Confessions of a Reformed Quote Whore

Sep252006

Nothing drives me crazier than author quotes. I hate asking for them, and probably 95% of the people I have asked for them have ignored me completely, which serves me right because I don’t give quotes to 95% of the people who ask me for them. The whole practice is a mass of desperation and bad feeling and you’d think it would just collapse in upon itself except for one thing: It really does generate sales.

The author quote is that sentence on the cover that says “A great read!” followed by the name of an author the publisher hopes you recognize and like. The real gets are Nora Roberts, Stephen King, John Grisham, and that ilk, but enough people want Jenny Crusie that I end up with stacks of manuscripts growing surly in the corners of my living room. I take them because I WANT to give author quotes. I want to help other people, it makes me feel warm all over, and besides that, it’s good for me to have my name on other authors’ book covers. It makes people think I’m somebody. They look at the cover and think, “Well, I’ve never heard of Jennifer Crusie but her name is right there so she must be famous,” and there goes my name recognition, up a notch.

For this reason, some of my friends are Quote Whores, and I say this with affection because they’re good people who like giving other authors a boost in sales. “Don’t send me the book,” they tell people, “just put on ‘I loved it!’ Melinda Q. Whore.” And everybody wins, the author, the quoter, the publisher . . . Well maybe not the reader. I did this once, just once, many years ago, for an author I really liked as a person, without reading the book. Then I saw a reader post online that she’d bought the book because my quote was on it and hadn’t liked it at all. She was very nice about it, she said, “Well, everybody’s tastes are different.” So I went out and bought the book. I didn’t like it, either. And I thought about that reader who bought the book, and wondered how much money she’d had to spend on books, if that had been a lot for her, about how she’d sat down that evening, anticipating a good read, thought about all the times I’d been in her shoes, and, basically, I took myself off the Quote Streets that night. Friends, I got religion. I also lost a lot of author friends that night because I don’t care how close we are or how much I love you personally, if I don’t adore your book, I ain’t quoting for it. I’ve alienated some editors, too, including the one who actually had the nerve to send me a quote and then said, “We’ll just put your name on this if that’s all right.” After my agent peeled me off the ceiling, she told the editor it wouldn’t be all right, but many kind-hearted authors would have been fine with that. They want to help other authors out. (Don’t get me started on editors, like the ones who take a quote off an author’s book I DID quote for and put it on another book by that author that I DID NOT quote for . . .)

There are other authors who help without betraying their mortal souls. If you look closely at some quotes, you can see the fudge in effect. “Her characters have depth and passion” may mean “but she can’t plot her way out of a paper bag.” “The plot is fast-paced and action-packed” often glosses over the fact that “the characters are straight out of central casting.” Some authors are even more clever (well, we do make our livings with words): one very well known author who kept secret the fact that she was wheel-chair-bound quoted for a book by saying, “I read it in one sitting.”

And then there are the bitches like me. We don’t just have to like the book, we have to love it. It has to be so good that we really would tell our friends about it and say, “You have to read this,” and pass it on to them. Which wouldn’t be so bad except I’ve been writing and teaching writing for a long, long time now, and I am cranky about many things. So when I pick up a book, the writer will lose me in the first chapter if he or she . . .

Stops the story for infodump. Keep it in the now, or I am gone. Any time the writer stops to tell me things about the character or the past or anything else that isn’t actually the story at hand, I am going to stop reading. Period. I bet I put down 90% of the manuscripts I get just because of this. It’s lazy writing.

Head hops. If the book is in third limited and the writer doesn’t have enough craft to stay in one head, I don’t want to go on a ride with her or him.

Makes grammatical errors. I know the copy editor should have caught them. But a writer’s words are her tools. The writer should have caught them.

Tells me a story I’ve heard a million times before. If I’m on the third page and I’ve anticipated every damn move the writer’s made so far, I’m going to start flipping through the book. And if it’s pretty much the same old, same old, I’m done.

Makes the protagonist too dumb to live. I’m okay with making mistakes, I make mistakes, just make them smart mistakes, the kind of mistakes I’d make. I want to relate to the protagonist, not look at the book and think, “What a dumbass.”

Of course, I’ll let any of those go if I get caught up by the narrative and the voice and swept into the world of the story. Then all bets are off and I’m there. That takes a helluva writer though.

So we’re good and I’m reading and it’s a great book and I’m close to the end and I’m thinking, “AT LAST, I can quote for a book,” because I really, really, really do love to quote for books, I WANT to quote for books, and then I get to the end and it’s eh. There’s just no big bang there. It’s okay. It was nice. But I sort of want to wait until the author is asleep and then sneak off and re-read the climax of another’s author’s book that I already know I love so I can get the payoff I need. And I think, “I don’t want to do this to a reader.” So I don’t quote. It’s really sad.

Now, you want to know the really really sad part? Most of the time, I never get to the book. Because there’s a window of time that they need the quote in. And I have my priorities.

First is my writing.
Second is business.
Third is daily life like running the sweeper before the dog hair gets higher than the end tables and crocheting and watching Project Runway (will somebody please just slap the hell out of Jeffrey?) and reading for pleasure (when is Pratchett’s next book coming out?)
Fourth is everything else like reading for quotes.

So I try to tell people I’ll probably never get to their books, but if I were them, I’d send them, too. I have to get a better system because I WANT TO QUOTE, but . . .

So the whole quote thing. It’s a problem, but it works so it’s here to stay. I swear to remain pure, if annoying, and even so the system isn’t going to work for everybody because there are still people who don’t like the books I legitimately love. But the ones I really do love, I really do want to recommend, so I promise to try to get to those manuscripts faster. As soon as I get this book done and find somebody to quote for it . . .

Filed in Publishing

49 Comments to 'Confessions of a Reformed Quote Whore'

On September 25, 2006 at 11:00 am Rosie said...

Wow! I thought all authors gave quotes for a book this much consideration. No, I’m not really that naive. I DID sort of hope that when there’s an author quote that they had read the book though. However, there are some author’s names on so many books that you wonder when they would have time to write.

As a reader, thank you. In a world that seems sometimes bereft of real integrity I very much appreciate it.

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On September 25, 2006 at 11:01 am Diane said...

Wow. I do know now that when I see a quote from you on a book, I’ll read it.

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On September 25, 2006 at 11:01 am Lisa said...

Cool, a new blog! Jenny, I thought you’d never get done frenching Anne Marie. :)

Interesting piece on quotes. It is a big help to see an author’s name that you recognize on someone else’s book. I know I’ve bought a number of unknown authors strictly because of the quote on the cover.

As busy as your life sounds, I don’t know how you ever find the time to read someone else’s book. The writing and keeping up on the dog hair would keep me plenty busy.

Anyway, hope you’re feeling better.

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On September 25, 2006 at 11:02 am Chrissy Lou said...

Wow. I’ve wondered about the whole idea of quotes. I wouldn’t give out a quote for a book I hadn’t read, either. Not that anyone has asked me. I don’t know why not. I mean, I’ve published a whole, what, zero books? :)

Keep the faith, Jenny!

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On September 25, 2006 at 11:02 am McB said...

Interesting. And I’ve wondered about it. I’ve hoped that the author has it least skimmed through the book before recommending it. But swiping a quote from another book, using an author’s name without permission to push it … Jeez, Jenny you get points for not going after the Dumb F. with a baseball bat.

But see, because you take it serioiusly, when you do give a quote both the reader and the writer are going to know it really means something, that you aren’t just being nice, you really do think highly of the book. So good for you.

And on the subject of your having written and taught writing for so long, it occurs to me that this is pretty amazing. First, lots of people can technically play a piano, but it doesn’t make them a pianist. And some people may be gifted pianists but either can’t teach or aren’t interested in helping others improve. You do both. Pretty amazing. Actually, Dee (are you out there?) said it best once when she said “that’s Jenny.”

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On September 25, 2006 at 11:03 am orangehands said...

i don’t think i’ve ever used other author quotes as a criteria. if you don’t hook me in the first page or come from someone i trust or am asked to read it, i don’t care if you have fifty authors swearing by you.

i really respect that you put so much effort into it, Jenny. if i see an author’s name for quotes too much i have the belief that they aren’t reading it (cause like you said, who has the time?), but i do believe some of the quotes out there are by people who have read the book and loved it. and while i appreciate that they want to help their friend out, as a reader i would be very annoyed that they- someone i trust in the sense of knowing good books- doesn’t actually know if it is a good book. and you can’t just lend your name to an author you normally love, because what if that is their one bad book or just something you didn’t like as much? basically, as rosie said, i appreciate your integrity.

anyway, i have homework.

but BTW, “But I sort of want to wait until the author is asleep and then sneak off and re-read the climax of another’s author’s book that I already know I love so I can get the payoff I need.” ROTFLMAO. over and over.

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On September 25, 2006 at 11:03 am 1blueshi1 said...

I hafta say that I HAVE bought books strictly because of another author’s quote. I remember picking up Beth Gutcheon’s Domestic Pleasures in a bookstore probably, what, 10 years ago? and thinking, hey, if Pat Conroy liked it I can spend 7.99 on it. One of the best decisions I evah made. STILL love that book and reread it.

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On September 25, 2006 at 11:04 am Anonymous said...

Sometimes I have read a book — once I start I generally HAVE to know how it ends — and I genuinely wonder about the quotes giving it great praise, and I think that everyone involved must be high. Finding the weirdly truncated praise statements is sure tipoff that it’s a dog, I have to say.
And when I say I HAVE to know how it ends, I will skip ahead to save the psychic pain of bad plotting and characters and implausible stories and read the end long before I should have gotten there.
So there.
…Not that I have done that with JC.
G&T

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On September 25, 2006 at 11:04 am Lori S said...

I *have* bought books because one of my, oh top four, favorite authors recommend it. My faves are excellent writers, they know what makes a story work, and obviously, I like what they like (since I’m sure they like what they write). I just bought a book, which I would’ve bought anyway, really, from Lani Dianne Rich, and it had a Crusie quote. And, I noticed how personal to the book it was. Timely, huh?

Also, I’m very naive apparently, and I really did believe that authors totally read the book and really did love it.

I’m still choosing to believe my faves, which include if not topped by JC, are just as discerning. Until I buy a wallbanger on their advice.

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On September 25, 2006 at 11:04 am andi said...

Bought Jane Austen Book Club, because, a fave author’s quote was, “If I could eat this book, I would. It’s just that good.” And my goodness it was a good read. Glad you take recommending so seriously, I’ve been handing Faking It out like its Halloween. And it is usually followed by, “I may have to re-evaluate my friendship with you, if you don’t laugh your fanny off, and tell me you loved it!”

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On September 25, 2006 at 11:05 am Lynn said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. While I don’t buy a book based soley on a quote by an author I enjoy, I have (more than once) finished a book, noted the author quote, and seriously wondered if we had read the same book.

Keep your standards high, readers appreciate knowing if you are quoted you mean it. If you lost writer friends as a result of honesty, I wonder how good a friend they were to you (just my snotty 2 cents).

Project Runway? Love it! Can’t stand annoying rock band Jeffery and was thrilled to see smarmy Vincent get the boot, twice. I was sooo disappointed when last week’s episode was a repeat. There are all sorts of blogs and spoilers out there I quit reading so as not to ruin the ending.

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On September 26, 2006 at 11:05 am ZaZa said...

t’s good to see that there are authors who give honest quotes, but we knew you wouldn’t whore yourself. As a writer, I look at things from the other end of the spectrum. When I finally make that sale, will I have any control over who is approached for quotes? (thinking very positive here and assuming the people I want quotes from will be willing to give them)

‘Cause like someone else said, there are some authors on every book you pick up. Even one of my fave writers is in that category, and I’ve gotta say, I do sometimes wonder what she was smoking when she read that clanger. The first time I noticed her on a book cover, I bought the book, sure it would be a good one. Hit the wall within a page, it was so bad. I tried and tried, but never made it to the end of the first chapter. So, how can someone who writes so well seemingly have such poor judgement in other’s writing?

Anyway, when the time comes, I hope some of the writers I respect are willing to give me quotes, because that will mean a lot more to me (and many readers) than the pity quotes. *shiver*

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On September 26, 2006 at 11:06 am Anonymous said...

Hey Jenny-if you likr=e the Tiffany Aching’s there’s a new Pratchett due out next month…
Nina
Peacekeeper Cherry

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On September 26, 2006 at 11:07 am melanie said...

I stopped buying books based on quotes years ago because I noticed a low correlation between the author quotes and the quality of the book. I’d also heard of some authors admitting that they simply recommended whatever their friends wrote, regardless of whether they actually liked the book. So I stopped using it as a sole basis to buy a book. An author quote will, however, get me to pick up a book and investigate it further, on the grounds that if so-and-so is a friend of the author, there’s a possibility this book might be interesting.

But it’s good to know that Jenny actually endorses anything that has her name on it as a good read. I’ll pay more attention to that in the future.

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On September 26, 2006 at 11:07 am McB said...

G&T said … Finding the weirdly truncated praise statements is sure tipoff that it’s a dog

That’s a very good point. If it was so highly praised, why wouldn’t they use the entire quote?

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On September 26, 2006 at 11:08 am cary said...

I have twice bought based on author comments. Didn’t really regret it, probably because I only used the author quote to guess at genre/style. (Works better when there is more than one author quote.)

And as for wallbangers, I even finish them. All the way through, even when it is a slog. Hey, if I paid $7.99, I’m darn well going to drain that puppy of every ha’penny of worth.

One of the few books I actually tossed mid-way through could have used one of Jenny’s whiteboards. Or collages. Or something.

Great concept, decent characterizations, but so disorganized. The heroine’s name changed halfway through the book! The heroe’s backstory changed. Even the villian’s motive.

It was like reading the book with the editor’s notes included. “PAY NO ATTENTION TO WHAT’S BEHIND THE CURTAIN. We’re still writing here…..”

And there, on the front, “Great Read,” AuthorX.

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On September 26, 2006 at 11:08 am resting cb said...

I never look at the quotes or who gave them. In fact, if a book has quotes instead of a summary I am less likely to buy it. I want to know what the book is about. Then if it sounds good I will go to a review site, where I trust the reviewers, to get opinions. Just because another author likes it, doesn’t mean I will. And author quotes don’t give reasons why the book is good or not so good.

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On September 26, 2006 at 11:09 am Sheri said...

I have read a book because a well-known author had a quote on the cover–and then threw the damn thing against a wall because I just couldn’t get into it/over it/through it. Never again. I don’t even trust reviews–I have this perverse nature where I love everything that everyone else hates and vica versa. (Especially movies!) So now if I hear good things about a book I usually go find it at a book store and start reading at the first page. If it hasn’t grabbed me by the throat after a couple of pages I think “meh” and cruise to the middle of the book and read a little more, since sometimes you have to get into the book to find the meat. If I’m still not enthused I put it down and leave. I don’t care WHO is quoted on the book–if it’s a stinker no manner of nice words are going to make it smell like a rose!

I am glad to see that if you are quoted on a book it means that you actually read it and loved it. Glad you stick to your morals, Jenny. But with all the Cherries out there pimping your books, I think name recognition is the LEAST of your worries!! :) I read your books on the bus–well, not while I am actually DRIVING the bus–sheesh! But I make sure that the cover is exposed on the dash where all my passengers can see it and then they usually ask me what I am reading and it leads to me writing down websites and book titles and they leave happy and excited about finding a “new” author to love! I even pimped you to the DMV lady while I was paying for my license!! (And the Literary Chicks–I’m an equal-opportunity pimp!)

We prefer you writing the books, not being a quote on somebody else’s book! *wink*

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On September 27, 2006 at 11:10 am Anonymous said...

Resting CB said: “I never look at the quotes or who gave them. In fact, if a book has quotes instead of a summary I am less likely to buy it. I want to know what the book is about.”

It drives me nuts when all that’s on the back of a book is the author’s picture. That happens a lot when the author is really, really, really, really famous like Nora or Stephen King or Tom Clancy. Someone whose name transcends genres and whose backlist takes up at least a shelf and a half at the library. Makes me crazy. I want to know what the book’s about not what the author looks like.

It also makes me crazy when a publishing house releases an early book under a new title and package it like it’s a new book. I’ve seen that happen with a particular author I used to read religiously but has really, really gone down hill. He opened a new, crappy novel with the exact same scene, even some of the same dialouge as the opening of one of his classics. He used to be one of my favourites but I haven’t read anything he’s written since 1991 or 1992.

I think my library has that book that Jenny’s talking about, the one she quoted for that took her off Quote Street. I picked it because Jenny’s name was on it, leafed through it and skimmed a bit and put it back. It didn’t strike me as something, judging from Jenny’s writing, that she would have liked. I was suprised to see her name on it and now I know why.

I pimped you to my pedicure girl the other day. She’s 22 and the only book the library had in was Fast Women. I told her to wait until WTT was in and try that, it’s much more what she would like.

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On September 27, 2006 at 11:10 am Anonymous said...

Geez, it just took six (seriously) trys to get my comment to post. Blogger hates me.

Angie – Office Wench Cherry.

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On September 27, 2006 at 11:12 am Charlene Teglia said...

Wintersmith is the next Pratchett book, shipping any day now! It’s the third installment of Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men. I’m checking my Amazon order obsessively. Er. Except if my editor is reading this, in which case my edits are going to be speeding her way Real Soon Now.

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On September 27, 2006 at 11:13 am Jennifer C said...

You pay for my plane ticket, I’ll go slap the hell out of Jeff-ry for you.

no lie.

hugs & rosettes – Angela.

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On September 28, 2006 at 11:13 am orangehands said...

for the longest time i was not able to put a book down. it could have been horrible, i would skim it, but i had to finish the whole thing.

then all of a sudden, as long as i write down the page i stopped at, the title, and author, so that “one day” i can go back to it, if i’m not hooked or asked to read it i can put it down.

charlene teglia (BTW, love your name) what book did you write? i’ll read any cherry/CB book i can. go ahead, self-promote. :)

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On September 28, 2006 at 11:14 am Nora said...

Jenny, glad to see you have redeemed yourself. I purchased a book about a year ago ONLY b/c your name was on the cover as a quote. The book was terrible, so bad I did the unthinkable and tossed it. I forgive you now ;) because I know you were trying to be nice, and I learned a lesson about using author quotes as a recommendation of what to buy (sorta how I ignore movie reviews…)

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On September 28, 2006 at 11:14 am Jill said...

Darn it ! Every time I try to post I get the dreaded ‘page not available’.

Author quotes do not influence my book buying. They might have a long time ago but now I have too many authors that I buy routinely or are recomnded by someone I trust. If there is a quote by another fav author on one of these books I just think ‘cool’.
Since I found out that publishers re-use (mis-use) author quotes I do not trust them.

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On September 28, 2006 at 11:15 am Charlene Teglia said...

Orangehands, I’ve written a few! The one with edits in progress is my first for St. Martin’s, but you can visit http://www.charleneteglia.com for the whole shebang. *g*

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On September 28, 2006 at 11:15 am Anonymous said...

Pratchett’s book came out Tuesday, and in case your wondering, no, his tour is NOT coming anywhere near me and I’m cheesed.

Meanwhile, Wintersmith is brilliant. Cheers.

Lindsey

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On September 29, 2006 at 11:16 am Anonymous said...

The reissue thing drives me nuts, especially if the title has been changed. I generally remember what I have read, although it’s getting harder as I get older.

I wasn’t actually going to add anything, and then I saw the verification:
yjbgin: yes, just bring gin.

G&T

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On September 29, 2006 at 11:16 am arkansascyndi said...

I don’t buy books based on an author’s quote on the cover. As I have gotten more involved in the writing/publishing world, what I see is a lot of “blog buddies” who give quotes for the other authors on their blog. I mean, really, what can they say?
“This hag couldn’t plot a decent storyline even using five other authors in a brainstorming session.”
“If you liked her last book, you’ll love this one, too. It’s the same plot but she did change the character names.’
I think the JCF loop should submit quotes for Agnes. That way, JC and BM could just pick the ones they like to use a their recommendation lines!

A fan said this…”Flamingos, the mob, weddings, and a hit man. Have four things ever gone together so well?”

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On September 29, 2006 at 11:18 am orangehands said...

charlene: hey, i remember you now. (ok, that doesn’t quite sound right but…)

arkansascyndi said “I think the JCF loop should submit quotes for Agnes.”

or the CBs.

we could do it, easy. i mean, we’d want the book to read first…what? oh, like the rest of you wouldn’t have tried that.

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On October 2, 2006 at 11:18 am Anonymous said...

I stopped buying books based on favorite author recommendations. It’s my opinion that what authors like in their reading is what they can’t do themselves. And the fact that they don’t/can’t write that stuff is why I love them and not the other people.

But now that I know a lot of authors, I find them recommending stuff, but I get it from the library, borrow it, or start reading at the store before shelling out money. And sadly, if something wins a RITA, I usually hate it. I might try the previous book the author wrote, though, on the basis that someone thought they deserved to win based on something good, but maybe not the book at hand.

Hrm. Prolly better not sign my name to this :)

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On October 3, 2006 at 11:19 am Sherry Thomas said...

I could use a quote for my debut book, and it’s a year before the book comes out so plenty of time to wedge it in your schedule.

Except then people would think I write romantic comedy.

Sigh. And Laura Kinsale doesn’t read new books. And Judith Ivory has disappeared off the face of the earth. And SEP probably has a closet full of books wanting her quote too.

Can’t win.

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On October 3, 2006 at 11:20 am Sherry Thomas said...

But I still admire your stance.

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On October 4, 2006 at 11:21 am Rachael said...

I recall buying several books with the typical author quote “The plot is fast-paced and action-packed” and being sorely dissappointed. The first few times this happened I found myself imagining some bizarre combination of the ‘fast-paced’ banter found in an episode of “Gilmore Girls” and the ‘action-packed’ thrills of “Alias” (excluding the last season, of course, which STUNK). Needless to say, I a;ways find that my imagination has once again deluded me into buying yet another piece of mass-produced junk writing that I can’t stomach finishing.

Burn me once, shame on you…
Burn me twice, well I forgot….
Burn me thrice, oh somebody just shoot me already!

I still look at author quotes if they catch my eye, but I also look at the book description, the author bio and the first and last pages before I buy a book. After taking those four criteria into consideration, if the only thing that impresses me is the look of the pretty bookjacket I put it back.

Thanks for this blog. It confirmed my suspicion that many of these people didn’t even glance at the story they’re praising.

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On October 7, 2006 at 11:21 am Robin L. Rotham said...

THANK YOU! (hmph)

This would make a great RWR article, especially if it covered integrity in reviewing, as well. Call me naive, but the idea that author quotes and decent reviews are marketing tools that can be bought for the price of friendship or an ARC (or ebook copy) chills me as both a reader and a writer. Don’t authors/publishers/reviewers realize that sales tactics like this ultimately do us all a disservice?

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On October 13, 2006 at 11:22 am Anonymous said...

I may be stepping waay out of line with this, so I’ll say it anonymously. But . . . .

Pssst. Cruisie? Ya lookin’ for a quote? I happen to know for a fact that Lois McMaster Bujold likes your books — she’s talked about you on her conference over at Baen’s publishing.

And, I’m thinkin’, you might return the favor for her. She’s an award-winning SFF writer — got so many Hugo tie-pins around her neck she glitters like a Christmas tree every time she traipses up to the stage for a new reward. There’s a strong romantic element in her work, which I think ya’d like. Don’t believe me? Try A Civil Campaign, or the brand new one.

You got a new book comin’ out, she’s got a new book comin’ out — maybe you’re already readin’ each other anyway. If you two come to an arrangement, leave my match-making fee in the second garbage can to the right.

(whistles down the alley, hoping a good deed has been done.)

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On October 17, 2006 at 11:22 am Kyrathered said...

You know, now if I do see a Jenny quote, at least I’ll know the book will not suck. That is a powerful endorsement and a reason to be a picky with one’s name/quotes. Now if Terry Pratchett quotes for Jenny I’ll buy two copies of her book :0)

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On October 18, 2006 at 11:25 am PG said...

Best pairing of quotes ever:

“Pretty much perfect.” — Neil Gaiman
“Fabulous.” — Jayne Ann Kretnz

for Robin McKinley’s Sunshine. I didn’t find it “pretty much perfect,” but only because “I don’t want a happy ending, I want more story,” to quote Mosca, and I felt left a bit hanging by the ending. Hopefully more story will come. And I know Gaiman was being honest because the quote was pulled from his online journal post after he’d just read the book.

But you know what would be the best blurb ever? Reissuing Susan Combs’s book “A Perfect Match” with the stuff Fred Head said about it.

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On October 26, 2006 at 11:25 am Sam said...

An author quote never sold a book to me. I don’t read them because I could care less what other people thought about a book. Books are an art form and as that are subjective. Besides, you’ll never see a quote saying “This book was the worst thing I ever read, don’t buy it!”
So why should I waste time reading what is basically more promotional advertising?
However, if you want to send me one of your books for a quote, I’ll be more than glad to read it!
:-)

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On October 26, 2006 at 11:26 am Bibliophile said...

I can honestly say that I have never bought a book because of an author quote, but if I ever do see your name on one, Jenny, I will know you meant whatever you said about it. I only wish everyone was that honest.

These quotes can be interesting to read after you have read the book yourself. Some of them are so obviously from people who haven’t read the book that it’s both funny and infuriating at the same time.

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On October 27, 2006 at 11:26 am Lanie Pottebaum said...

I bought a book by Marian Keyes a LONG time ago and I didn’t reaile until after I read a few of your books that you quoted it! I still haven’t read the Marian Keyes book yet… that’s what you get for paying $.25 for a book at a library sale. I also had a lot of your book sto read! <3

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On October 28, 2006 at 11:27 am Anonymous said...

I know the blog was about blurbs, but what really hit me was your comment about dumb heroines. I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve quit reading because the main character was too stupid.
Rose

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On October 30, 2006 at 11:28 am orangehands said...

rose: h*ll yes. TSTL heroines piss me off to no end.

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On November 4, 2006 at 3:31 pm Babe King said...

Good for you. You have to draw that line in the sand somewhere. Of course, there’s always the risk that some big wave will take you out while you’re drawing it. Stand firm, woman, well, as firm as you can on sand.

I’ll try to keep all your advice in mind when I’m asking for quotes for MY book. [Note to self- I come in after the dust bunnies]

thanks, I think. :-)

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On November 6, 2006 at 3:32 pm Anonymous said...

I for one, appreciate that you are not a “quote whore”. Because I AM one of those who will give a book a try if my favourite author(s) have given a quote. I’ve discovered a few authors that way.

So thank you for putting the time and effort you put into giving a quote (when you actually get to it)

Maybe for hardcover books, you may have more time? (i.e. they can use your quote for the paperback?)

YH

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On November 14, 2006 at 3:32 pm Mary Stella said...

Asking for authors to quote my books makes me feel like the writing equivalent of Oliver. Instead of a starving orphan, picture a struggling low-list author, woefully, but hopefully bravely, holding out her manuscript. “Please, ma’am, I’d like a quote.”

I don’t do it anymore — even from authors who are close friends. I don’t want to put them on the spot and put both of us in an awkward situation.

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On November 18, 2006 at 3:33 pm Shirley Jump said...

Well said, Jenny. And being a person who’s only asked once for a quote, and been offered the one that I have used shamelessly on every book already out there, I have to say I truly admire your stance. Frankly, I wouldn’t want a quote that my agent or editor or even I put someone up to and they just made up, without even knowing me or my writing. I want to earn it–or not earn it. Hey, if the writing ain’t worth it, then back to the drawing board for me. I’m fine with that. This isn’t a bumper car ride for me. It’s a job I take seriously, a vocation, and one where I try to grow and change with every book I put out there.

I wouldn’t want a quote that wasn’t honest. And I admire you for sticking to your guns in an industry that blurs the lines a lot.

LMAO, Mary Stella. That Oliver image is too funny!

Shirley

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On November 27, 2006 at 3:33 pm annulla said...

Good to know that your cover quote is actually an endorsement of the book; wish all authors were as diligent.

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On February 3, 2007 at 3:34 pm MissInformed said...

I like to read the blurbs, and if they seem to actually be about the book I’m holding, I give that book a little more consideration. I also try to read behind the lines. I had picked up on the ‘faint praise’ aspect of both book blurbs and movie reviews a long time ago, and those can actually be quite entertaining all by themselves. As you said, someone who makes a living playing with words can be quite clever with it when they try.

On Too Stupid To Live heroines: I actually corresponded with a best-selling author once that while I loved her stories (the characters, the oh-so-sexy love interest [Dio!], the love story, the sex, the wonderful sense of place) it was frustrating that her supposedly intelligent heroine would intentionally walk right into peril every time she had a choice. That it didn’t make sense to me, because she had people depending on her (children, lover) and in every other part of her life, the character was logical and smart. She wrote me back that she HAD to do that to move the story forward, to make it interesting. I was completely appalled. I had hoped it was an accident, an oversight! How about a plot that has danger that envelops her *against* her best efforts? How about a story where she solves a complex and interesting mystery by her wits and with the always available help of professionals, like POLICE, without personal danger? Oh. That would be hard. I never wrote back, I was struck speechless. But I also never bought another book of hers. I dislike being manipulated. I don’t like children being imperiled in a story, it’s cheap and easy. I don’t like the main character doing stupid things and then being told how smart she is. I wasn’t looking for “Perils of Pauline,” I was looking for smart mysteries, and sexy love stories were gravy. That’s also about the time I turned to sexy love stories, with the mysteries as gravy.

I have always been a finisher of books too, for the same reason listed in another post; if I spend my precious few dollars on a book for entertainment, I want to squeeze all possible entertainment out of it. However, as I’ve gotten older and gone through some hard times, I’ve realized the waste of time costs more than the throwing aside of a bad book. I’m just not as willing to keep plugging away if it’s been dreck so far. I’ve read a few that I just lost interest in, but the only one that I actually threw down, and then was so disgusted with that I got up out of bed and threw in the trash, was the sequel to “Silence of the Lambs’. My conclusion was that like the evil main character’s enjoyment of his victim’s pain, Mr. Harris was enjoying his power to cause pain and I was done, at that page, not another word read. I felt like a particularly nasty voyeur had invaded my head. I never had that sensation reading his other books, even when I re-read Lambs after that, to see if I’d missed it. It was hugely disappointing, as that was a rather expensive book!

I have been really enjoying reading the essays on romance novels and their place in literature. I sent one to my husband to try and make him feel less threatened by the whole thing. He worries that it’s about the search for the perfect, cover-model man, and romance readers are an Oprah-watching cult of average man haters. What I told him was that true feminists are the best thing going for men – they enjoy the heck out of themselves AND men. And all people are better served by the people in their lives being happy and fulfilled.

If anyone would like a fun read, the new book by Lauren Weisberger, “Everyone Worth Knowing,” in which a completely modern working single woman puts up a great defense of romance novels. Not so nasty as Prada, but every bit as observant, which makes it even funnier, to my mind.

Julesagain
ostsk: overdone steaks – tsk!

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On 06 Oct 09 at 5:01 am The FTC and the Unreasonable Case of Disclosure | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary pinged...

[...] haven’t even read the book. Some will give endorsements to everyone who asks. Read this piece by Jenny Crusie on author blurbs. The FTC Guides have long covered these as inappropriate but has enforced its own rules against [...]

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