September 10, 2003

Well you're a wild horse On a collision course With the sun

Steve Almond on blurbs:

"One of my least favorite experiences as a writer, therefore, is listening to other writers whine about being asked to give a blurb. (As with most of my indictments, I am guilty of this crime myself.) What annoys me about these complaints is not just the unacknowledged narcissism — Poor me! How to bear such popularity? — but the basic ingratitude.

"Listen: when someone asks you to blurb a book they are paying you a huge compliment. At the very least they are saying to you: 'I believe your name will help me sell books.' But more than likely they are asking you because they know and admire your work. These are not people to be shit upon.

"What's more, the general derision heaped on blurbs and blurbing has the effect of making writers — particularly less–established writers — feel like jerks for even asking. I recently received an email from a woman who wanted me to take a look at her first novel. To read this note, you would have thought she was asking me to examine her stool sample. Such was her sense of shame.

"But this is absurd! Why should she feel ashamed?"


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