Monday, March 2, 2009

Let's Discuss Book Endorsements

This past week, I wrote my first book endorsement! I wrote an endorsement for Michelle Sutton's upcoming book, It's Not About Him.
I think Michelle's second book is even better than her first.

I find reading the endorsements on books to be interesting business. Since I review books myself on this blog, I know just how hard it is to write something fresh and original about each book you read..and just how hard it is to write something good enough for the books that you fall in love with.

Having said that, sometimes I read the blurbs or endorsements on books just to see what words are used to describe the book. Someone really should devise an award for "best book endorsement" they are works of art in and of themselves.

Most of the time, I find myself thinking...there's no way the book can be as good as these endorsements say! Still, they can be a good indicator of what you're going to get....if the blurbs are no more than "....a fun romp through your twenties..." it's likely not going to challenge your deepest held convictions. If it says..."...I kept turning the pages..." well, who knows why? Maybe they kept turning the pages to see just how bad the book was going to get! Truly, the longer the better...it means the blurb didn't have to be edited to get rid of the less than favorable descriptions.

If there's one thing I hate to see, though, actually loathe, is "shocking twist" or "unexpected ending" or "jaw-dropping revelation"

See, the thing is I read. A lot. I can often predict the turn a story will take. If you tell me there's a twist, I will figure it out or spend the book distracted trying to figure it out. I don't want to know there's a twist.

It ruined The Lace Reader for me. And Now You See Him. Both of these books I could figure out the so-called twist almost immediately. I'm sure it lessened the impact of the book.

The only thing worse than figuring out the twist is not finding one at all when you expect to...where's the twist??

I know a lot of people say they don't pay attention to endorsements, but I do, especially from other authors. If an author I love and admire gives a strong endorsement to a book, I am much more likely to be interested in reading it. If I've never heard of a book, I might pick it up and glance at the endorsements.

How about you? Do you read the blurbs and endorsements on books? Is there anything you don't like to see or something you look for?




Amy

28 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Oh my gosh! I'm so impressed with you. Of course I read the blurbs and endorsements.

Chris said...

I always read the book endorsements! I think they're fun. And guess what? Today I bought Colleen Gleason's new book to find that I have an endorsement published on the first page! How cool is that? Very cool that you're having one published as well :)

Deborah said...

yay you've joined the club!!!!! welcome!!! lol. as someone who's had 2 books endorsements published so far, TBH some times i read them sometimes i don't. i trust the average reader, the blogger, than i do a famous author's endorsement.

for example, i saw on the back of one of JD Robb's books, Stephen King was quoted as saying "Nora Roberts (yes on a JD Robb book even though i Know she writes both) is cool" what in the world type of endorsement is that? am i supposed to think now that Nora Roberts is awesome bc stephen king said so? and what does being cool have to do with her book?

reader endorsements however are more fair and less biased. however i think it's up to the publisher of what gets put on. i noticed with the endorsements published from me, they of course chose the positive stuff. it's like the blurbs you see on movie posters and DVDs, when they try to grasp at anything positive to say about the movie

"I......thought.....great.....effects!"

where the original quote said something like "I never would have thought that this once great director would have stooped down to use bloody awful and stupid special effects."

so all in all, less famous authors (especially when it's out of your genre) more real people.

TexasRed said...

I pay attention to endorsements from authors I enjoy for authors I'm not familiar with because I assume (possibly incorrectly) that the book being endorsed will have some similarities with the authors I know.

So, I won't pay any attention to an endorsement on a Neil Gaiman book, because I've read lots of Neil Gaiman and know what to expect. I will pay attention to a Neil Gaiman endorsement on a science fiction book by an author I've never heard of because I assume there's some reason he was asked to give the endorsement.

Dar said...

I always read the blurbs and endorsements. It's part of my ritual of starting a new book. I really pay attention if it's from an author I already respect. The only thing I don't like is if they give away too much of the story.

Meghan said...

I will pay attention to an endorsement by an author I love. Otherwise, mostly I make sure they're there. Reading books that don't have endorsements is a bad idea, unless of course they are a favorite author or it's a classic.

Beth F said...

I don't pay that much attention to endorsements. I glance at them to see if I recognize the author of the blurb, but I don't really read them. Maybe I'm in the minority.

Beth F said...

Ooops! congrats on getting an endorsement published!

Nise' said...

I do read them, but may or may not pay attentionto them. I did find Elizabeth Lowell and Harlan Coban by following up on an author's endorsement.

S. Krishna said...

Congratulations, that's so exciting! And it's funny that you post this, because right before I clicked on your post, I was reading the endorsements of the book I'm currently reading. So I definitely read them!

April said...

Congrats on the endorsement! I do like to read the blurbs and endorsements. Knowing there is a twist in a book, doesn't bother me - at the moment, I can't actually think of anything that does - though I'm sure there is something, lol!!

Michelle Sutton said...

You know, it pays to check those blogs that you FOLLOW every once in awhile. That's how I found this post! Holy smokes, I think that is neat that you are blogging about it, Amy. When you guys all read the endorsement Amy wrote you'll see it is very well written, too. I think it is an art to write endorsements and to write decent book reviews. Amy's got it going on, and not just because she liked my book. :)

I read every endorsement in every book I read. You can tell when someone really loved the book by what they say. I am very excited about the ones I've collected for It's NOT About HIM so far. They can be viewed on my website under endorsements @ www.michellesutton.net

LynnS/AAR said...

Oh, how exciting for you! I've had a few reviews quoted in books before and even though they usually just list my site rather than me by name, it's still a good feeling.

I tend to look at endorsements from authors I like or from reviewers whose tastes seem to be similar to mine. Otherwise, I tend to pick books either because I already know I like the author or reviews online have intrigued me.

Rel said...

I read endorsements, author bio, dedications, author acknowledgements, etc. Actually everything there is to read in a book, I read!!!

I do pay attention to author and reader endorsements, I like to know what others think of a book and if I know the reviewer or author, all the more so.

Having had the privilege of having my endorsements on numerous books now (only once knowing my words were going to be used!), I like to assume that the people writing them have put in the same care and effort that I try to do with all my reviews :)

Interesting post, Amy - thanks

Rita T. said...

I enjoy reading endorsements. I think it's because I know that if certain people are giving their thumbs up on the book, I'll almost be sure to like it. The reverse is also true.

JC Martin said...

I don't read endorsements. If one catches my eye because of a word or name then fine, but I don't read anything but the title, and the back story.

Nymeth said...

I also mostly pay attention to endorsements from other authors I like. They have caused me to pick up a book I'd never heard of on occasion, and I discovered some great gems that way!

Lenore said...

I read them sometimes. Just recently, I started reading a book because of an endorsement by an author I love. I couldn't read more than 50 pages.

Melanie said...

I read the endorsments on debut or new to me authors. I love it when an author I love has an endorsment for a new author.

Lynn Squire said...

I tend glance over endorsements. I guess I always considered them to be nothing more than advertisements. Nonetheless, if I do see someone I respect endorsing it then I am more likely to take a closer look.

Tina said...

What a great post! I love reading all the responses. I always pay attention to endorsements, especially endorsements by authors. When I write endorsements for authors, I try to be as detailed as I can. I endorsed Ms. Sutton's previous book, and I can honestly say I loved it and hope my endorsement showed that.

I do have a slightly different take on endorsements that are shorter. Although it might sometimes be true, usually shortened endorsements don't mean the publisher is hiding undesirable comments. Most authors won't endorse if they can't say something great about the book.

Publishers often pull out a very exciting line from a longer endorsement because it is such a good line. And sometimes they just need to save room. You may see different versions of endorsements in different places, some of them longer and some shorter.

Love hearing your thoughts. And congratulations on endorsing Michelle's book. What an honor!

Donna said...

I am so glad you brought up endorsments. Sometimes, I wonder if the author endorsing the book even read the book or are they just good friends with the author. A couple of month ago my bookclub picked a book based on an author endorsment. Out of ten ladies who read the book all would not read the others in the series. Lesson learned: don't pick a book by the endorsments. I love the idea of regular "joes" writing endorsments.

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

congrats on that endorsement being published - how exciting!

I read the endorsements *after* I read the book, how weird is that?!?

Shana said...

I read them, but with a fair amount of skepticism. I mean, only the good reviews will be used in this case, of course. I do really pay attention if it's an author I particularly like giving the endorsement. That said, Amy - congrats on getting your review published!

Serena said...

I really don't pay that much attention to the endorsements unless they are from authors I adore

Jenny Girl said...

I glance at them, but they certainly don't entice me to buy a particular book. If I didn't hear about a book from someone, I look at covers. Yes, I judge books by their covers!

birdbrainbb.net said...

Oh, I always check out the blurbs. They nearly always influence my decision to buy a book. If all the blurbs are just one-worders from newspapers-- that looks bad to me, and so the book might be bad, too. If it's got blurbs from authors who works I like, then I tend to think the book might be good. I nearly always pick up a book Neil Gaiman's endorsed, for example, though we don't always see eye to eye on that. Also Warren Ellis, Diana Wynne Jones, etc. Actually, normally I get more hits than misses when I listen to an author blurb.

If there aren't any author blurbs or newspaper blurbs, then there's normally something like a Kirkus review snippet or whatever, and though it's not as useless as a newspaper blurb it's pretty close. Though I have started paying closer attention to the Kirkus starred-review books. :D

Congrats on getting your endorsement published!

Alyce said...

Yay! Congratulations! That is so cool that you got to write an endorsement!

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