Discussion: Blurbs!

A discussion with P.E. and Mari.

On Twitter, I saw Kelley Armstrong share this fascinating policy Margaret Atwood has when it comes to blurbs. She basically doesn't accept any blurb requests any more and made a really cool poem to express that. So, let's get the ball rollin' here. What do you think of blurbs? 

It's great that you brought up this topic because I've never really thought about blurbs. Over the past few year they've definitely become more obvious and abundant, especially in YA fiction. Blurbs now a days, remind me of when I go to the library and for some reason the librarians have decided to stick the barcode sticker smack dab in the middle of the synopsis/cover/place that you don't want to see it. What I'm trying to say is, they are not the most desirable things on a cover. I love J.K. Rowling, but I could care less about what she thought about *insert book name here*. Then again, that's just me. What your take? They are obviously present for marketing, I'm not charmed, are you?

I think they can definitely help. One part of me wanting to try Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is because two of my favourite all time authors, Veronica Roth and Rick Riordan, both recommended the book. I trust both these authors and it created excitement. I originally read The Hunger Games before it became big because Stephenie Meyer, my favourite author at the time, blurbed it. It's always encouraging to pick up a book and see one of your favourite authors likes it too.

That's a fair point and I can understand that. I find that people have different tastes in books and just because they wrote a book that is to my taste doesn't mean they read books that are to my taste. Also, there is the fact that everyone processes things differently and what works for them doesn't for me. I'm not sure exactly why but I've never been one to care much about the blurb. How do you feel about blurbs that aren't done by an author, like the on Raging Star? 

The whole pull behind a blurb is "ethos". The person blurbing must have some credibility. For me, some select bloggers and authors have that. There's no guarantee that I'll like the same book they do, but I have enough trust in them to at least try. I don't read much MTV so I can't comment on the credibility of that writer. That being said, I couldn't help but roll my eyes a little when I read "Better than The Hunger Games". I know this will probably help the book sell, but I don't like comparing stories. The Hunger Games has reached pop icon status- what could compare to it? How do you feel about comparisons? 

To be honest, comparisons really get the job done. I remember being new to YA and looking for the next good read without knowing what to read. So I would read whatever that was supposed to be like or better than my favourite book. However, as I've become more familiar with YA and my likes and dislikes and as I've read more of these books with blurb comparisons, I notice that they don't actually stack up. I especially don't believe them if the blurb is by some company. MTV, great, but who in MTV is saying this? 

I also take them with a fair grain of salt. The way I see it, all the comparison does is tell me if the book is in the same ballpark as the more popular book. It's easy to find books I'd be interested in. However, I never genuinely believe the blurbs.

What Do You Think?


  1. We're with Mari on this: don't need blurbs (there's a lot of politics behind them anyway, which makes us skeptical) and comparisons are more useful (although sometimes still over-hyped).

    Personally we think blurbs are more useful *before* a book hits shelves -- when publishers are trying to get booksellers on board.

    1. That's a fair point because blurbs are there to market the book. They are quick and concise, highlighting an appealing quality that will help them sell the book.


  2. I never read blurbs. I don't even read what's on the cover. Most of the books I read because I have seen good reviews on them. Blurbs though I suppose would be really exciting if you were an author and another big author liked your book. I am sure though someone out there does read them. I know in my Stephen King book club on goodreads every other month we do read a book that King has recommended... even through a blurb. So I guess i kind of use them a little.

    1. I never thought of it that way, but you're right, they must be a really big thing for authors. The Stephen King club goes to show that author rec's are useful, although it doesn't seem like most people think too much about blurbs.



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