Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In Search of the Elusive Author Quote

by Sariah S. Wilson

This last week I hit another milestone in my getting published journey - I was asked to get author endorsements or quotes to go on my cover.

After some lengthy discussions, it seemed my best bet was to try and find authors who write romance and/or historical fiction. So that’s the direction I went in. It seems as if it turned out successfully, and I’m now waiting for those quotes.

I also took a little bit of a different route - two authors from my RWA chapter have also agreed to take a look (one writes historical romance, the other writes inspirational fiction). My editor thought it might be interesting in addition to having quotes from LDS authors, having quotes from some nationally published authors as well.

Because I’ve been working on this so diligently, it got me to thinking about endorsements. I realized that I have never once bought a book because of an author quote on the cover. Now, I’ve bought many, many books based on reviews or recommendations, but I’ve never picked up a book, saw a quote on the cover and thought, “Nora Roberts said this is fabulous. I have to buy it!”

I buy books based on reviews, based on my friends’ recommendations, based on the cover and/or title, and based on the back copy. I have been pleasantly surprised after I’ve already purchased a book to see a quote from one of my favorite authors, like Julia Quinn, on the cover. But that just makes me feel like a smart consumer - it never factored in to my decision to buy it.

I’m curious as to whether I’m alone in this. Has anyone here ever bought a new author because an author you already love gave a quote on the cover?


At 11/11/2006 12:22 PM, Blogger Keith Fisher said...

I with you on this. I read parts of the jacket flap then I read the first paragraph of the story. it's usually the artwork and the title that make me pick it up but I never notice the endorsements until after Iv'e read the book and even then I sometimes don't read them.

At 11/11/2006 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never bought a book because of any quotes on its cover, but I have bought books because authors whom I like have endorsed the book on their websites. Is that the same thing or completely different?

Melanie Goldmund

At 11/11/2006 2:02 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

I've never bought a book based on a quote myself, but I have had several readers tell me they tried my first book because Rachel Nunes endorsed it and they loved her books.

So for whatever it's worth, I think endorsements are important for some readers. It's obviously helped me in getting people to try my books.

At 11/11/2006 3:34 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Melanie - I think it's different. I don't know why it would be - if someone's giving a quote they're obviously endorsing the book. It just seems different for me personally.

And Julie thanks for the insight that sometimes it does make a difference and that readers have bought books based on quotes. I find this whole thing interesting, and I wonder what percentage of people make a purchase based on those cover quotes alone.

At 11/12/2006 11:14 AM, Blogger Karen Hoover said...

I have picked a book off the shelf because a particular author endorsed it, but only once did I buy it because of that author, and I only did that because I knew that she didn't give endorsements unless she felt very strongly about a book. Usually it doesn't matter until after the fact, but every now and then I'll give a new book a chance just because I trust the taste of certain authors.

At 11/12/2006 12:37 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

I'm glad Karen posted what she did because I was sitting here feeling easily influenced. I've bought more than one book because of an author endorsement -- or a snippit from a professional review. On the other side of the book jacket, I've also not purchased books with endorsements by authors I don't admire. (I figured if they like it I would surely hate it. :-)

I worry, frankly, that the practice may one day become somewhat meaningless in the small LDS market. When I needed blurbs recently I realized that I'd pretty much run out of people to ask. Either they'd already endorsed one of my books (Rob, Julie) or I'd endorsed one of theirs. (Jeff, Rob, Julie) I sometimes wonder what readers think of this mutual admiration society we have going.

One more thing I always thought was funny. I asked Janette Rallison for an endorsement for This Just In. She sent me two. I put her name on one quote and then, to give Covenant a choice, I put her LDS penname (Sierra St. James) on the other. They used them both! I've often wondered whether "in the know" readers thought Janette really, really loved that book -- or if they just assumed I was (am) too pathetic to get more than one person to write a blurb for me.

At 11/12/2006 3:15 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Kerry, I was so afraid to ask you and Jennie Hansen for an endorsement of my book Time Will Tell. It's like asking the celebrity you've been admiring for years to deem your work somehow worthy. I honestly didn't know if you or Jennie would even do it for me.

Can you imagine what a great day that was when two of my most favorite authors gave ME an endorsement? I've showed off those endorsements more than the book I think!

At 11/13/2006 9:17 AM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Kerry, you had me LOL at your Janette story. I wouldn't have known if you hadn't said anything. :)

It's been very interesting to me to hear of the people who have bought books based on author quotes. Keep those stories coming!

At 11/13/2006 12:36 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

Kerry, when I saw that both Janette and Sierra had endorsed the book, I laughed my head off right in the store. It was great, and it tied in perfectly with the humorous theme of the book.

Now, as far as endorsements go, I can't say if they do or do not help promote the book. But it's so much fun to pick up your book and read it. ("Hey, this famous author thinks I'm pretty good!") Whether or not you ever point it out to a prospective buyer, it's a good self-esteem boost for the author.

At 11/13/2006 6:01 PM, Blogger FHL said...

I read the Pop of King articles that Stephen King writes in Entertainment Weekly, and if he recommends a book, I will look into it. If other people (say, on Amazon) give it high marks and it sounds like something I want to read, then I will probably pick it up.

I was not disappointed with a recent King-suggestion - Kate Atkinson's Case Histories. (I, um, can't really recommend it here - it can be a bit vulgar, although it is British and so, there's er, cultural flair, I suppose.) Anyway, very good read, the mysteries are almost second to the story, but very gripping.

The blurbs on the back are generally not substantial enough to actually get me to buy a book, and yet, I still read them. I guess it's sort of like watching car commercials for the entertainment, even though I'm not remotely in the market for one.

Kerry: Why do you even need author endorsements at this point? =)


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