by Vinnie Hansen
Blurb. Blurb. Blurb. It sounds like a goldfish swirling down the drain. For writers, seeking blurbs can be about as enjoyable.
Whether indie or traditionally published, authors are often left with the task of going, hat in hand, to ask for short publicity notices from other authors. It’s a big ask. In order to write a few sentences for our book jacket, the person first has to read the entire book!
When I went on my blurb-seeking journey, I was very lucky to have known Edgar-nominated author Susan Bickford for a number of years, dating back to a Sisters in Crime Guppies critique group. She’d been working on her first novel, A Short Time to Die, and I’d been working on the last book for my Carol Sabala series. We’re also both members of the NorCal Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and during the pandemic, participated in the same Drop-in Writing session.
Since we had these connections, the ask was a trifle easier. On the other hand, the familiarity meant I knew how busy her life was.
Nonetheless, Susan graciously read One Gun and produced this blurb: “A riveting book that will tear at your heart as the impact from one gun ricochets through a close-knit community. Hansen’s commanding voice weaves a compassionate tale that rings true and clear. You won’t be able to look away.”
My next request was harder. I’d met James Ziskin at Left Coast Crime Conferences so he had a face to match to my name. But that, in my opinion, is not enough. What allowed me to approach him was that I’d read all seven books in his Ellie Stone series and made one of them the recommended book in my newsletter. I’d developed a relationship with him as a fan.
So even though James is an Anthony, Barry, and Macavity award-winning author, he still accepted the mission and wrote this astounding bit for me: “Vinnie Hansen’s One Gun unspools a long, exquisite crescendo of foreboding and dread as clouds gather for a chilling, unexpected climax. Top-notch writing, sensitive touch, and heart-wrenching choices. Hansen is an author to watch.”
I would not have had the chutzpa to ask for these blurbs without having established the ground work. For any aspiring writer who might one day need quotes, I recommend membership in professional organizations such as Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, attendance at conferences, and being a reader and supporter of other authors. One needs to create connections before making this big ask and also appreciate how much work it requires from the other person.
In the way of the world, I’d no sooner asked James Ziskin for a blurb than Mary Ann Miller asked me to write one for her book. Because she and I had worked together on her police-procedural, Bones Under the Ice, in a Sisters in Crime Guppies critique group, of course, I said yes. A perfect way to pay it forward.
Look for Bones Under the Ice in July from Oceanview with my blurb: “Set in rural, blizzard-frozen Indiana, Mary Ann Miller’s Bones Under the Ice launches a chilling police procedural series. From page one when Jhonni Laurent brushes snow off a frozen hand, the reader will be rooting for this likeable sheriff.” – Vinnie Hansen, author of the Carol Sabala Mystery Series, Lostart Street, and One Gun.
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