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What is the value of authorial endorsements?

In this political season, the candidates have received endorsements from people that they have had to “reject and denounce*”. The Good, The Bad, and the Unread, featured a promo for the September release of Double Enchantment by Kathleen Kennedy which is the second book in her Relics of Merlin series. Kennedy’s world is set in the Victorian era and has a unique way of assigning nobility according to the strength and type of magic one can perform. What I remember from the first book which I forgot to review, Enchanting the Lady, the shapeshifters were considered lower class individuals. (They are animals, after all).

Ms. MacGillivrey** showed up in the comments to provide this endorsement:

Kathryne’s books are indeed enchanting. She’s is one of the best new voices to debut in the past few years. I highly recommend her books.

This led Sybil, the blog owner, to ponder whether DAM was stupid or clueless and whether a recommendation by DAM was actually harmful to Ms. Kennedy. It’s unfortunate, but given DAM’s past behavior and the coterie of authors who assisted her in achieving her goals of review deletion***, a reader can easily become suspicious about the association. Like Sybil, though, I choose to believe that Kennedy does not know what is going on (although given that the request for clickies take place on the Dorchester loop, can this be true? Am conflicted).

Conversely, I know that endorsements can help me to decide to buy a book on a rare occasion or it can serve to validate a purchase. Aka Diana Gabaldon endorsed Joanna Bourne FTW! I didn’t read Joanna Bourne’s book because of the endorsement but I did find that the endorsement “validated” my response to the book. A comment recommending a book by an author whose book I liked will likely move me to buy books. I bought several Lucy Gordon books after a recommendation by Sherry Thomas. I read Lisa Shearin’s Armed & Magical because of the recommendation by Ilona Andrews. I added the emphasis because I kind of view a recommendation by an author as “if you like my book, you’ll like x book.”

PS – Shout out to any RT reader who came here because of the mention in July’s RT. It’s true, RT readers, that Tess Gerritsen decided to shut down her blog after receiving flack from people regarding her tongue in cheek support of DAM. This post (click on link) is the one that apparently led Ms. Gerritsen to believe that the interwebz were not for her. Are we to blame? Feel free to comment. We hope you stick around.

*This famously comes from the Ohio Clinton/Obama debate in which Obama denounced the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan and Clinton said that he should have rejected the endorsement and Obama responded that he would both reject and denounce. So now everyone uses “reject and denounce.”

**Deborah Anne MacGillivray was the recipient of a three star review by a reader named Reba Belle. DAM appeared to use yahoogroups and author groups to encourage or browbeat individuals into taking down negative reviews by reporting that the review is a) not helpful and b) abuse. Reba Belle attempted to fight back and repost her reviews and comments and was ultimately banned by Amazon.

***I can’t help but wonder about the pervasiveness of the deletion of negative reviews. For example, the deletion of reviews continues unabated at Barnes and Noble over the Evanovich reviews of Fearless Fourteen but Evanovich has refrained from stalking and threatening the negative reviewers.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

67 Comments

  1. Kimber An
    May 29, 2008 @ 09:43:52

    In my observation, readers are smart enough to see through all that nonsense.

  2. Nifty
    May 29, 2008 @ 10:01:11

    I do agree with KimberAn that in general, authorial endorsements are all nonsense. But I’ve gotten to the point where I really dislike them. On the one hand, it can be great if an author I like endorses another author’s books. Gives me the idea that I might like that book too.

    But it also seems to me that once an endorsement is made FOR A PARTICULAR BOOK, it appears on all subsequent books as well, and I think that’s dishonest. The endorsement should ONLY appear on the book for which it was given. Long ago, Diana Gabaldon — author of my very favorite series, period — gave an authorial endorsement to one of LKH’s Anita Blake books, praising LKH’s fertile imagination. As my dislike for the AB books grew, I’d gnash my teeth everytime I saw DG’s endorsement on a NEW AB book. Seriously, DG. What were you thinking?? (And what DO the authors think when they offer an endorsement for a book they like, then watch as that endorsement is trotted out on any dreck that happens to follow? Does it bug them?)

    Endorsements can steer me away from books as well. I enjoy some urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and it’s difficult to not stumble across comparisons or references to LKH and her books. Publishers seem to think that such a comparison to LKH is going to entice new readers and add an automatic cache to a new UF-author’s books, but it has the opposite effect on me. I’m likely to NEVER pick up your book if I see any reference to LKH on the cover or in the endorsement quotes.

  3. Liviania
    May 29, 2008 @ 10:16:39

    The effect of authorial endorsements depends for me. It might help me decide to buy a book but it won’t be the reason I’m intially intrigued by the book.

    Actually, Kim Harrison’s endorsement caused me to finally start Vicki Pettersson’s novels, which I love. I’d seen the printed endorsement before, but the one that swayed me was her vocal endorsement at a book signing. She explained that she was trying to be careful about what she put her name on and why she had picked to endorse certain novels. It was far more informative than a two sentence quote on a cover.

  4. JulieLeto
    May 29, 2008 @ 10:36:45

    Well, for the record, if you go to any of my older books, you’ll find ringing endorsements/reviews from DAM. This was from her days before she was published, when she was a big fan of my work. I don’t know her, have never met her, but have emailed with her. In fact, I didn’t even know she was an aspiring writer until after she’d sold her first book. I most certainly do not support the activities of DAM in regards to Reba Belle and Amazon, but I don’t think it’s necessary for me to try and have her reviews removed from books that aren’t even available anymore (except for one…a book that was reviewed favorably here, if I remember correctly.)

    I do look at endorsements, but being an author, I probably perceive them differently than would someone who is exclusively a reader. I don’t, however, buy books based on them…but it can catch my attention, which I think is the true intention of cover blurbs and author endorsements.

  5. francois
    May 29, 2008 @ 10:40:08

    I’m slightly negative about author reviews. Partly because of their overuse on followup books (as cited by Nifty).

    Partly because they’re often ridulously short quotes taken out of context (“smart, funny”).

    Partly because some authors will say anything about anyone (couldn’t move for Stephen King quotes on horror books at one time).

    Partly because there is often a relationship between the authors I don’t know about.

    But mostly because I often don’t like the things my favourite authors really like at all. What they love is often not like their own writing, and thats why it interests them.

  6. Gwen
    May 29, 2008 @ 10:42:27

    Me? I don’t typically put much stock in an authorial reco as printed on or in a book. For example, I bought a book reco’d by Christine Feehan – an author I usually like (not always) – and I hated the book.

    So authorial recos aren’t so important to me. I don’t know enough about their taste to use them to make decisions for me. Reader reviews – sure, I use because I can read their review and thoughts. But a one or two sentence blurb recommending a book isn’t enough to make a decision to buy.

  7. Jia
    May 29, 2008 @ 10:50:29

    I rarely pay attention to author endorsements. They might put a book on my radar that previously would have escaped my notice so then maybe I might read the cover copy when I’d otherwise pass on by, but they usually don’t affect my reading choices.

    Publishers seem to think that such a comparison to LKH is going to entice new readers and add an automatic cache to a new UF-author's books, but it has the opposite effect on me.

    I admit I have a similar reaction. I once read a book that had been blurbed by LKH and compared to LKH’s work, but when I finished it, I honestly thought it would have fared better without it.

  8. Diana Castilleja
    May 29, 2008 @ 10:54:06

    I’m not sure how others review those endorsements. Personally, they do nothing other then add writing to a book’s cover. I see books endorsed by Feehan and Kenyon and it’s like a book with a tassel on it. Pretty, but it doesn’t do anything for me. And I adore those two authors and know their writing, but the Author I’m buying/reading has to do it on their own for me.

  9. Corrine
    May 29, 2008 @ 11:32:38

    I have to say that I do take author quotes into consideration when considering a new book, but for the most part, I still give it the once over to see if I like the premise, writing voice, etc. The quote might draw my attention, but it’s the author’s job to keep it.

    Quotes that draw my attention are ones from authors that are auto-buy for me or ones that I really respect their opinion (either because I’ve followed their advice before or for other reasons). But I, too, have been fooled by the friendly quote (IOW, the two authors had a friendship that prompted the quote). Because of this I try not to put too much stock in them.

  10. Bev Stephans
    May 29, 2008 @ 11:45:48

    Author endorsements don’t do it for me, but a valid newspaper endorsement does. Usually, newspaper reviewers are more objective than said authors. I’ve given up on web endorsements. Who can tell anymore if they’re valid or not!

  11. azteclady
    May 29, 2008 @ 11:53:40

    Once upon a time, something like a dozen years ago, I was swayed by an author endorsement. Hated the book, hated that author’s voice. Now I just ignore them. Reader reviews? Those I listen to, once I’ve gotten a feeling of how similar the reviewer’s tastes are to my own.

  12. anonymous
    May 29, 2008 @ 12:27:06

    I am a sometime reader of this blog…sometime, because there are issues and discussions on this site which I feel are unduly harsh or critical than for no other reason but to spur controversy and more traffic to your site.

    I do appreciate the book reviews and some of the less enflamed discussions, so I do check back in on occasion.

    My feeling is that, yes, this blog and readers reactions to it were probably one of the main causes Tess Gerritsen pulled her blog. Which is so unfortunate. She was a champion of authors…knowing how tough it was to be in this business and make it. She offered her unabashed views on everything from book signings to her writing process to the difficulties she had in her career. Each and every post was a gem.

    I don’t know why this site felt the need to be so vicious in its ‘attack’ on Ms. Gerritsen. Sure, authors are supposed to be toughened to criticism…but, I’m sorry, when it becomes personal in nature and not related to Ms. Gerritsen’s books, I find that very distasteful and mean-spirited. At our core, writers are sensitive beings.

    I think deep down, you are probably pleased in some way that you may have caused a best selling author to close down her blog. Maybe this isn’t true, but I can’t think of any other reason you would go after her in such a fashion. How sad for her fans and for those who found nuggets of wisdom in her posts.

    I hope you think twice before going off on another author in the same manner.

  13. Marianne McA
    May 29, 2008 @ 12:28:08

    I’ve regretted ignoring an endorsement…

    I bought a book despite it being endorsed by a newspaper columnist/author whose work I dislike, and it was a terrible book.

    In general, I’d say I ignore mentions on covers, but that may be what the publishers want me to think. I sometimes scan books very quickly, and my eye will be caught by a familiar pattern of letters. So while I might ignore the content of the quote, the familiar name may be enough to bring the book to my attention.

    I’d pay attention to other kinds of author endorsements. I first bought Michael Chabon because Laurie R King blogged about his Sherlock Holmes book. That sort of thing.

  14. DS
    May 29, 2008 @ 12:37:28

    Jayne Ann Krentz a few years back was as bad as Stephen King. I began to actively avoid books she endorsed.

    MacGillivray on the cover? No sale. I don’t even want to look at her name that often. Harriet K– the same.

    A lot depends on how often an author endorses– see Krentz and King above. But an endorsement by Andre Norton who endorsed few books at that point (1976?) introduced me to the first book by C. J. Cherryh– Gates of Ivrel. I really depend more on reviews than endorsements though, especially if an ellipses is involved.

  15. GrowlyCub
    May 29, 2008 @ 12:38:16

    Having heard several times from different people over the last decade or so that an author quote doesn’t necessarily mean that the quoting author has actually read the book, I completely disregard them.

    On DAM, I think that a quote by her could damage an author by association, which would be unfortunate in cases like the one Julie describes.

    Gerritsen made a seriously bad choice in her reaction to the DAM situation, she was called on it and she chose to close her blog. That’s her choice and the loss of those readers who were following the blog.

    I sincerely hope that DA continues to expose bad behavior by authors, publishers and other folks associated with the industry. Readers deserve to know these things, so they can make informed decisions on whom to support with their book buying dollars!

  16. Jane
    May 29, 2008 @ 12:41:35

    Actually, anonymous, I don’t feel like I was in any way mean spirited or distasteful. In fact, I felt like I was quite restrained. Ms. Gerritsen put her opinion out there for the public to consume and my response, as I said in the post, was that my mouth was agape at her seeming support of Ms MacGillivrey. I actually felt that Ms. Gerritsen was being intentionally disingenuous to rile up people on her blog (as opposed to simply being honest about it) or negligently forgetful.

    If you want, this is the time line of what happened:

    1. I post about DAM
    2. Ms. Gerritsen makes her, to some, questionable comments about the only thing that DAM did wrong was get caught.
    3. People on her blog object to her phrasing.
    4. She blogs again about how people can't take a joke
    5. She blogs one more time about how people can't take a joke
    6. I post excerpts of her blog post in reviewing the DAM situation.
    7. She blogs about how DA is going to make her shut down her blog.
    8. I email her and tell her how I read her comments to be demeaning and offensive. I do not make a public statement believing that this is a matter best handled between the two of us.
    9. She then posts another thread about how the MEME coming from DEAR AUTHOR is that she is offensive and demeaning. Note I had not at that time made one public statement about this at all.
    10. I then mention in the comment thread at Dear Author my interpretation of Gerritsen's comments.
    11. She then posts again about how she's totally leaving the blogosphere because of Dear Author. Again she uses the word MEME. She again distorts the PRIVATE EMAIL I sent her. She posts explicitly in the comments that the timeline is DA's criticism causing her to leave the blogosphere.
    12. I email her again with yet another email saying that we are obviously having a disconnect and why I think it is unfair of her to characterize her decision to stop blogging on Dear Author. Did she even read the comments? So I've sent her two emails, both of which she characterizes as “memes” which cast her in an unflattering light.
    13. She finally posts about how Dear Author is calling her flying monkeys.

    It’s interesting to note that Ms. Gerritsen knew exactly which post I had been referring to in regards to “offensive and demeaning” statements toward readers because she referenced it in her email to me. The reason why Ms. Gerritsen knew that it was this post to which I was referring was because so many people objected to her statements that she had to delete the comments except for the one that best supported her position.

    1. Tess < http://www.tessgerritsen.com> Says:
    January 27th, 2008 @ 6:29 pm
    <
    http://tessgerritsen.com/blog/2008/01/10/writers-arent-like-other-readers/#comment-8224>
    |

    Note from Tess: Lewis pointed out that the comments section about
    this entry got pretty heated, so I have deleted them all, except
    for the one written by Elaine Cunningham, which I thought was so
    well-thought-out and beautifully written about the subject.

    Frankly, I found that Ms. Gerritsen’s disbelief that anyone could find something she wrote offensive and demeaning given that the comments she had to that post were so awful that they had to be deleted a bit questionable.

    You are absolutely incorrect to say that I am secretly pleased I closed down Ms. Gerritsen’s blog. First because I did not close it down. That was Ms. Gerritsen’s own decision and one for which she should take responsibility. Second, I am not secretly pleased that she shut down her blog. I read her blog often and referenced it here at Dear Author on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, you, anonymous, and RT’s Flavia, and a whole host of others ascribe to Dear Author power that we do not have nor want.

  17. azteclady
    May 29, 2008 @ 12:43:55

    I sincerely hope Dear Author and other reader blogs like it don’t stop being true to themselves in order to please rabid fans of any given author.

    I sincerely hope any writer/author who has the cojones to blog her “unabashed views on everything” would have the same courage to withstand criticism by what is, in the end, a very small percentage of her total potential readership.

    If she doesn’t… :shrug: then she doesn’t.

    Foisting blame elsewhere and pointing fingers at others? Not a good recommendation, as far as I’m concerned.

  18. Stephanie Z.
    May 29, 2008 @ 12:54:00

    A couple events had me give up on author endorsements as recommendations.

    First, although I love Neil Gaiman’s books, his READING tastes and mine do not concur, and I’ve been burned a few times.

    Second, there have been authors who, when their taste in books has been called into question, have flown off the handle and invoked the weight of their years in the writing/publishing industry, to grind a poor Amazon reviewer into the dust. I’m thinking of a specific situation, but I’d rather not give details.

    So now I try to ignore them, or at least not let them talk me into buying an unknown book (for full price).

    Although when an author I can’t stand puts a quote on a book, it may possibly sway me not to buy the book. I know my position isn’t logical or above reproach, but it works.

  19. anonymous
    May 29, 2008 @ 13:00:01

    If you didn’t think you had some hand in Ms. Gerritsen closing down her blog, then why pose the question? I stand by the fact that I found all of her posts very helpful, whether or not she made missteps in how she worded things. She was very honest in her struggles as a writer…even a bestselling author has her doubts about her writing. I found that very interesting.

    Additionally, she would, at times, personal respond to commenters on her site. I am sure this was done with an eye to more sales, but I found it nice nonetheless. Her blog will be missed.

  20. Jane
    May 29, 2008 @ 13:03:48

    If you didn't think you had some hand in Ms. Gerritsen closing down her blog, then why pose the question?

    Oh, I am always interested in hearing dissent. I was just responding to your claims. As for your other statements, I don’t disagree with your assessment that her blog was interesting. I read it.

  21. Angela
    May 29, 2008 @ 13:07:57

    I pay attention to author endorsements because it’s interesting to analyze them (for example, I’d take Lisa Kleypas’ endorsements of Lydia Joyce and Sherry Thomas’ novels more seriously than if it were a short “witty writer” type quote, because it’s an actual, lucid paragraph of praise). I really only depend on them when it comes to urban fantasy though, with Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison’s names popping up on the cover of nearly every newly-released urban fantasy, I’m beginning to feel jaded.

  22. Ann Aguirre
    May 29, 2008 @ 13:09:23

    I would like to point out something that I’m not sure has been considered. An author endorsement isn’t necessarily “if you like my books, you’ll like this one.” In fact, I would argue that it’s more, “if you share my reading tastes, you’ll like this book.” For me, it’s absolutely the case. I don’t think my writing impacts my reading preferences.

    In that regard, why wouldn’t an author endorsement be more indicative of her reading tastes than her writing ability? So from that angle, if you find an author whose reading tastes are close to your own, then you should be able to trust her endorsements, same as with a reader. I mean, there are readers who rec stuff that other readers buy and don’t like, right? That’s because people don’t always have the same tastes.

  23. Jane
    May 29, 2008 @ 13:12:12

    But how do we know what the reading tastes of an author are if all we have done is read books authored by them?

  24. Ann Aguirre
    May 29, 2008 @ 13:17:03

    I’d suggest looking at their blogs for the books they squee about. If they don’t keep a blog, then that information isn’t as readily accessible, but maybe an email would provide the information. Interviews often reveal what other authors they read and love; I know I’m often asked who my favorite writers are.

    So if this person who is endorsing X book loves a lot of the same authors as you, maybe it’s a good match? But I would say that’s a better predictor than the person’s own books. This is just my opinion, mind you. Perhaps other authors do, in fact, give endorsements based on “if you like my books, you will love this one.” But I don’t. When I read a book, I’m just a reader.

  25. Claudia
    May 29, 2008 @ 13:25:31

    Those endorsements are useless to me because the authors don’t know my tastes.

  26. Leah
    May 29, 2008 @ 13:28:20

    I don’t pay too much attention to author blurbs…still, if I ever get a book published, I will ask for some!

  27. Cathy
    May 29, 2008 @ 13:38:46

    My views on author endorsements are pretty similar to Ann Aguirre’s – I may like what an author writes, but not necessarily what he/she reads. The cover quotes are often not very informative, too. “A fascinating read… SoandSo is really imaginative.” That tells me nothing – fascinating and interesting can mean a whole lot, especially when ellipses are involved. :)

    If an author I like mentions a book on his/her blog, I am more likely to check it out, as I would with a book rec on anyone else’s blog. If they liked it enough to post about it, then it may be worth my time.

    As a side note, I find cover quote especially useless since most of the books at my local store are shelved spine-out. If I can’t see the cover quote, it won’t help me with my decision. :)

  28. JaneO
    May 29, 2008 @ 13:51:09

    Gee, it never would have occurred to me to pay attention to the endorsements on the cover of a book. I always assumed they just came at the marketing department’s request from other authors with the same publisher and didn’t even guarantee that the endorser had read the book. The only things I pay attention to are reviews (thank you, ladies) and then I am more interested in the reasons for the grade than the grade itself.

  29. carolyn Jean
    May 29, 2008 @ 14:10:12

    I don’t pay much attention to author blurbs, though if it was an author I was wild about who rarely gives out blurbs, then I would.

  30. Gail Dayton
    May 29, 2008 @ 14:29:02

    There may be some authors who don’t read the stuff they blurb, but most of the ones I’ve spoken to do. I do. The ones I got to blurb my last book both read it. (And gave me much longer quotes than what showed up on the book.)

    That said, I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the author blurbs either. Other stuff catches my eye first.

    As far as knowing the author’s reading tastes–lots of authors have pages at Shelfari/Good Reads. You could look there and see what books are on their Shelf, and how they ranked them. I have 637 books on my Shelfari shelf, and virtually every one of them has not only a ranking, but a review.

  31. Charlene Teglia
    May 29, 2008 @ 14:38:18

    Huh. Food for thought. I think from a marketing perspective, the idea is to get author endorsements (quotes) from authors whose work is similiar; i.e., if you like author X, try author Y. But I have to agree with Ann Aguire, if I like a book, it means it suits my reading tastes, and isn’t necessarily like what I write.

  32. Gennita Low
    May 29, 2008 @ 14:44:46

    I would kill to have J.D. Robb endorse my books. What, you don’t think her readers would notice her name on my cover? Darn. ;-)

  33. (Jān)
    May 29, 2008 @ 15:24:58

    It seems like author endorsements used to mean more. Waaaaaay back when, I’d pay attention if one of my favorite authors was quoted on the cover of a book. Lately, I’ve been burnt for doing that. I no longer care. But like someone else said, quotes from reviews mean more, though I tend to look at them like Amazon reviews, believing the less gushy ones.

  34. JaimeK
    May 29, 2008 @ 16:09:43

    I have to say if it is a specific author that I have met or had conversation with that is doing the blurb on a book – eh, yeah, I do pay attention to it and I might put the book in the pile based on that blurb. Just honest.

    I was going to let this go and decided what the heck – in regards to someone choosing to close their blog or not post or whatever – it is just that a choice. No one can run you off unless you allow yourself to be run off and shut down. Blaming DA or anyone else is ridiculous.

    Peace.

  35. Susan Helene Gottfried
    May 29, 2008 @ 16:13:05

    Count me in as one of those who doesn’t give a fig about author endorsements when considering what to read. Just because YOU liked something doesn’t mean I will; I pick up a book because either I like the plot or it’s an author I follow.

    Unless the blurber is a friend and unless I know we’ve liked similar books in the past, I don’t pay any attention to blurbs. They don’t know my reading style. I don’t know theirs.

    And to be totally honest, there have been times when I’ve hated a book and looked at a blurb and thought, “What crack are you smoking” — and then avoided reading the blurbing author again.

    (can I pervert BLURB into any more forms, or did I cover them all?)

  36. Janine B
    May 29, 2008 @ 16:45:58

    Author endorsements have no value. If anything, when I see a book listed on Amazon having 20 author endorsements (there is an author who is guilty of that for each book she puts out) I steer clear. It’s almost overkill… if you need that many pulling for you, you obviously can’t stand on your own.

  37. CourtneyCarroll
    May 29, 2008 @ 16:55:02

    The only times I’ve bought a book due to an author’s endorsement was Lisa Kleypas’s endorsement of J.R. Ward’s “Lover Awakened” and I’m so happy I did. I subsequently relied on J.R. Ward’s endorsement of Lara Adrian’s “Kiss of Midnight.” I was happy enough with that book, but I agree with Nifty that an author’s endorsement for one book somehow seems to find its way on to each subsequent book cover which is dishonest unless that author has read each book and had the same reaction.

  38. Keishon
    May 29, 2008 @ 17:31:01

    Some author endoresements do help out when I’m on the fence, for instance Diana Gabaldon or Dennis Lehane don’t always give cover quotes and I feel that Ms. Gabaldon does read the books she gives her endorsements to and if that is wrong then I stand corrected. But there are author endorsements on the cover of books that will have me passing them by, so yeah, I read them, but in the end, the decision is all mine.

  39. K. Z. Snow
    May 29, 2008 @ 17:41:52

    The problem for me has always been distinguishing between sincere praise and solicited or “obligated” praise. I suspect the latter is all too common (e.g., publishers drumming up support from other of their signed authors; writers drumming up support from buddies and critique partners). Since I never know if one hand is simply washing the other, I pay little attention to endorsements. Too many may be neither informed nor heartfelt.

    Invariably, for me, thoughtful reviews in conjunction with blurbs and excerpts trump any hyperbole slapped onto covers. But I will pay attention to a long string of front-matter plaudits from authors I admire and reviewers I respect.

  40. Helen
    May 29, 2008 @ 17:45:50

    I tend to notice some endorsements, but usually after I have read the book. Once in a while I notice before hand, and it is more often a deterrant than an encouragement. As to whether the endorsement or positive review in question in this letter is beneficial, I would say not.

  41. Throwmearope
    May 29, 2008 @ 19:00:33

    Brewster Rockit is doing Blog Wars and I loved yesterday’s which I hope will be accessible here

  42. Elly Soar
    May 29, 2008 @ 19:00:58

    Endorsements only work in reverse for me. I completely ignore them when selecting a book to read but sometimes after I’ve read the book, if I liked it, I will seek out the quoted author. Good way of discovering people who have been around for a while but you might not’ve picked up before!

  43. Mireya
    May 29, 2008 @ 19:30:54

    Honestly, I’ve never paid attention to authorial endorsements, no matter how much I may respect or like the author providing the endorsement, since I have no way of knowing if the endorsement is a real recommendation or just a favor from one author to another. *shrug*

  44. Fiordiligi
    May 29, 2008 @ 19:49:18

    Very embarrassing, but the only endorsement I instantly remembered, was Linda Howard lauding Liz Carlyle’s work. As I adore both authors, I congratulated Howard on her good tastes. I have never before seen a Howard endorsement on a book, which leads me to assume that she isn’t too liberal with them. I’ve read that the Squawk ladies give each other endorsements, and as they appear to be good friends, I perceive this as rather off-putting and untrustworthy. Generally speaking, I don’t trust them, same goes for reviews written by authors. The absolute (negative) icing on the cake would be an endorsement from DAM or Harriet Klausner, that would be like a quack salver trying to sell me a potion for immortality.

  45. AnonReader
    May 29, 2008 @ 20:22:48

    I don’t normally post here, but your post about author endorsements reminded me of something I was involved with years ago. I was acquainted with Author A, who got asked by Author B for a cover quote. “A” didn’t have time to read “B”‘s story, so she asked me and a couple others for quotes. Of course, we didn’t read the story, but we could pull a few quotes out of the hat.

    This leads me to wonder if these books are indeed read before zipping off an endorsement. It’s just PR. Scratch my back and I’ll return the favor.

    Wasn’t it Sherrilyn Kenyon who endorsed herself on one of her Kinley MacGregor’s?

  46. roslynholcomb
    May 29, 2008 @ 20:26:02

    Linda Howard endorses Diana Palmer. I think it’s hysterically funny as she says, ‘Nobody does it like Diana Palmer.’ Palmer is a guilty pleasure for me, and I suspect Howard’s endorsement is done with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek. At least I hope so. (For some really hysterical humor read some of Mrs. Giggles reviews of Ms. Palmer’s books. I swear, she should get a Pulitzer. They’re a scream.)

  47. Claudia
    May 29, 2008 @ 21:03:14

    I recall at least one NY pubbed author that openly endorsed a book she wrote under a psuedonym. I forget her name, but she was mostly treated with winks and smiles in bloglandia. Such blurbing is generally considered unsavory though, especially when ebook authors do it.

  48. che
    May 29, 2008 @ 21:23:01

    I do read the author endorsements,just out of curiosity, but it has no affect on whether I buy the book or not.

    Speaking of Linda Howard, I believe she also endorsed one of Holly Lisle’s books as well.

    eta Beverly Barton’s too.

  49. K. Z. Snow
    May 29, 2008 @ 22:42:26

    I don't normally post here, but your post about author endorsements reminded me of something I was involved with years ago. I was acquainted with Author A, who got asked by Author B for a cover quote. “A” didn't have time to read “B”'s story, so she asked me and a couple others for quotes. Of course, we didn't read the story, but we could pull a few quotes out of the hat.

    This leads me to wonder if these books are indeed read before zipping off an endorsement. It's just PR. Scratch my back and I'll return the favor.

    Wasn't it Sherrilyn Kenyon who endorsed herself on one of her Kinley MacGregor's?

    See? Now this is exactly what I mean.

  50. ex-Squawk fan
    May 30, 2008 @ 01:13:01

    Back when I was more naive about blurbs and other endorsements, I was a big fan of 3 of the Squawk ladies and mostly enjoyed two of the others. The 6th I had never read but they kept saying how great she was. I tried a few of her books and it was a really frustrating experience because I kept looking for the good stuff they talked about but never found it. The writing style of the 6th Squawk lady really didn’t work for me. And I found a bunch of errors. Not just typos, but things like confusing a Sassenach with a Saracen.

    If I hadn’t been naive, I probably wouldn’t have been bothered by this. But I was and so I spent too much time thinking about it. Which led to me getting more critical than I had been in the past of the other 5′s books. I’ve stopped reading anything by any of them. I just can’t enjoy their books anymore.

    I’d like to emphasize that this probably wouldn’t bother me now with another group of authors. But then it really bothered me.

  51. Randi Thompson
    May 30, 2008 @ 09:14:10

    I consider author blurbs advertising. I don’t pay any attention to them what-so-ever. My biggest peeve with author blurbs is when the back of the book is covered with them, the first few pages are covered with them, and yet, there is no summary of the fracken book. When this happens, 99% of the time I won’t buy the book. I do not recommend replacing a summary with blurbs…IMHO anyway.

    On the other topic, anonymous, I followed that whole thing from beginning to end, and can tell you, that no one got nasty with or about Tess, until some of her folks came over here dripping vitriol. Yes, there was some discussion about her comment about DAM, and that was mostly, ‘Was she joking?’ or ‘She’s entitled to her opinion but I find that disappointing’. Even after her fans came over here dropping hate bombs, most of the defensive responses were polite.

    I’d like to ask, anonymous, if you read the entire thread here at DA, or did you just read what Tess wrote and then made up your mind?

    Also, writers are no more “sensitive” than non writers. Are you suggesting that we [non writers] need to pander to the oh-so-vulnerable writer person? I don’t know about anyone else, but I find that incredibly patronizing to writers.

    -Randi

  52. Jesbelle
    May 30, 2008 @ 09:20:55

    Like many others have stated, I generally take no notice of author blurbs. But in this case, I’m kind of glad DAM threw her crap into the game. Because her infamey started a minor kerfuffle, I found out about another great author.

    I would have never heard of Ms. Kennedy’s book and that would be shame as I’m very much enjoying it!

  53. Meriam
    May 30, 2008 @ 10:37:21

    To be honest, an author endorsement just makes me think ‘ah, so Author A and author B must be friends.’ This might sound cynical and unfair, but I have learnt to be wary the hard way (i.e. by spending my money on some really awful and random books on the basis of endorsements).

    As for DAM – the very definition of an anti-endorsement. I don’t have time to read as much as I used to, and I guess she provides a useful filtering mechanism.

  54. Christine Merrill
    May 30, 2008 @ 11:07:39

    To be honest, an author endorsement just makes me think ‘ah, so Author A and author B must be friends.'

    Just so you know, that may not be what it means at all. It could be that quoting author is friends with

    the publisher
    the agent
    a friend of a friend of a friend
    or
    the only one to say yes to a blanket appeal.

    Or she could be someone who has read the book, and really believes in it.

    And while sometimes, authors have enough connnections to get quotes or enough moxie to ask strangers to blurb, sometimes they have no control at all of what gets put on the cover, because someone else has done the marketing, and made the choices.

    While I’d never say ‘read the blurb–trust the blurb–drink the koolaid” I think it’s kind of unfair to penalize the author for the people who end up on their book covers, especially if some of the blurbers turn out to be complete loons.

    We write the stuff on the inside. What happens on the covers is not our job.

  55. Meriam
    May 30, 2008 @ 11:33:04

    It could be that quoting author is friends with
    the publisher
    the agent
    a friend of a friend of a friend
    or
    the only one to say yes to a blanket appeal.

    Or she could be someone who has read the book, and really believes in it.

    Christine, indeed. No argument there. But you see, I hope, why I have become cynical about the endorsement?

    While I'd never say ‘read the blurb-trust the blurb-drink the koolaid” I think it's kind of unfair to penalize the author for the people who end up on their book covers, especially if some of the blurbers turn out to be complete loons.

    Whilst I would never buy a book on the sole basis of an author blurb, nor would I dismiss it. For me, it has zero impact. I buy a book based on a) the first couple of pages b) word of mouth and c) a positive review at a couple of my trusted sites.

    The case of DAM is a little different because of the ‘clickie’ business. I’m a little sore about the whole thing and I just don’t want to give my money to an author who might have suppressed a review or hounded a reviewer.

    However, if a writer has been endorsed by DAM but I’ve heard from other sources that she’s a great writer and ought to be read, (and she isn’t a complete loon), I would happily fork out. The DAM endorsement just means that I would double check before buying.

    I know it sounds a little harsh… but. It’s my perception, and it’s my hard earned money and I don’t like to be mislead, so I’m going to take the sceptical view.

  56. Christine Merrill
    May 30, 2008 @ 12:00:12

    Whilst I would never buy a book on the sole basis of an author blurb, nor would I dismiss it. For me, it has zero impact.

    Fine with me, Meriam. Personally I tend to form strong opinions about books and movies, and then hunt through the quotes and reviews, afterward, to see who agrees with me.

    And I am definitely in favor of libraries and UBS’s, to sample authors, rather than making money-spending decisions based on a few lines of puff on the cover.

    I just don’t like to see quotes working against authors, since we have so little control. I talked to someone recently, who got blurbed by Janet Dailey. She never asked for it. And since her editor seemed to think it was a gift, there wasn’t anything she could do about it.

    So if someone got blurbed by DAM? It shouldn’t be a negative. It means nothing at all about the author, or the contents of the book.

  57. CJ England
    May 30, 2008 @ 13:22:43

    If I see a favorite author’s endorsement on a book, while it won’t make me buy it, it will make me pick it up for a second look. I am hoping that because they say they enjoy the book, it may be one similar to what they write, which I know I like.

    Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. I use blurbs as a “heads up” and then I go from there.

  58. Amy Wolff Sorter
    May 30, 2008 @ 13:49:57

    Good afternoon, all –

    The point behind author endorsements or those “review blurbs” that are on the book are a kind of subliminal “come on.” In other words; someone read the book and took the time to make a remark about it. The theory goes that if someone went to all that effort AND praised the book, it should be worth buying :-).

    I agree with another poster on this board — I can’t stand it when all of those blurbs take the place of a book’s summary.

    And I’ll agree with a good swath of writers on this board — I tend to ignore the author blurbs (and reviews, for that matter). I’ll go with recommendations or familiarity with the author.

    Now, as an author myself, there’s a little bit of gratified egoism in seeing nice comments about myself in print, LOL. But I’m not decieving myself that scads of people are going to buy my book simply because so-and-so wrote three complimentary lines on the cover.

    I treasure the comment that one book store owner told me: “I have yet to see my store overrun by groups of readers demanding the book that was reviewed in this morning’s paper.”

    Kinda makes you think…

  59. Keri M
    May 30, 2008 @ 14:28:31

    I don’t pay any attention to endorsements at all. I will go look at reviews after I have finished a book and see how reviews did on a book and whether I agreed with other readers or not.

    I do pay attention to books that other authors say that they read out on their own personal websites. I have come into some really great books that way. Looking at Karen’s Rose site, lead me to Brenda Novak and hers led me to Cathy Ridgeway’s books. I have had the best luck that way.

    Sometimes Amazon had led me to some really good finds, like if I am looking a book I bought then they have the books that other’s have bought like this one link. I will look at the reviews take it with a grain of salt and go to the half price book store and try them out. That way I am not out too much money and may find a great book.

    My two cents on the Tess G. thing. I think that Tess should have just rode out the storm in a teacup and known that it would have passed without closing her forum. Because all that did was hurt her fans. I took her comments as they were presented as a tongue in cheek comment and didn’t give it a second thought. Keri

  60. Julie
    May 30, 2008 @ 16:16:30

    I do pay attention to author recommendations of other author’s books. I also look at reviews on sites like this one and perhaps I shouldn’t admit this but I read summaries in the Romantic Times (or whatever they call themselves now.) I don’t pay attention to their ratings however. My problem currently is there are too many good books out there and frankly I don’t have time to read them all. So I use whatever I can to try to find the best of the best. My to-be-read list got longer after the book oriented tournament where Colleen Gleason’s book one as best of 2007.

    Currently I’m reading Ann Aguirre’s book Grimspace and I am loving it. I read a summary of it in the Ro-Times but didn’t pick it up until I saw it discussed either here or SBTN (can’t remember where.) All I know is I’m glad I picked it up.

    On the line of great author quotes from a book jacket my favorite quote is the following from Elizabeth Peter’s last Vicki Bliss novel.

    “This time Elizabeth Peters has gone too far. The woman has been annoying me for years. She’s a fairly good writer, actually, and this is probably her best book. Per usual it’s funny and exciting, but this time she has gone overboard on the romantic stuff in flagrant imitation of me. This is actionable! I shall demand a share of the royalties!” – Barbara Michaels, author of Houses of Stones (and tons of other great books.)

    You may know that Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels are both pseudonyms for Barbara Mertz. And a new Vicki Bliss novel is coming this summer!

  61. Popin
    May 30, 2008 @ 17:11:27

    I don’t really pay attention to authorial endorsements. There have been times where an author I liked endorsed a book that I loved and other times I ended up hated the book.

    I usually read the reviews of the book and if the book blurb is good then I’ll pick it up.

  62. Shayne
    May 30, 2008 @ 17:20:52

    I buy based solely on book blurbs. I don’t care who endorses what, even if it is DAM, and I don’t like her, won’t read her books.

    I picked up Kim Harrison’s works based on the story blurb alone. If it sounds like it appeals to me, I buy it. If the blurb doesn’t catch me, I’m not buying no matter who says it’s great.

  63. Mad
    May 30, 2008 @ 17:46:52

    AnonReader — I think SK’s quote on a KM book was mostly a tongue-in-cheek type of thing.

    As for DAM and her endorsing…I will admit seeing her endorse any author gives me a slight “ick factor” feeling because after seeing what she’s done for a 3 star review, how honest can she be?

  64. Ann Somerville
    May 30, 2008 @ 23:13:19

    Throwmearope – that comic strip was too funny.

    Anonymous – oh jeez, cry me a damn river. Authors bitching about bad reviews is just so last week, don’t you know? Gerritsen’s poor widdle feelings and her angry supporters are old news. Move on, people.

  65. XandraG
    May 31, 2008 @ 11:53:55

    Author quotes to me are like reviewer quotes – still only one person’s opinion, so I take it as exactly that. What irks me, though, is when publishers put something like, “Fans of so-and-so will love this book.” I’ve seen it a lot with Laurell K. Hamilton and it’s a problem for me–LKH writes very differently now than from what she did when the Anita Blake series started out. So when faced with an Urban Fantasy with that quote on the cover, I’m forced to wonder, “Are they talking about the LKH from Guilty Pleasures, or the LKH from Merry Gentry?” Because I know which LKH I liked, and which one I don’t care for.

    I very nearly dismissed one of my favorite authors because of the “just like Laurell” blurbage on the cover. I’m glad I gave it a chance (after being forced to do so by mr. xandra who ordered me to ignore the blurb). Mr. Xandra was right–this author =/= LKH.

    It’s not an actual author quote, which I could take or leave as a single opinion, but more like a suggested classification, almost. As an author myself, I’m not sure how I feel about having a quote like that myself. On the one hand, I realize that it can be an effective sales tool, but on the other, I don’t want to be seen as derivative, a clone, or a “wannabe.” I like to think I have my own unique style.

  66. Lena
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 19:42:42

    I don’t put attention to an author endorsement in a book since i alway thought that was publicity and doesn’t signify the quality of book. What i do, is read what authors that I like recommend, sometimes this work sometimes this doesn’t.

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