Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Night at the Question Emporium

I'm a freelance editor, and have gotten two questions from writers in the past week about self-publishing one's manuscript in order to get pre-publication blurbs to put in query letters.

Have you heard of this? Are agents starting to ask for a bunch of blurbs from random readers, or is some bad advice making its circuit through the Interwebs?

This seems like some new evil way to occupy newbies with a Sisyphean task that isn't writing or querying, but maybe I'm falling out of the loop.


Blurbs from well-known, bestselling authors, sure, but random readers?? No!

Here's the other warning: self-publishing IS publishing. Once a book is published it has sales numbers or rankings and we all get to look at them. (See yesterday's blog post about this)

If an author thinks self-publishing is the way to get interest in a book, they better take a close look at the number of copies sold for people who then got traditional publishing deals. It wasn't 100. Or a 1000. It was TENS of thousands.

And it's the sales numbers that woo editors, those avaricious yet shy woodland creatures.

It doesn't matter what Stylish Reader in Poughkeepsie says about a book unless it's "I bought ten copies to give to my friends for Christmas."

And just to be clear: I ignore blurbs in query letters. I don't care what anyone else thinks about the book. At the query stage I only care what I think. I'm pretty sure most of ilk agree, but the comments column is wide open for discussion.


JeffO said...

Further evidence that there are many people in this big old world who do not understand the first thing about publishing.

Sarah Cypher said...

Thanks a million for answering this. I'm glad to hear that I (and my instincts) hadn't drifted off-planet!