To Blurb or not to Blurb
It all started at Konwraith’s place, a sleazy dive where the drinks are cheap and the dames are cheaper. JA sits in the corner, mouthing off about blurbs, telling us some sell their praises to the highest bidder, and why bother to read it, and why care if the book turned out to be compost on pulp, so long as you get blurbed back good and hard, just the way you like it.
I order a Pap Smear, extra cold, and watch JA work the room. His fancy gold suede shoes are propped up on a table that hasn’t been wiped down since the Reagan administration. He leans against a nicely stacked Asian broad and stares into his fifth martini - shaken, stirred and smacked around a few times for good measure – unaware the Italian chick with ADD is tying his shoelaces together.
I feel someone sidle up and radiate a need so intense the underwire in my bra leaves thin, smiling burn marks in my flesh.
“I could use a good blurbing.” She crunchs an ice cube, probably the first decent meal she’s had in days. “Maybe we could work something out.”
I know this poor kid. Sad story - the kind that never ends well if you manage to read that far. She’s been rock bottom remaindered with no way out.
“Sorry, doll face.” I thumb my mitt in JA’s direction. “Try the guy in the corner.”
“Aw, c’mon…” She offers me a smile faker than a hooker’s orgasm. “Help a girl out, would ya?”
“No dice, sister.” I flick a shard of ice from my hat and put it on. “I don’t blurb unless I’m in love with the work. Call me old fashioned, but that’s just the kinda hack that I am.”
There is a shriek from the corner and a heavy thump. The Asian and the Italian chick take off out the door, a glass mug of Bud in pursuit.
I think about my first blurb. A mistake. A bad one. I faked the wild intensity, the overdone enthusiasm and, worst of all - the unrestrained adjectives. That tawdry blurb smacked me in the face one Bouchercon during a Q&A. I couldn’t remember the main characters, and in the throes of an unexpected interview question, I got the author’s name wrong.
My lowest moment. I felt cheap, dirty, sleazy - a perpetual day where I didn’t feel fresh. I vowed I’d never blurb again. Not unless I meant it. Then I blurbed someone. I blurbed them with real feeling, real admiration and real honesty… and they didn’t blurb me back.
That’s when I started drinking at JA’s place. I felt used, useless, unblurbable. Yeah, mostly hacks hang out there, and they cut the beer with black-market Evian water, but it’s a good bunch. Some on the way up. Some on the way down. A lot use pseudonyms, but that’s par for the course. If you want a business-like blurb, you can get it here. Cozy up to someone and 9 times out of 10, they’ll tell you your work is “Vivid” and "Gripping” but most don’t really mean it.
You learn not to take these things personally. You learn to keep writing.
Me? I just try to keep my nose clean, and send out SASE’s whether agents want ‘em or not.
You can’t get much piece of mind for under a buck these days.