Monday, March 17, 2008

Blurb-0-Matic

Stephen King's new column in Entertainment Weekly takes up the subject of blurbing. One of his better columns, I think. He tries honestly if ruefully to deal with how established writers can help promote worthy books and films without turning into a whore. Not always easy in this age of Blurb-0-Matic.

As he notes, movie blurbists are the worst. Esquire once ran an article about a handful of blurbists the studios can always rely on. King comes up with two more names, Earl Dittman (which sounds made up) and Pete Hammond. These guys have apparently never seen a movie they didn't like. And they like everything in !!!!!!!! exclamation points.

Time, health, crankiness have slowed my own willingness to read manuscripts in order to blurb them. And sometimes I feel guilty about this because when I started out so many writers were so damned nice to me and so willing to give me quotes, sometimes when I didn't even ask for them.

One thing I always say to writers who ask for blurbs is that I don't know how helpful my name will be. In the grand scheme of things I'm nobody and so while it's probably all right to have " " on a cover I don't know how useful it is when consumers ahve never heard of the young writer or me.

For the novel I'm hopefully wrapping up soon I was planning on asking Mr. King for a blurb but I'm sure he's too busy. Does anybody have an e mail addrss for Earl !!!!!! Dittman?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

My blurbs have no effect and are the first to disappear from jackets when an author collects blurbs from people who do have some impact. I've never asked others for blurbs because doing so embarrasses me; the few on my books were gotten by editors. That's why my books are adorned with review quotes. When people see a blurb by me they simply say "Richard who?" Which is about right.

Richard Wheeler

Dave Zeltserman said...

Ed, I'm wondering how effective blurbs are these days. Books are going to sel based on the marketing and PR muscle behind them, not because of blurbs.

Anonymous said...

Blurbs from the non-famous are about the content not the author. The publisher simply desires someone--almost anyone other than their in house copy writer--to say "this is the mystery of the year" or whatever. Similarly, movie advertising will quote the critic from the Scranton Pennysaver or a high school newspaper as long as the blurb says, "Sure to get the Oscar." Writers get to feel the blurb proves their fame and influence, so everybody gets something.

Todd Mason said...

Also, aside from gaining the interest of the knowledgeable reader who knows what Richard Wheeler or Ed Gorman has achieved, a writer of your calibre is probably going to write better copy than the overworked, underinformed flack at in the editorial or promo office.