I've just gotten my first request to do a cover blurb from a relatively new author with a short history of pubbed books. With this person actually having books on the shelves (more than I can say), I'm not sure what kind of help I'll be. But I definitely know how hard it is to ask for blurbs so I'm inclined to have a go at it for the experience.

What advice would you give a first time blurber? I'm waiting on a quick overview and the publisher name before I commit.

I'm the type of person who nurtures and encourages fellow authors, so I'd look for the positives in the project, but what if I really don't like it? How hard should I look for those positives? (Gosh, I really like how you numbered the pages...one right after the other)

Should I have concerns on endorsing the book or just enjoy the fact that anyone cares what the hell I think? :)

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If I liked it, I would blurb it. If it wasn't for me, I'd pass.

The best blurb I've seen in the past year comes from Rickards and I would love to have it on the cover of my next book:

"Not shit." - John Rickards.
Not shit. I like it.

Hey David--I almost put into my question that I'd blurb the book if I could do it the Terrenoire way:

"Throw in a free book, a vodka tonic and you're in..." Hey, not a bad idea, huh?
I like that. It would cut way down on my bookstore bill AND bar tab.
My kind of guy...
I don't remember the famous author involved, but, faced with blurbing a book he hated, he wrote, "For people who like this sort of thing, this is just the sort of thing they would like."
This might come in handy, but I sure hope not.
Every person has to answer these questions for themselves. All I know is this. I don't endorse what I don't like. It's a lesson off reviewing - early on I tried to only review what I liked, but if there's no balance your endorsement means nothing. There are people who say they'll blurb anyone. I would never ask those people to blurb my work, because their blurb is worthless.

I have definitely heard people say that they can't imagine why X author liked a book. Now, I'm not talking about unfair criticisms about blurbs, but if the book is really bad and gets widely panned do you want your name endorsing it?

It should always be about the quality of the writing within, more than anything else. And... you have to be careful about over-blurbing. In general, make no promises. Say you'll 'consider it' and then wait and see what you think of the book.

One other thing, for me anyway. My name means precious little in the long term. I'm not well known, so I try to be reserved in blurbs to some degree. I don't want a persons best blurb coming from me. It's in their best interests to have a great blurb from someone with a known name for their front cover.
In the last few months, I've blurbed three books, all by authors whom I've read before. They are relatively new authors, but I've loved their first works and would not have agreed if I was not familiar with what they've done in the past. Fortunately I loved all of them and could be very sincere when writing the blurbs. I've had another request for a blurb, but because I'm deep into my WIP, I really didn't have time to check out previous work to see if I could give a good quote and I am not reading much crime fiction right now...at least until I get done with this book. i really think that if you're going to blurb, you need to mean what you say, because your endorsement is on the book and ethically I think you have to stick by that.
By all means enjoy that someone cares what the hell you think! If you really don't like it, send it back with your regrets. At least they'll always know they can count on you for an honest opine. Of course,if they have knocked the socks off of their page numbering, a hearty "Well numbered" is withn the bounds of common decency.
I knew I could count on your, Karyn, to be the voice of reason...

NOT!
Voice of reason, indeed, but I wish it were that simple all the time. Once a book is heading to press, a lot of authors aren't so eager for honest opinions. For example, I sometimes get people who read one of mine that came out a few years ago, and are eager to offer their honest criticisms. That's nice and all, and sometimes their points are valid, but when I'm at a party I'm not so interested in knowing what I should have done three years ago--I mean, I can't do anything about it anymore! All I can say is, "Well, I did that better in the next book," and sulk away. Drinking heavily helps.
Pretty tacky cocktail conversation if someone had the poor taste to ruin your social evening by sharing their indispensable opinion. Envy might have a lot more to do with their 'honesty'.

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