Blurbs Run Amok

Writers want other writers – especially prominent authors – to blurb their books. Blurbs sell books and most writers – especially new authors – crave them. But there is growing evidence the blurb industry had run amok and as the picture here suggests, attempts to pump up sales of books may have reached terrifying heights. Here’s what Jennifer Weiner has to say:

The publishing industry is littered with frequent blurbers. Mr. Shteyngart managed to stand out as an undisputed master of the form. His standards were high. “I look for the following: two covers, one spine, at least 40 pages, ISBN number, title, author’s name. Once those conditions are satisfied, I blurb. And I blurb hard,” he once told a reporter at this paper. Indeed, a Shteyngart blurb was a thing to behold, soaring past quotidian praise to the level of performance art.

For Upamanyu Chatterjee’s “English, August,” Mr. Shteyngart wrote, “Comparing Upamanyu Chatterjee with any other comic novelist is like comparing a big fat cigar with a menthol cigarette.” He called Charles Blackstone’s “Vintage Attraction” “so post-post-modern it’s almost pre-modern.” Of Reif Larsen’s “The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet,” Mr. Shteyngart said, “I felt my brain growing as I read it.”

Writers seeking praise at any price might pause to think again. Read more here in the article “All Blurbed Out

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