[DWJ] author flirting

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Jan 28 16:11:57 EST 2009


deborah wrote:

>The people who are willing to give all a lot of blurbs -- people
>like DWJ and Tamora Pierce -- are really caught in a bind.
>Either we believe that they are happy to give blurbs out of
>friendship, or we believe that in a lot of cases they have fairly
>poor taste in books. Honestly, I've seen DWJ blurbs on some
>books I find really wanting (and as a reviewer, that traumatized me
>for a long time, until I realized that just because she liked the
>book doesn't mean I need to like the book).

Oh dear, the perils of being too polite to tell a publisher to go piss up a
pole when they ask for a favour like 'be polite about this book, I want a
nice quote for the cover'.

Let's be fair, too, and note that a book DWJ reads when she is in good
health, has just finished a book of her own, and hasn't been hassled to
read it in a hurry because someone wants her to blurb it for them, is more
likely to be one that she enjoys and is therefore polite about than one she
reads when she is waiting to have surgery, has just read four others that
are similar, is in pain, is in the middle of writing the first draft of
Chapter 17, or for one reason or another (like being on a panel of judges
for a major award and having a couple of hundred books she is expected to
read in a couple of months in order to judge them) isn't in a particularly
receptive mood.  She's also less likely to feel favourably about books that
are are written in poor english, and more likely to feel favourably towards
those that may be derivative and a bit ropey about the plot but are being
these things in a beautiful style that she finds pleasant from sentence to
sentence even if the paragraphs or chapters don't go anywhere much.  <grin>
The author as human being!

Many of the books she will give favourable comments about are written by
people she has never met and is never likely to meet, after all, especially
given that she finds travel by car painful and by train or plane
effectively impossible.  Meeting a new author would mean that author had to
come to her.  So she isn't terribly likely to give blurbs only to friends,
especially not if it's for a first-time author who lives in Brisbane or
Bratislava or Buffalo rather than Bristol.

(incidentally, when I cast about just then for a place beginning with B
that was obviously in the USA I had trouble thinking of one.  *Are* there
lots of big obvious places in America with that initial and I'm just not
thinking of them, or is there a bit of a paucity?  The only other one I
think of off-hand is Biloxi -- Birmingham doesn't count because it's in the
midlands of England too.)

Minnow





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