Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's In A Blurb

Congratulations - the winner of the giveaway is semicircles! Please contact me at LCypess@gmail.com with your address and your second book choice!

For the curious: The entries were all very varied and interesting, but breaking it down, we have about 34 people who said they always or sometimes are influenced by blurbs, and 14 who said they never or rarely care about them.

It’s an interesting experience to have a first book that releases in both hardcover and paperback. With the hardcover, you get the thrill of seeing your book in print for the first time – and there’s nothing that beats that – but the second comes with all sorts of pleasant surprises, and one of the most pleasant is the presence of blurbs. In the year since the hardcover release, people have said nice things about Mistwood. And there they are on the paperback!

Blurbs make an author feel good (trust me), but the constant question in publishing is: Do they actually have any effect on the reader? What I’ve heard from some people is that the answer is age dependent – in adult publishing, the consensus is that blurbs do affect readers; in YA, probably not to a great extent; and in mid-grade, probably not at all. Of course, as with most information in publishing, this is based on a strenuous and scientific review of five pieces of anecdotal evidence. So, I’m curious: do blurbs affect your buying decisions? Will they make you look at a book more closely? Do you even notice them?

Let us know what you think in the comments, and you’ll be entered in a giveaway to win a signed copy of the Mistwood paperback – plus a copy of any book by any of my wonderful blurbers, your choice! (Yes, this is a token of appreciation. And if it gives me an excuse to list them, well, I can live with that.)

The blurbers are: Tamora Pierce, Aprilynne Pike, Megan Whalen Turner, Juliet Marillier, Sarah Rees Brennan, Sharon Shinn, and Cindy Pon. There are a LOT of awesome books to choose from there, people. Giveaway ends May 5.

55 comments:

Nicole M said...

I guess it depends on who's saying what about the book. I remember reading on the cover of If I Stay by Gayle Forman that it would appeal to those fans of Twilight (me being one of them). Knowing that, I picked it up and, using that quote as a reference, already had some preconceived notions about it. But it was nothing-NOTHING-like Twilight. I wasn't mad that it wasn't like Twilight, I was more mad that they basically said it was and it turned out they were using a household name to get people to be interested in it. Then again, other times I've noticed authors that I like have said great things about a book and I did pick it up for that reason (though not that reason alone). Does that answer your question? :D

Anyway, I'm really interested in reading Mistwood and see what the mystery book is! Great contest :)

Thanks!

Nicole

Nicole M said...

And I think you mean May 5th, not April... At least, I hope you do :O

Vivien said...

I do tend to take a second look at blurbs if it's by someone I know. However, I will say that I once picked up a book solely based on the blurb, by an author I loved, and I really didn't enjoy the book at all. It was such a disappointment. So I may be more cautious from now on. I do read mostly YA though, and I don't think I've ever really paid attention to the blurbs on adult novels.

Vivien
deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Becca Johnson said...

I usually don't even read the blurbs. I also get annoyed when the back of the book is covered in blurbs and has no summary. I have paid attention to blurbs only a few times, and that was because they were by authors I really respected. But most blurbs all sound the same to me and do nothing to encourage me to read the book.

Cool contest!

-Becca

Terri Garey said...

I do pay attention to blurbs, particularly if they're from an author I like to read. I know from experience that most authors won't GIVE a blurb unless they really, really liked the book. I also like a summary, too... I want to have an idea what the story's about before I buy a book!

AmyC ~ said...

Sometimes I listen to blurbs and other times, I just forgo them.

I too bought a series that was said to be 'better than Twilight'. I questioned the fandom of said person, if it was 'better'.

Anyway, the books were Nothing like Twilight and not even close to being 'better'. Live and Learn.

I would really like to read Mistwood.

AmyC (StarvnRtist@aol.com)

Sharon S. said...

I don't know if I trust blurbs. Aren't they usually by someone the author knows? I make my decision based on the summary on the back.

C.J. Redwine said...

I don't care about blurbs. I'm drawn to the cover, then the back of the book hook, and sometimes word of mouth or an author I already love. Reading is so subjective that just because another author loves that book doesn't mean I'm going to, so I pretty much ignore blurbs entirely.

lastnerve said...

I am a reviewer and I think I have a love/hate relationship with blurbs. There are some blurbs that give away too much information and I wish I'd never read them. Then there are those blurbs that have just hooked me and MADE me buy the book. So I guess my answer would be, if it doesn't give away too much information, I love it. If it gives away too much or is boring I hate it. Either way, yes, it does help me to decide whether or not to buy the book.

Val
lastnerve2000@gmail.com

ymiris said...

If it's an author I do not know, then I will read the blurb to see if it's something I like. But I do what you are never told to do..judge a book by its cover :)

Melissa said...

Hi!
I do look at the blurbs if their on the cover if that catch my attention but it isn't what makes me buy the book, because even if the blurb is by an author I like it doesn't mean that I will like the book in question
melissasanchezdempsey@hotmail.com

Kelsey said...

Before I take a book home with me, I look over every square inch of it. And I especially pay attention to the blurbs. There are certain authors I stalk - *cough* I mean FOLLOW - and I value certain opinions. If I spot a blurb by one of these authors I'll def take it into account.

dani_nguyen said...

I definitely notice blurbs. If one of my favorite authors blurbs a book, I'll usually read it. Likewise, if an author I don't really like blurbs a book, it might make me more hesitant to pick it up.

Thanks for the giveaway!
daniellesaunders1984(at)hotmail(dot)com

Maria Cristina Marques said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maria Cristina Marques said...

Actually, I really pay attention to the cover, author, synopsis and blurb...If it doesn't grab me, I try looking through the pages a bit, to see if I like the writing style, phrases... so it is somewhat important, yes.

Please count me in if it's international. ;)

cris_mv at hotmail dot com

Tiffany Drew said...

I always read the blurbs, but it doesn't always mean I am going to read the book. If there are blurbs from authors that I personally enjoy and they endorse the book, I am more likely to read it. If I enjoy their work and they enjoy the book, I most likely will too. Doesn't always happen though.

jaidahsmommy(at)comcast(dot)net

semicircles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
semicircles said...

n retrospect, it's funny that I've only recently realised that authors actually read and review books and appear on their blurbs, considering that I worked at a bookshop for 3 years. I guess I knew that on some basic level, but assumed that someone's publicist had thrown that on the cover. Also, because some authors are blurb whores (no offence meant), so that if they appeared on numerous covers, I would avoid the whole slew of them, even if I've previously read their work.

I'm attracted to covers to a certain extent, and definitely repulsed by bad titles, but blurbs make it or break it for me. I think Tamora Pierce's "Alanna: the First Adventure" is a great example of this - I remember being completely absorbed in the idea of escaping a convent for knight training. About eight and a half years later, I'm still demolishing her work. Similarly, I remember seeing 'Daughter of The Forest' by Julliet Marillier - the only reason I read it was because I happened to drop the book and something on the blurb interested me. I also (very vaguely) remember "Wings" had both 'petals' and 'wings' in this intriguing little sentence on the back, which totally sucked me in.

I own about 4 hardbacks (with the exception of the Harry Potter books), and 2 of them are these lovely bound Fairytale collections. Pretty sure this can be pinned solely to the fact that the lack of blurb makes me irrationally angry; the tension stays with me for the rest of the day. I don't care what other people think, I want to be able to make my own conclusions about the plot.

Becky LeJeune said...

I read blurbs and they do affect my decisions in some cases. I love to browse, so if I come across a book I haven't heard anything about, but am familiar with and like the blurbers, I'm probably going to give it a shot.

Tristan said...

I never read the synopsis on a book because i like to be surprised about EVERYTHING that happens, so i love the little blurbs they give you a little insight in the book without giving anything away.

SandyG265 said...

I don't tend to read blurbs for books by authors who I already like. But I do read blurbs when I'm trying to decide if I want to try a book by a new to me author. Although I won't buy a book on blurbs alone. The story and writting style have to appeal to me.

sgiden at verizon.net

Leah Cypess said...

Very interesting so far -- thanks, you guys!

Nicole, yes, I meant May 5 (and have corrected it). That's what I get for posting at 2:30 a.m. Thank you!

Sharon, some authors tend to blurb their friends, because they've already read the books in draft form - so why not? But often publishers will send ARCs to authors just in case they have time to read and review. I didn't personally know any of the people who blurbed my book - except for Megan Whalen Turner, who I met briefly at ALA (& gave her a copy of my ARC and held my breath!)

starryeyedjen said...

i don't think i'm *less* likely to read a book based on a blurb because i usually have a list of books i already want before i even head out to the bookstore (or online). but i think if i already know of the author providing the blurb, i am definitely more likely to move that book to the top of my list. and that's not just true of blurbs, but also of author recommendations on blogs, etc.

Melissa said...

I can see how great it makes an author feel to see the blurbs that accompany a new paperback. You might have read some reviews, but you might not have seen what everyone thinks about the book.

As a reader, I do notice blurbs that are on the cover. It's hard not to. But I can never remember a time where I picked up a book on the strength of the blurbs alone. And generally speaking, I completely ignore blurbs that are found on the book's interior. More often than not, it is the jacket or back cover copy that appeals to me.

melissa.montovani {at} gmail {dot} com

Andrea said...

Depends...if it's an author I know & love, the blurb is an afterthought. If it's an author/book I'm not familiar w/, I generally look @ the cover & then check out the blurb. If it looks interesting, it's a go!

HayleyAG said...

It depends, I usually know what books I want to buy well in advance- especially Young Adult. However, I sometimes see awesome covers on the shelf at the bookstore and I'l consider purchasing them, but then I'll see a blurb on the cover by an author I absolutely love and the decision is final- BOOK BOUGHT AND PAIN FOR! haha Would love to be entered into this contest. Have a great day!

Sullivan McPig said...

If it's a book by an unknown (to me) author and I'm on the fence about buying the book or not and if the blurb is by one of my favourite authors it will certainly result in me deciding positively about buying the book.(hope that made sense)

Lisette "Lisa" Reyes said...

When I decide to buy a book I look at bothe covers, I read the blurbs, and of course I take into account what the authors have to say about the book. The press always has something to say on the rating, which is a good factor, but I don't want to consider buying the book because of everyone elses opinions. I take a chance on it, because either the author is someone who is my fav. or especially if the author is a newby, I like to experience new books all time and rate them myself. I don't like anyone influencing my decision because it's not fair to the writer. After I read the book, I go on the authors website and let them know myself how I enjoyed their writing style and congratulate them for their accomplishment so they can feel good about their work! I have not had the opportunity to check your status out, or your book but please enter me in your contest and if I win, I will do so as always, Thank you for the opportunity, Ladyfiera@aol.com

JenM said...

I never read them. To be honest, I don't even notice them. It's like my eyes just magically slide right over them. I can honestly say that I've never bought or even picked up a book due to a blurb.

Barbara E. said...

I usually notice the blurbs, and read them (because I'm a compulsive reader), but usually not until I already have the book. I can't say that they influence me, but I do take note that a writer that I like felt this was a good book, and it makes me feel like maybe I made a good choice.

van_pham said...

I read blurbs sometimes, just to see which author its from, but they do not influence whether I'll buy the book or not. I usually look at the cover first than read the synopsis.

van
Littopandaxpress(at)yahoo(dot)com

Chen Yan Chang said...

I read the blurbs to see what other authors say about the book, but the blurbs don't sway my decision to read or buy a book. The summaries do :)

Elanor Lawrence said...

I'm a teen, and I find that endorsements from other authors don't really make a difference. Sometimes an author that I really admire will like books that I absolutely don't care for. I'd rather read reviews on goodreads instead of short praise-filled snippets on a book. For me, I like to get a sampling of good and bad reviews, not just praise.

LittleMsBookish said...

Yes! Blurbs do affect my book-buying. Sometimes, when I randomly pick a book that I still haven't researched in the bookstore and see that there's a blurb made by my favorite author or something then I'll trust her opinion and buy the book. :)

claudine_princess@yahoo.com.ph

Jessica Subject said...

I always look at the cover first. If it appeals to me, I'll read the blurb. If I'm still interested, I'll look for an excerpt (ebook) or read the first page.

So yes, the blurb definitely affects whether I'll buy the book.

Melinda said...

If I'm a fan of the writer giving the blurb, it defenitely makes me more interested in the book. I'm a sucker for Stephen King blurbs. If Uncle Stevie (as he calls himself in EW) likes a book, I'm in.

I'd think it would be the same for teen readers, that they'd respond to a blurb from an author they've read and liked.

cegluna said...

Blurbs didn't used to make a lick of difference to me. Until...Stephenie Meyer blurbed The Mortal Instruments series. That's why I picked it up (awesome series btw). Since then, I do pay more attention to blurbs (and recommendations) by authors I respect and whose writing I enjoy. If so-and-so (whose books I love) enjoys something enough to blurb it (or tweet about it), at the very least I read the cover flap to see if it would be my cup of tea :)

Llehn said...

I think the jacket copy makes me pick up a book more than a blurb. A blurb will make me take a second look at the book and then I'll turn to the back to check out what the book is about. If it doesn't intrigue me, I'll put the book back even if my fav author blurbed it.

lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Bookish Brunette said...

It all depends on who the blurb is by... Say the blurb was written by an author I didn't particularly care for, the obviously their opinion of the book means very little to me. If the blurb was written by someone I hold in high regard then I'm more likely to take notice.

Thebookishbrunette@gmail.com

donnas said...

I usually read them. Especially if its by someone I know of. But I cant say they make me buy the book. They might make me look in to it a little closer but unless I think it sounds good to me I still wont read it no matter what the blurb says.

Colleen McKie said...

If I'm not sure about a book and one of my favorite authors blurbed it? Yeah, I'm probably going to pick it up. If they liked it, and I like their work, it usually means that I'll like the book.

Kristen My Bookish Fairy Tale said...

If it is an author I have never read before I will look closer at the blurb. If I have read the author the blurbs usually do not affect my decisions at all.

kristen_babygurl@hotmail.com

Christine Amsden said...

I don't look at blurbs on the back of the book, but I will pay attention to what people are saying -- largely on the internet. A powerful synopsis is what will help most on the back cover.

Eve said...

I read them, because I want to know what others think about the book, and sometimes the blurbs can tell me what the book is about when there's no summary. Two days ago I bought a book mainly because of the blurbs, and it turns out to be an enjoyable read. So yeah, I like blurbs.

Raychelle said...

Yes, the blurb plays a role in whether or not I buy a book. I often use it to determine whether the book is of interest if there is no summary. I do not buy a book simply because others gave it good reviews though.

Raychelle smith
Shellyjean2008(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

Kate at Read This Book! said...

Not really, unless it's a blurb by one of my favorite authors, if not it won't really affect my judgement. What matters the most is the synopsis and cover and usually I will read a few pages before buying. If I like the writing style, I WILL buy it. :)

kate.readthisbook (at) gmail dot com

Anastasia said...

Blurbs are just fun little additions to a book, but they never drive me to buy or read something. They used to! I picked up a book once that had a great little blurb by Stephen King. Assuming that King would have good taste, I bought the book. Now, seeing how often he actually submits blurbs to books, I'm wondering if they're not other authors' attempts to keep themselves relevant in the highly fickle book industry.

Anastasia
stasiamb (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Krystal said...

I tend to read the blurbs, but they play no role in whether I read that book or not. I usually make my decision about the book, then read the blurbs (sometimes I don't even notice them). The blurbs are just like reviews - they are the persons own opinions, and you can only take them as they are.
Thanks for the giveaway!

stellarbookblog[at]gmail[dot]com

Sophie said...

If it's a favorite author of mine and a book I've not heard of before, blurbs play a huge role. Mostly because I know the author's tastes and I've learned to trust those through reading their books. Meagan Whalen Turner's blurb would definitely cause me to turn my head and pick up the book.

sophie(dot)riggsby(at)gmail(dot)com

Orchid said...

I do sometimes judge a book by who blurbs it. Like if it's blurbed by an author whose books have disappointed me on multiple occasions I might not pick it up...but I generally try to look past that and see if the book is something I would enjoy if I hadn't seen a certain authors blurb.
On the other hand, if one of my favorite auhtors is mentioned then I'll most likely give it a try. ^_^

hauntingorchid(at)aol(dot)com

Kai said...

Blurbs don't affect my decision on a book at all. Even if it's an author I like doing the review. I'm more affected by a summary and online recommendation especially since I mostly read e-books now

Kai Charles
fictionstateofmind@gmail.com

Giada M said...

Blurbs affect my buying decisions, especially If it's a favorite author of mine. Neil Gaiman's blurb would make me immediately buy the book.

Thank you for the awesome giveaway! :D Count me in of if it is international.

Giada M.

fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

Anki said...

A blurb is the first thing I look for before I pick a book. I think a well framed blurb can tell loads about a book without giving anything away. I pay attention mostly to characters and setting, cause I'm very picky about that.

Usually ignore the "Fans of so and so will like so and so book....". There are books I've liked despite it referring to a book that I didn't enjoy. Another weird thing, I suppose :)

So, yeah, a blurb is very important to me, even if it is an author who's books I like. (Though I very rarely have problems with books!)

Thanks for the amazing contest! :) *crosses fingers*

coolccs.anki@gmail.com

Jolene and Family said...

To be honest, I don't really pay attention to blurbs and tend to scan over them, acknowlede them but never have they swayed my buying choices. I love blogs and I love reading reviews, but I go into the review knowing it's a matter of opinion and reviews as well have never swayed my buying choices. I go on instinct, if I'm interested I'm going to look into it. I'm currently reading a book I'm struggling through and part of me wants to put it down and walk away, but I'm trying to stick with it and finish it. The blurbs on the book I'm reading are all done by authors and blogs I love, though I'm just not feeling the story. So, to me it's a matter of opinion, I'll read the blurbs but I don't take them to heart and like to form my own ideas.

june111(at)att(dot)net

kristina shields said...

I think blurbs really do help with buying a book. I know with me, I'll read the blurb and if it sounds interesting I'll buy it. It's what might draw a reader to that book to purchase.