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.