Early Acclaim for the Novel: Part 2

When I received the mockup of the cover for The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival, there was a blurb on the back cover from a fellow by the name of James Villas, author of Dancing in the Lowcountry. Villas had this to say about the book:

“A frustrated priest who smokes, drinks, and curses like a sailor, a loveable centenarian matriarch whose appetite for Crown Royal is matched only by her busy-body compulsion to counsel on any and all matters, a feisty flock of Cajun gals and gents who know how to get any ball rolling–all are unforgettable characters on a mission that’s not so holy and that gives new meaning to the notion of Southern Gothic. Add a carnival, the aroma of gumbo and fried turkey, and a little Zydeco dancing, and it’s easy to see why Ken Wheaton has produced a highly original yarn that is hilarious, beguiling, and, at times, warmly moving.”

Sweet. Now maybe you’re asking yourself some questions: How does this blurb thing work? How do you find these people? Why these people? Do they actually read the book before hand?

Or maybe you’re not asking yourself any question other than “Am I gonna go with a salad or a burger for lunch?”

At any rate, about those blurbs you see on books. I’m not actually convinced they move copies. I don’t necessarily think people look at the quotes on the back of a book and say, “Hey, that dude likes it. I’m totally going to buy it.”

But I could be wrong. And, on the off chance that such quotes make people buy a book — or at least convince them that the book is worth considering — authors and publishers go looking for blurbs from other authors. They consider things like audience demographics (will this blurb appeal to women?), genre (does it make any sense to have a fantasy author blurb a comedy?), and availability (is that dude busy?), among other things.

Of the four blurbs I’ve received so far, I secured three. You already met one last week. The other two, you’ll meet soon enough (along with hilarious–yet heartbreaking–tales of who was chosen and why). And James Villas was nabbed by my editor at Kensington, who, among other things, wanted at least one Southern writer to blurb the thing.

Despite the book being published by my own publisher, I hadn’t heard of Dancing in The Lowcountry, but Villas’ name sounded vaguely familiar. Hmmm. Now why was that.

I’ve got one word for you. Bacon! Villas is an award-winning food writer and among the books he’s written is The Bacon Cookbook. Sure. He’s also written The Glory of Southern Cooking and Between Bites: Memoirs of a Hungry Hedonist, which are undoubtedly important contributions to the world of writing.

But he wrote a cookbook about bacon. How perfect is that?

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