Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BlurbQuest IV

Back in early 2009 before my first YA Never Slow Dance With A Zombie had come out, I received an email from my editor at Tor Teen telling me I needed to get some author blurbs for the book.  You know those blurbs you see on book covers or inside.  "Scared the bejezus out of me" --Stephen King. Those things.

I was stunned.  "I thought you guys came up with that stuff."  "No.  Blurbs are acquired by the author." 

And so I set out on my very first blurbquest.  I looked everywhere, wrote many authors.  I didn't get one.  After a few weeks of failure, I tried another angle.  I was new to writing novels, but I wasn't new to writing, so I decided to get blurbs from writers in the genre I knew best.  TV. 

Never Slow Dance With A Zombie is a funny zombie novel, so I reached out to writers who wrote for TV shows with fans I thought would find my book appealing.  I found great success.  I got two awesome blurbs.  Mike Price of The Simpsons wrote: "If this book doesn't make you laugh out loud at least a dozen times, then maybe you're a zombie."

Jim Bernstein formerly of Family Guy and American Dad wrote: "Mean Girls meets Night of The Living Dead, as frightening, tumultuous and hilarious as actual adolescence."

I even had a friend wrangle a blurb from comic book sensation Marv Wolfman, creator of Blade and The New Teen Titans: "Van Lowe's prose is fun, funny, as well as insightful, and his story is filled with the kind of antic bizarreness that definitely is High School."

I was feeling pretty good about myself... until I presented my blurbs to my editor who told me "Only author blurbs or prestigious periodicals go on the cover." 

I was crushed.  They weren't going to use them.

I had called in favors to get those blurbs.  But hey, no worries. That was one of those life lesson thingys. Despite having no blurbs, the book went on to become a Scholastic Book Club selection, was nominated for an ALA Award, and sold pretty darn well. So nah, nah! blurb Gods.

Since then, however, I have to admit, I have gotten the sweats every time a publisher asks for blurbs.  And while I was close to landing one with Boyfriend From Hell, I was not able to land an author blurb that meant anything...until now.  Several weeks ago the publisher of my up-coming novel The Zombie Always Knocks Twice, Imajin, asked for blurbs.  Oh, nooooo! Not again!  I could feel the flop sweat pooling up in my armpits before I finished reading the email.

This time, however, things would be different.  I knew a prominent zombie author whom I'd met on line.  I wrote another big name zombie author blind, and she wrote back "E, I feel I already know you."  Wha??? I even reached out to a prestigious organization.  They all agreed to... write... blurbs.  Hallelujah!

It took me four years and four books to finally get an author blurb. The lesson here is if you stay at it long enough, you will have success.  That goes for getting published or any other endeavor.  Hang in there, friends. 

I want to thank Rusty Fischer, author of Zombies Don't Cry, Amanda Ashby, author of Zombie Queen of Newbury High and The Paranormal Romance Guild for their awesome blurbs.  The blurbs?  I'll share them with you in another post.

I you don't already know, The Zombie Always Knocks Twice is the first in my Hollyweird series.  The cover reveal will either happen today or tomorrow.  It's being done by The Zombie Queen herself, Ashley, The Bookish Brunette.  I want to thank her as well.  Please support me and purchase the book on or after 8-30-12.  It's being released as an ebook first with the paperback coming in a month.  And if you enjoyed this post, please let me know by leaving a comment.

By the way, those awesome blurbs Tor didn't use reside on my equally awesome Never Slow Dance With A Zombie bookmarks. Oh, yeah!


  1. Kinda shocked they wouldn't use those quotes, but I've learned so much "insider baseball" stuff about publishing by now, I guess I shouldn't be! GREAT post, as usual. And GREAT book, too. Looking forward to the cover reveal and Ashley/Bookish Brunette's usual enthusiasm for all things zombie and awesome!!!!

  2. E, as always, your wisdom strike straight to my heart. On a day when I really needed the reminder to keep on keeping' on, you write this! Fantastic post!

  3. I admire your persistence and congrats on your upcoming release THE ZOMBIE ALWAYS KNOCKS TWICE

  4. Well, I feel better now. If you have trouble getting blurbs too... though I can't believe you couldn't use TV writer blurbs for a YA novel. A quote with The Simpsons or Family Guy attached to it would sell my kids and I'd give a look to a book that Marv Wolfman recommended. (But then I'm a recovering comic book geek.)

    I could probably get a blurb from the Dishman creator.