Just this morning I sent off a set of endorsements for a fellow writer. Endorsements are part of the writing life. Once you’ve published a few books here and there, requests for endorsements begin to trickle in. Endorsements are those short blurbs that appear on the cover of books, in promo material and on web pages. And, of course, these are positive statements meant to encourage the potential book buyer. (Who would buy a book with the endorsement: “This book reads like a root canal.”)
Usually, I agree to “read for endorsement” with reluctance. I do so for several reasons. First, I’m a ponderously slow reader. Empires have risen and fallen in the time it takes me to read a handful of books. Two, many publishers and authors assume that agreeing to read for endorsement is the same thing as saying, “Yes, I will read it and praise it beyond all measure.”
I imagine that second point is true in many more cases than not. That's why book blurbs don't impress me unless they're very specific. For instance, these blurbs on the cover of a romance novel would move me not at all, regardless of who wrote them:
Warm, witty, wonderful!
[Author's name] will steal your heart!
A thrilling tale of undying love!
If the blurbist gets specific, however, I might begin to care. But she'll have to say a lot in a very few words in order for her praise to fit on the book's cover.
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