from manuscript to bookstore -- the publishing process

Two questions on galleys
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Sally wants to know who determines who writes the blurbs, and Chris wants to know whether the ARC cover is the real cover. (Chris also wants to know if I'm impressed with her self control, but we won't go into that here.)

Sally: first of all, you always take all the blurbs you can get. Whether or not blurbs actually impress readers is a raging debate, but they're one way of giving a publisher a level of comfort about the nature and quality of the book they've chosen to invest a bunch of money in. Writers are seen as discerning and critical readers. (At least, by publishers!) If other writers like a book enough to put their stamps on it in public, that's an early clue that it might be a worthwhile investment.

That said, of course sometimes writers give blurbs because they feel they have to: the author's a friend or your publisher's leaning on you. I've never met a writer, though, who's been willing to put his name on something he really didn't like.

Now, the answer to your question: as the author, I approached writers I knew, with whom I had the kind of relationship that I felt allowed me to ask them to take the time to read something that hadn't been on their radar and put their stamp on it if they liked it. I also approached some people I didn't know but we're in one or another organization together; in other words, I had some kind of intro. At the same time, my editor approached both writers she knew and some she didn't, whom she thought might like the book enough to blurb it though they didn't know me. Most of these people were kind enough to come through, though some others just had no time and some more didn't respond, meaning they didn't read it or didn't like it. The time thing I completely understand: Even at my level in this business, which is not all that high, I get these requests at the rate of about one a week. So you can imagine what a favor you're asking of someone really big time.

Chris: the front cover is the real thing; the back cover is just for the ARC and will be changed. And of course there will be front and back flaps, because I need to show the Ettlinger!

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