Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I Am Quoteless

by Sariah S. Wilson

There are many things I dislike about writing, with the actual writing being chief among them. I'm one of those sit down at the computer, cut open some veins and bleed all over the keyboard kinds of writers. Of course, it is fabulous when it just pours out of you and the scenes practically write themselves, but this does not happen very often. Especially with deadlines (it used to happen a lot more when I just wrote for myself).

But I really, really hate getting quotes for my books from other authors.

Other authors are amazing. But they are, surprisingly enough, busy. Much as you'd like them to have nothing else to do but read your manuscript and tell you how brilliant you are, they have actual lives and families and writing deadlines of their own and they're also running around trying to get quotes for their upcoming release.

Getting quotes for my first book was not an easy task. I did manage to somehow convince Betsy Brannon Green and Heather (H.B.) Moore to read "Secrets in Zarahemla" and give me some quotes. Which was even more impressive given the fact that neither one of them had any idea who I was. (I also got my friend Heather Grothaus to do a review for me just before she gave birth, but that one was easier because we belong to the same local romance writers group.)

The quote thing worries me because I know it has to be reciprocal. You can't just gather up quotes from everyone and never return the favor.

But the problem is...usually when I read a book if I liked it I say, "I liked it." If I didn't like it I say, "I didn't like it." I think it would take me a really long time to come up with all those great catch phrases and exciting verbiage that other authors come up with. I could never do Jennie Hansen's job because my Meridian column would be a bunch of covers with "I did/didn't like it" next to it. I also don't think that would work so well on a cover. "I like it." -- Sariah Wilson

I've discussed this whole quote thing at length here before, and with my editor. Honestly, I don't get it. I have never, ever bought a book because of a quote. I've bought from word of mouth, I've bought because of a good cover, a clever title, great back copy, but never because of a quote. And because outside of the LDS market, I don't even know who half the authors are that are giving quotes.

Plus they usually seem so generic to me, and I understand this better now because of hearing a NYT bestselling author who does said quotes on a regular basis admit that she doesn't have time to read the manuscripts and asks the author/agent/editor (whoever had contacted her), "What do you want me to say?" I would so take advantage of that. "I like it." -- NYT Bestselling Author

So I was asked with "Desire of Our Hearts" whether or not I wanted to get quotes. I said no very quickly. It was such a relief to not have to stress over it. Of course, part of this means that outside of my family and my editor and a few other people at the publisher, I have no idea what anyone else thinks of this book. I told people at signings to hurry up and read it and tell me what they think because a) I'm an attention sponge and think nothing's better than hearing that someone liked my book and b) I'm curious as to what people who aren't emotionally or financially invested in its outcome think of it.

I've heard there are some LDS authors who are just refusing to give out quotes at all now. I understand - it's hard coming up with those small sound bites (read bites?).

Plus, Betsy and Heather now have me over a barrel and can demand a huge favor any time, any place, which I will deliver on because 1) I'm nice and 2) I owe them big time. I just don't have the energy to have that many favors out.

So "Desire" is quote-free, which gives us more room for the very pretty cover (and have you bought your copy yet? I don't think so, seeing as how I'm currently #112 on Deseret's list, which is Mariah Carey in "Glitter" depressing. But maybe that's the punishment for being quoteless).


The exercise and diet thing has just been totally kaput the last two weeks since my trip to Utah. I've actually become pretty sick this last week which has given me even more incentive to laze around. I think I need to feel better before I start up again. Yes, feel better first. This seems like a great plan to me.


At 10/14/2007 12:32 AM, Blogger Matthew Buckley said...

I'm with you, Sariah. When they told me I had to come up with some quotes for my second book, I promptly made some up. I sent them in, but they didn't even respond. From my e-mail:

"If you only read book this summer, you're a slow reader." Jim Johnson

"Matthew Buckley is to humorous fiction, as eigenstates are to quantum harmonic oscillators" Alex Smith - Physics teacher

"Wow! That sure was a book!" Steven Harper

"Where are all the pictures? What's with all the words?" Lisa Sorensen - Age 8

"The contrast between the black letters and white pages is marvelous!" - Stephanie James

I never did get anybody to give a quote. We just used quotes from my first book. I think it made a lot of people put down my second, and wander off to find my first.

Feel free to use any of the above quotes on your book. ;)

At 10/14/2007 3:30 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Sariah, there are no quotes on my new book either. I just said I thought they were pointless and the powers-that-be dropped the subject. I do like Matthew's quotes though and think they would probably be more effective than some I've seen. As for the diet and exercise, I'm doing well on the exercise, but there have been too many diet distractions--wedding reception, a couple of dinners with friends, the Seagull luncheon, and my husband made brownies for me. I did resist snitching any of the candy at book signings--I bought peanut butter cups because I hate peanut butter.

At 10/14/2007 6:20 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I've been turned down for quotes several times, so I know what a pain it is to get them.

Give yourself a few weeks before checking your book on the DB bestseller list. It will climb up there!

At 10/14/2007 10:49 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

I would rather have a review after the fact than quotes beforehand. You're right -- quotes seem rather generic.

But if you get someone really cool to endorse your book, well, that's a whole 'nuther thing. :)

At 10/15/2007 11:11 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

At the risk of admitting to gullibility, I often buy a book because of another author's endorsement on the cover. (Not in the LDS market, but in the national -- and usually at a thrift store where I'm only risking a quarter.) Just last week I took Dean Koontz and Ann Tyler's word on authors I'd never heard of. I loved them both!

That said, I'll still buy your book, Sariah, just because it has YOUR name on it. I'm sure the rest of your growing fan base will, too. No worries.

At 10/15/2007 3:54 PM, Blogger Anne Bradshaw said...

I'm a sure fire Sariah Wilson reader, quotes or no quotes. I can still remember scenes from Secrets in Z and I read it many months ago.

At 10/15/2007 4:31 PM, Blogger James Dashner said...

Matthew, loved the quotes.

I think quotes matter to some people. This industry is too smart. If it didn't work, they would have quit doing it.

At 10/18/2007 7:36 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

You guys are so nice. :)

I might have to disagree with you James on whether or not the industry does something because it's smart. I think the publishing industry does lots and lots of stupid stuff because that's how it has always been done and they've admitted they don't really know what works/doesn't work.

And the book is up to 53. I guess groveling works. ;)

At 10/22/2007 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you about the quotes. Who needs um.
But I do have to tell you the truth I haven't bought your book because 1(I'm not big on all the love at first sight thing and 2( because my romantic loving sister read and said she liked it until Alma stopped liking her...or something like that. Anyway I liked your other book.

At 10/22/2007 5:58 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Yeah, love at first sight isn't for everyone, but I had a total blast writing it and know for a fact that it exists. I have several friends that it happened to.

You'll have to ask your sister what she didn't like about it because Alma never stops loving the heroine. He thinks he's not good enough for her once he realizes the sins he's committed, but he always loves her.

I'm glad you liked Secrets. :)

At 11/29/2007 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just finished reading Desire of Our Hearts and I loved it! It's nice when you find a book you don't want to put down.


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