Gathering Blurbs

I’ve had a dozen novels published to date, but everyone of them has been a tie-in. That means that the marketing for them has mostly on the strength of the brand to which the novel is tied. With my upcoming Guild Wars 2: Ghosts of Ascalon novel, for instance, Simon & Shuster is betting that the players who have ponied up for six million copies of the original game and its expansions are going to be interested in the book.

Original novels like Amortals and Vegas Knights, though, stand on their own and instead rely on the quality of the writing and the good buzz it can generate. One of the classic ways to prime that word-of-mouth pump is to send a book out to some notable people and ask them to supply kind quotes — known as blurbs — about it. A few months back, Angry Robot asked me to do this for Amortals. Unlike some publishers, who only try to cage blurbs from bestselling authors, Angry Robot suggested I hit up any famous folks I might know and beg, bluster, or blackmail exuberant praise from them.

I felt a little uncomfortable about this — it feels like carpet-bombing for compliments — but I want to give the books every chance they can have to succeed. So I did it. I’m blessed to have met a lot of amazing people over the years, and I made a short and random list of the most famous and influential of them and then sent them each an e-mail.

Honestly, I was surprised how many of them said yes. They’re all busy people, and it can be hard to carve out enough time to read a novel. And then they had to find something great to say about it. Hopefully that was the easy part, but that’s the trick about being asked for a blurb. It’s often easier to beg off than to risk that you’ll hate the book and would rather not be associated with it. Nearly everyone stepped up and went far beyond what I could have hoped for though. You can read most of the blurbs on my Amortals page, and I’ll add more as I get them.

To thank my friends who leaped into that breach, I’m going to run a series of posts that highlights each of them and lets you know why I valued their opinions — and hope that you will too.