Monday, June 13, 2011

Joel Fox, Guest Blogger

I recently reviewed Joel Fox's Lincoln's Hand. I had heard him discuss it at the New Author's  breakfast at Left Coast Crime, and found his short introduction to be fascinating. It's a pleasure to welcome him as guest blogger today, when he addresses a tough issue head on. Thank you, Joel.

Can Blurbs Hurt?

How important blurbs are on the cover of books is not a settled issue amongst writers, but I believe they could be very helpful especially for a first time novelist. At least, I figured a blurb couldn’t hurt.

Or could it?

Take my extraordinary case for my first mystery novel, Lincoln’s Hand.

I knew no well-known mystery novelist who’s name on my cover would give the high sign to legions of his or her fans that my novel was worth a read. However, I did know someone famous who had a reputation for picking good stories. He might, despite his extremely busy schedule, take the time to read the book and give me a cover blurb.

I made contact with his office and asked if this world-renowned person might read my book and offer an encouraging blurb. I was told that it was unlikely because requests like mine came to him all the time but … send the book and we’ll see.

A couple of months later, I got an email that said I would get the blurb. Short and sweet it was, an affirmation from someone who had been associated with story telling informing the world that I had written a good story.

Here’s the blurb that appears on the cover of my mystery novel:

Lincoln’s Hand is a great story, a page-turner from start to finish” –
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Being involved in California politics, I knew Schwarzenegger in my role as a policy advisor to him both during and after the recall election that made him governor of California.

I was thrilled to get his endorsement. I felt the blurb would tell readers that appreciated the stories he made on film to take a look at Lincoln’s Hand. I also knew that a blurb from a film action star was not the standard fare on the cover of mystery novels, but I thought it was worth the risk.

Now, however, the story of Schwarzenegger’s personal transgression has surfaced. I feel badly for his family and do not in any way defend his action.

But his blurb has been printed on the cover of copies of my book. Does the blurb now hurt, help, or have little consequence?

The fact is the blurb cannot be erased so I push forward, adding a new dimension to the discussion of my novel, hoping not to take the focus off of what is between the book’s covers rather than what is on the cover.

Thank you, Joel. Since I read the book, and noticed the blurb, I can tell readers the book is definitely exciting, and worth reading, no matter who did the blurb. Thank you for addressing a touchy subject.

Joel Fox's website for the book is

Lincoln's Hand by Joel Fox. Echelon Press.©2010. ISBN 9781590806746 (paperback), 313p.


Literary Feline said...

Thanks for a great guest post! I don't pay much attention to blurbs and do not use them as a criteria in my reading a book. I am more interested in what a book is about. A cover is more likely to draw my eye. Or a title. At least initially--enough to make me want to know more.

Lesa said...

Wasn't it an interesting guest post, Literary Feline? I appreciate the fact that Joel addressed that issue head-on because I did notice the blurb on the cover when I read the book. I'm with you, though. It's often the cover that catches me.

Amnon said...

I'm mixed on blurbs... I love to see who blurbs an authors work, sometimes it influences my buying decision, other times not.

I'm actually intrigued by the fact that Arnie offered a blurb!!

Lesa said...

I have to admit, Amnon, although the blurbs don't influence my decision to read or buy a book, once I have the book, I do read all the blurbs.

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