Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Mom, Where Do Blurbs Come From?

I would post about this on the WOM_PO listserv, but I don't want to put 500 people on the spot.

Someone should write an article about back-of-the-book blurb etiquette. I need a few blurbs on the back of this new chapbook, and I don't want to use any of my old ones, since they don't apply to the work in said chapbook. Also, one of my best blurbs is from a fiction writer which just seems strange. My poet colleague is out of the question, for though we exchange niceties in the hallway, there is an obvious (but unspoken) sense of competition between us.

I know some poets. I've been published in lots of places. I even have a few poet friends. But which ones am I supposed to ask to write the blurbs. I hate the thought of asking someone who is too busy to write it but too polite to say no. I don't really have any mid- or late-career poet mentors. There are a few editors who have been supportive of my work in the past, but who wants to dump more work on an editor? And I'm certainly not going to pester the poets I really admire but don't know with a stalker Manila envelope package housing a coffee-stained, footprinted version of my manuscript.

I'm sure others have opinions about blurb hierarchy--you want to get someone more accomplished than you are, right? If not, maybe I could ask my students to write blurbs for extra credit!

Perhaps I should start a new trend--a super-size author photo on the back cover (scary) or maybe a crossword puzzle or a comic strip, a treasure map, fortunes . . . .

Who knows.

If I were going to do part II to this post, it would deal with the prickly business of editing blurbs received and what to do if some one writes you a run of the mill blurb that you don't want to use. I think maybe a crossword puzzle would be better than that.


At 6:38 AM, Blogger Wendy Wisner said...

It is hard, isn't it? I would say just ask people who you really want to do it. I think most poets are honored each time they get asked, even if they're "famous." And if they sense your enthusiasm and desire for their blurb, that makes it all the more appealing to them.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Radish King said...

I found 2 people who are terrific writers, and who really love and get my work to write the blurbs for Tarantella. They are peers, not mentors, or famous poets (yet.) I love that their names are on my book and that they wanted to be part of it.



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