Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book blurb madness

This fabulous work of sand art takes beach reading to a whole new level!
Shelf Awareness reported that some authors have subcontracted the writing of blurbs for books by fellow writers (those squibs of praise on the back cover and in ads)— to idiotic hacks, apparently, who churn out meaningless garbage.  The practice of blurbing was already fairly questionable, but this takes it to ludicrous new heights. One from Column A, one from Column B and presto, a blurb!
One day I had lunch with a bestselling author and, thinking to break the ice, said, "I saw that you blurbed so-and-so's latest book. I love him, too!" The ice got thicker as she said she had no idea who I was talking about--she doesn't write her blurbs. She has "people" to do that. I recalled that as I was looking over publishers' catalogues for fall books and came across some seriously odd blurbs for new books, like "Once in a lifetime, a writer puts it all together," said of a co-authored book; and a Fifty Shades of Graywannabe described as cute and charming. Or "For fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and the Twilight series." Throw in Dan Brown for a stunning Venn diagram. [by Marilyn Dahl]
Over at Flavorwire, I viewed a slideshow on vintage book ads. These two were especially piquant, the first for the seductive pose of Capote and the second for the awkward prose touting Mice and Men (did the novel emerge full-blown from Steinbeck's brain, like Aphrodite from the head of Zeus?).

Further reading: Of Mice and Men: Centennial Edition.

15 comments:

  1. "Daily Glean: Cute and Charming" - insert semi-famous author name here

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  2. The stock market has index funds and derivatives; publishing has ghost blurb writers..buyer be warned.
    I love Molly's idea. JP Mullaney is the Roger Ebert of book publishing!

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  3. HAHA!! This is such a funny topic. This fits with my plan to finally publish my novel, it's entitled "The Best Thing Ever Written" by the world's foremost thinker. On the back will be blurbs by Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and the Ghost of Christmas Past. It will change to way you taste food and, upon waking, your hair will be perfect...

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    1. "The funniest thing we has evar read" - All of the lolcatz on the internet.

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    2. Freals. Srs lolz

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    3. Would a jesus blurb be inappropriate?

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    4. Not at all!! A Jesus blurb would be hilarious:) The more inappropriate the better...

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    5. "I used this book to turn water into wine. You're welcome." - Jesus

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    6. "If you only read one book in your life, you'll agree with Pandarus "This is the best book ever written!"-- E-literates Weekly

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  4. That sand creation is unreal!

    Ahh, book blurbs...The only ones I believe are on anything written by Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart, of course. "I would certainly read this book if I were alive today, which, for all you geniuses out there, I am not." - Abraham Lincoln on America (The Book)

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  5. Ahhh the infamous scandal by the handle photo of Truman "Show Boat" Capote!!! Sweet!!! Love the sand sculpture!!!!

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  6. Wouldn't one think that if an author has someone else write a blurb on their behalf, they should at least read it? (Grant it, if they are still alive) So they can at least peretend to know what people are talking about? Or is that too much work?

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  7. The blurb debacle did provide for some VERY funny comments!! Thank you all so much for your wit & whimsy.

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  8. The ideal situation for a writer: getting subcontracted to blurb a book that she or he had been hired to ghostwrite in the first place.

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