple works—and works really well. (TWILIGHT for example). Don’t make a title more complicated then you need.

My client Jenny O’Connell has a great example of this with her two current back-to-back releases from MTV/Pocket Books: LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS.



My sense is that you can probably figure out the direction of the story just from the titles. The first book, Local Girls, is about two teens who have grown up on island of Martha’s Vineyard. They are the local girls until one teen’s mother gets remarried to a rich tourist and takes the family from the island to Boston. The story takes place the next summer where the once local girl has returned as a tourist and will the friendship survive?

Rich Boys is, yep, you got it. A local girl hired to babysit a wealthy summer family’s little girl becomes entangled with the wealthy family’s older son who, after a disastrous first year of college, is bent on wreaking havoc.

Simple but grabby.

2. Avoid the pithy title with the long, rambling subtitle. I cannot tell you how often I see this. The title can be something like (and I’m making this up off the top of my head), The Survivor Chronicles (which could be a rather cool title if you think about it!). And then the author ruins it with the lengthy subtitle such as (and yes, this is an exaggeration)—a memoir about a young abused woman coming of age, discovering her bi-polarism, embracing her sexuality and finally triumphing against all odds.

Heck, I don’t need to read the book anymore…And yes, unfortunately, I do recognize that the professionals in the publishing industry are often guilty of this but as writers, there is no need for you to fall into this trap.

3. In general, avoid titles that might be hard to pronounce or difficult to spell.

4. To Be a Long Title or Not to Be a Long title? That is the question. And the answer is that it depends.

AND THEN WE CAME TO THE END works because as readers, we totally get it and the longer title is memorable.

Same with I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU. We’ve all used a similar phrase often so the longer title works.

But then you have the power of the short title such as Brooke Taylor’s UNDONE.

This title can be read in so many ways. It leaves a question in the reader’s mind. What is undone? Does it mean incomplete? Or, to come undone? In this case, it’s the first question. What is left undone is the 5 wishes of a teen girl who dies and her best friend, Serena, decides to complete the list and in doing so, discovers who she really is.



The short title can be evocative.

And speaking of short titles and writer mistakes, you might want to check out this soon-to-be released slim volume called HOW FICTION WORKS by James Wood. Funny, he's tackling all the issues that I've just talked about on this blog. Powerful stuff.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Beginning Writer Mistakes (Take 3)

STATUS: When I do my blog early in the day, I feel like I’ve actually accomplished something! Time to channel this energy into all my other tasks for the day.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta

I’m still thinking of those sample pages from last night and it totally reminded me of another writer mistake which didn’t become crystal clear until this morning. Definitely another pitfall to avoid.

Okay, the writer writes a solid, action-oriented scene where the characters involved make crucial discoveries that move the story forward. Another plot piece snaps into place for the reader. This is great. This is exactly what a good writer should be doing. This scene works.

Then in the next scene, characters arrive that weren’t in the previous scene and now the writer feels like it’s necessary to recap the previous scene in dialogue for the newly arrived characters.

Sometimes this is necessary but when it happens repeatedly in the story, it’s just bad writing. Not to mention, it’s going to feel repetitive as the reader already knows the information.

As for dialogue revealing back story, sure that’s a good tool but yet another writing element that should not be overused.

Here’s another thing to be on the look out for. Do your characters just sit around having conversations rather than actively doing something in a scene? This one can be hard to spot as the dialogue can be really good, crucial even, but if readers start paying attention, they’ll realize that nothing BUT dialogue and conversations are happening in the novel.

You don’t want that either! Trust me, I’ve seen this. As an agent, it might take me 80 pages to catch on but eventually I will and I’ll pass on the manuscript.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Beginning Writer Mistakes (Take 2)

STATUS: First day back in the office after being away is always a bit busy. There’s just a lot of catch up to do.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WHAT YOU NEED by INXS

Tonight I was reading some sample pages (this time from material requested) and I hit on yet another newbie writer mistake. Actually, I need to clarify. This writing mistake isn’t relegated to just new writers. I see this error happen for seasoned writers as well. Writers who have enough talent on the page to keep me reading for a100 pages or so before I finally give up in exasperation.

Curious as to what it is?

It’s the mistake of telling instead of showing but in the guise of dialogue that seems to revolve around in active scene but if one analyzes what is actually unfolding, there isn’t any real action happening.

In other words, the characters are basically sitting around talking about their past actions or research or a discovery but the reader is getting privy to that information after the fact rather than having the writer write the scene where the discovery is made.

I’ll tell you right now that this is a tough error to spot as dialogue SEEMS to be moving the story forward but if you look closely enough, the dialogue is simply recapping an event or a discovery that happened off stage. Once the writer has fallen into this trap, it’s hard to break from it and ultimately the whole manuscript ends up suffering despite the occasional really fine bright spot or two in the narrative where a scene unfolds as it should.

And I wish I could share actual examples but I can’t. My clients don’t make these kinds of mistakes and the materials I’ve requested are private (proprietary info) and can’t be shared without permission. I can’t imagine too many writers would want to volunteer for that “honor” on this blog.

And will I try and point this out in my letter to the author? Sure but since I’m not going to dissect a scene where this occurs, I’m not sure how helpful my general commentary will be. I can only hope these writers seek external help from critique groups and/or already established writers to pinpoint this pitfall.

It’s definitely a writing foe worth vanquishing!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Beginning Writer Mistakes

STATUS: Tonight I’ll be back in Denver and ready to start my week.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SHAKE IT by Metro Station
(Can you tell I’ve been spending time with a 14 year old?)

Over the course of the year, I often participate in writer conference charity events where the prize is a read by yours truly. In other words, when I read for charity, Sara is not prescreening. Same with certain referrals sent my way.

Since the materials weren’t requested, I’m seeing sample pages from writers of various levels of ability, and with these unscreened pages, I see two very obvious beginning writer mistakes. Both of which could be easily fixed once the problem is pointed out and once the writer gets a little “formal” training regarding the writing process (either through a class or via a good critique group).

Here they are in case anyone reading this blog finds this remotely helpful.

1. The old adage still holds true. Show, don’t tell. In other words, newbie writers will often have a scene and then follow it with an explanation of the scene for the reader. Or, the newbie will simply explain what they want from the scene rather than write the scene well and let the scene speak for itself through character building, setting, and dialogue.

I will often see this in above average sample pages as well—in other words, writers are exhibiting a lot of expertise with a scene and then they can’t resist telling or offering an explanation! But as I mentioned, this is an easy aspect of writing to learn and fix.

2. Problems with dialogue. This issue exists on two levels. One, the newbie writer will include dialogue that doesn’t further the story, help the scene, or explore character. (in other words, the dialogue is pointless). Or two, the writer will have a bit of dialogue (and it can be well executed) and then there is a summary of what the reader should have gotten from the dialogue immediately thereafter.

These two issues will mark the writer as a newbie every time and with a little instructive teaching, can be tackled and resolved. As an agent, I don’t have time to go through and mark the manuscript to point this out. My assumption is that these key writing skills should be learned before querying the agent. It’s just a pass—sometimes with a comment referring to this but most often not.

Monday, July 07, 2008

And Oldie But Goodie

STATUS: A little harried at the moment.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Nothing but it should be MANIC MONDAY by the Bangles

I have to go out of town unexpectedly today and I won’t be blogging for the rest of the week. I apologize for the dead space for next couple of days.

In the meantime, enjoy this classic from Mitchell and Webb.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Good To Great?

STATUS: TGIT! I think it’s going to be a lovely weekend in Denver. I’m looking forward to it. Yes, I’ll probably work some but hopefully not until Sunday night.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? THIN LINE by Indigo Girls

Last night I was reading GOOD TO GREAT by Jim Collins. It’s a nonfiction work on why some companies make the leap and others don’t. I’m only into chapter 2 so I can’t relay a lot of info about what I’m learning yet but it did put me in a philosophical mood.

As I see the world, it’s not enough to simply be a good agent with an eye for good material. Well, that’s not exactly true. If you are an agent working for an already well established agency, that’s probably accurate as the agent only needs to find good material, work with individual clients, etc. He or she isn’t also running the company.

But if you are an agent who also runs the show, then having a good eye for excellent material is not the only factor on what will make the agency successful. You also have to know how to run a company well.

And therein is the reason why I’m reading two “business” books currently: GOOD TO GREAT and THE 10-DAY MBA.

Because guess what? I don’t have an MBA. In fact, I only have one agent friend who has an MBA. I also know a few agents who are also attorneys (which is a nice combo) but doesn’t really teach you how to run a company. To be successful, I not only have to be a good agent, I have to be a good CEO of the company.

So what have I learned so far from Jim Collins? CEOs that have taken companies from good to great where not flashy, celebrity-type leaders a la Lee Ioccoca. In fact, they were people that held the good of company over their own personal success—be it in wealth or in reputation.

They were soft spoken, self-effacing, and often had great humility—but not one of them was weak in character, drive, or determination. Collins called these folks Level 5 leaders.

Dang. I might have already failed the first step to becoming good to great. We’ll see. The second thing I’ve learned, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to talk about this more in the book, is that it’s not enough to have all the people on the same bus. What’s important is having the right people on the bus and those people are the key to implementing good to great elements beyond the CEO.

Now I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ve got the right people on the bus with Sara, my contracts manager, my attorney, my accountant, my bookkeeper, and my co-agents.

That’s a start!

Collins also mentioned that it was a conscious choice on the company’s part to make the leap. One reason why I’m reading the book. He also says that being a “good” company is also the biggest obstacle to becoming great. Interesting, isn’t it? I consider Nelson Literary Agency to be a good company—so in a sense, according to Collins theory, we are our own worst enemy. We could be keeping ourselves from making the leap.

Have other agencies thought of this? Have specific agencies gone from good to great? If so, I wonder what agencies I’d name that have made the leap. Could that be measured? In GOOD TO GREAT, Collins only looks at public companies where data could be measured in sales/stock growth over a 15 year period. That rules out private companies—of which most agencies are.

I haven’t any answers folks but I do have a lot of questions.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Day In The Life

STATUS: Tomorrow will be TGIT. Hey, don’t get to say that often.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? ROUTE 66 by Natalie Cole

I imagine blog readers wonder what agents do all day besides sitting around eating bon-bons and looking glamorous (which is something I’m still trying to achieve).

It’s almost 5 in the afternoon and that in itself has me scratching my head. What did I do all day?

Well, here it is in a nutshell.

Morning
1. Answered emails that didn’t get handled yesterday. This took about 2 hours.

2. RWA is fast approaching so although the NLA dinner party is all organized (thanks to Sara), I’m working on my appointments to schedule with clients, editors, etc.

3. I’m attending the Maui Writers Conference in August so this morning I worked with their travel coordinator to set up the travel.

4. At 11:30 a.m., I had a phone conference with two Hollywood producers who happen to like my books and wanted to get to know me better.

Afternoon
1. Started review of a Hollywood film contract for one of my clients. Got interrupted numerous times so I’m going to have to start anew tomorrow. That’s what I plan to achieve in the morning as I think most publishing folks are taking the long weekend so I probably won’t have a lot of interruptions.

2. Answered some rather urgent emails that had come in.

3. Did a phone conference between a client and the editor to discuss marketing/promotion plans for a 2009 spring release.

4. For a different client, reviewed the marketing/promo plan that I had discussed with the author’s editor earlier in the week but the editor was finally sending me the outline. Thrilled with the big plans the publisher has in mind. This title will be the hardcover lead for this publisher in spring 2009 in the adult trade market.

5. Reviewed a client payment that Sara had processed.

6. Started reading through queries that are marked for me to review (which I have neglected horribly for the last 4 weeks). I’ve read through about 70 of them but have another 100 to go. Have to leave the office soon but I’m hoping to tackle some more for the next 20 minutes.

7. Took 15 minutes to write this blog entry.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

No Freewheelin’ With The Blurb Endorsements

STATUS: It was quiet for one day. I can’t even believe I said it was quiet yesterday. Plenty to do between now and Thursday. Won’t be in the office on Friday and of course, no blogging.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? DEMOLITION MAN by The police

I’m not really going to tally the results this time. Yesterday’s “poll” was more about creating a discussion around blurbs. For an author who is receiving the blurb endorsement, it’s an incredible feeling. That someone way more established than you (or famous) thought your novel worthy of praise. It’s big validation for a debut author in a world where there aren’t many validating moments outside of sales performance. And I always think of it as incredibly generous for an established author to do. When done right, it takes a lot of time to read a novel and it takes even more time to think of a short, pithy blurb that really captures the author’s emotion about it.

Try writing one for a favorite book of yours just as practice. It’s not easy.

For readers, it seems a mixed bag. I do know that booksellers and publishers absolutely do believe that blurb endorsements help to sell books.

Here’s what I’ve gleaned:

1. The author name has to be pretty big—as in immediately recognizable—for it to make an impact.

2. Readers do feel it’s part of the advertising.

3. Authors should not be too carefree about what they blurb as that can shape reader perception—of the blurbed books and for the books that author writes. Blurb only books where the endorsement is really meant.

4. Many readers find it helpful. That maybe they’ll try a new author they might not otherwise if a favorite author has blurbed the book.

5. The text of the blurb is just as important as the blurb itself. Faked enthusiasm is recognizable.