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General SF&F Chat > Are you Swayed by Endoresment Quotes on a book's Cover?

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I was pulling the next book off my to-read list when I spent a moment wondering how that particular title had gotten on their in the first place. Then I recalled that it was the cover blurb, a recommendation from an author I liked.

Do the little endorsement quotes on covers (and back covers) influence your book reading/buying?

Some authors are more generous with recommendations than others (appear on book covers a lot.) That sort of dilutes the "brand". It's my general opinion that if the top blurb on the back cover is a quote from Publishers Weekly, that's a pretty weak endorsement. (And a quote from RT may mean the book is more paranormal romance than urban fantasy.)


message 2: by Baelor (new)

Baelor | 19 comments No. I do not even look at them.


message 3: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments Depends on who it is. It is said that Bernard Shaw's quote for the cover of WORST JOURNEY IN THE WORLD by Cherry-Gerard made it a best-seller. I think it was Disraeli who wrote a foreword for PRECIOUS BANE which launched it.


message 4: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (haveah) | 123 comments No. I ignore all of those. They do the same thing with movies, and I was burned with Hostel, because Quentin Tarrantino was backing it. Truly bad movie (imo).

I do tend to perk up when people start boycotting books, though. If the Baptist Church hadn't decided to boycott the Harry Potter series- I never would have read them. *smirk*


message 5: by Michele (new)

Michele | 274 comments If I'm really on the fence about a book, then a quote from an author I respect might* push me over to buying it. But it has to be the right author, and the quote has to be a detailed one - none of those, "This book was great!" type quotes.


message 6: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin It might sway me if it's one of my favorite authors and I'm already leaning towards getting the book. Particularly if they say why they liked it enough to endorse it. I ended up picking up Lies of Locke Lamora because of what Patrick Rothfuss had said about it.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments I have been swayed by them & usually disappointed.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Jim wrote: "I have been swayed by them & usually disappointed."

And yet we cling to hope.... :)


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

sometimes, and not always in the way you think...recently I bought a kindle book by, I think it was, Lionel Fanthorp...the cover blurb was by Neil Gaiman and said "Do not read too much Lionel Fanthorp in one go, your brains will turn to guacamole and drip out your ears."

Lionel Fanthorp has written more SF novels than anyone EVER (over 300). Once he started and finished one before lunch. They were all very, very, BAD. Gaiman did not mean what he said as a compliment, belive me. I thought it was crazy (like a fox) how the publisher slapped that quote on every title of Fanthorp's they have re-printed.


message 10: by Randolph (new)

Randolph (us227381) | 13 comments No


message 11: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments My Harlan Ellison story is the day he called me on the telephone. It was just after HOW LIKE A GOD came out, and he said, and I qutoe, "You write like an angel." Like an idiot I did not reply, "Harlan, may I quote you on that on every book cover for the rest of my life?"


message 12: by Maria (new)

Maria (halnix) | 21 comments Nah, not really. I only accept them if the it's the right author who gave a more thorough comment, and has talked about those books multiple times in interviews, blogs, etc. It gotta be something they continously rave about, or else I mostly ignore them. They are often a source of huge disappointment.


message 13: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) Mostly they have annoyed/outraged me in hindsight, ie. after the book. I try to learn from burnt fingers and ignore them but I know I fail. I've become quite cynical on them, but I'd like to believe an author I follow.


message 14: by Jeff (new)

Jeff (jeffcreer) | 12 comments I can't honestly say that cover quotes don't have an impact on my decision to read a book. But I think the effect is minimal.

Cover quotes might sway me to read a book that I was already somewhat interested in reading. A good cover quote might push the book further up my "To Read" list.

I won't read a book just because it has a quote from a certain author. Having quotes from some authors might dissuade me from reading the book I was just curious about, but hadn't decided whether to read it or not.

A review or recommendation from a friend or trusted reviewer that I know to have similar tastes to mine will do more to get me to read a book.


message 15: by Hillary (new)

Hillary Major | 436 comments sometimes: in general, I tend to dismiss these blurbs as writers doing a favor for their publisher or other acquaintance

however, when a writer I really like gives a great blurb, I do note it and it can factor into my purchasing decision; a great blurb is esp. useful in compensating for a book w/an interesting title but unappealing cover (or vice versa)

I find the author blurbs are maybe even more notable/influencing on reprints -- if a contemporary author I respect still recommends a work or appreciates its influence, it can be one sign that the piece isn't too dated for me to enjoy

also notable is when an author crosses genres to give a blurb


message 16: by Beau (new)

Beau Johnston (beau_johnston) No, I ignore the endorsement quotes on the cover. Also, I won't read the introduction if it wasn't written by the author (many of them are long winded and exceptionally boring).


message 17: by Daran (new)

Daran | 73 comments I used to look at them, but I haven't seen them in some time. They're mostly on the inside now, and I'm far too lazy to pick up every book i am interested in.


message 18: by Murray (new)

Murray Lindsay | 51 comments Only when there is more than three of them. One or two very likely means the authors hung out in the hotel bar at a convention and agreed "You endorse mine and I'll endorse yours". When the back cover, or inside front pages, have a bunch of names, then I figure there is a smidge of genuine enthusiasm in the air.

But even that doesn't work if I don't recognize the names doing the endorsing.


message 19: by Bookwraiths (new)

Bookwraiths Doesn't have any impact on my decision to read a book. Like others have already mentioned, I assume blurbs from authors are examples of them doing a favour for a friend or for their publisher or their agent or their gardener . . . You get the point.

What does impact my decision is good word of mouth from my reading friends. Honestly, if a few of my goodread friends gush about a novel, I will be far more likely to give it a try than if Joe Cool author says it is the second coming of Tolkien.


message 20: by Gene (new)

Gene I completely agree with Wendell. I pay much more attention to reviews of my GR friends than the blurbs from authors. I can actually name some examples of good writers giving glowing blurbs to very mediocre books.


message 21: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 30, 2014 07:39AM) (new)

In the digital ebook age, back cover quotes are invisible; blurbs go unread unless on the front cover itself (which may account for that trend! eBooks still have covers, but I can't recall any with a back cover, (Which is a shame for books with wrap-around cover art, I guess.)


message 22: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas | 46 comments Nope. I read the blurb that describes the actual book inside. If that intrigues me, then I'll give the book a try. It only helps if the title has received consummate reviews/word-of-mouth.


message 23: by Marina (new)

Marina Finlayson | 34 comments When I was young I used to read every book Anne MacCaffrey endorsed, since I was such a huge fan. I found some good ones that way but also some more questionable ones. Eventually that, and the fact that every second fantasy that came out proclaimed the author to be "the next Tolkien", made me realise that advertising copy isn't always the gospel truth! (What can I say? I'm too trusting.) I've ignored them for years now, and agree with Wendell above -- I'm far more likely to be swayed by Goodreads friends or other online reviews.


message 24: by V.W. (new)

V.W. Singer | 253 comments Only occasionally. My favourite authors seldom seem to endorse books anyway, so it is a moot point.

Plus the endorsement has to be more than "Thrilling" or something which could have been taken totally out of context.


message 25: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (haveah) | 123 comments Marina wrote: "When I was young I used to read every book Anne MacCaffrey endorsed, since I was such a huge fan. I found some good ones that way but also some more questionable ones. Eventually that, and the fact..."

Goodreads friends are the reason that my TBR is 400+ books! I joined Goodreads to expose myself to more books, and boy did I get my wish! lol


message 26: by Marina (new)

Marina Finlayson | 34 comments Natalie wrote: "... I joined Goodreads to expose myself to more books, and boy did I get my wish!"

I'm having the same "problem" -- there are so many temptations on here! I'd have to do nothing but read to get through everything I see that looks good.


message 27: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 746 comments I ignore them.

There are, indeed, authors with a reputation that they will give quotes for anything. . .


message 28: by Bobby (last edited Aug 01, 2014 08:46PM) (new)

Bobby Bermea (beirutwedding) | 412 comments Um, quotes from reviewers, sure. And I'm a little skeptical about people saying they ignore them completely. But that's probably because I pay attention to them. There are just sooo many books out there, sometimes it's great to have someone who reads for a living sort through the chaff for you. And sure, sometimes I read a book that's gotten great reviews and I hate it. And vice versa. That's with anything.

Quotes from authors, not so much. I'm not even sure why that is. Stephen King I pay attention to because he's so willing to blast people if he doesn't like them and praise them if he does. He cares so much about the craft and about writers, that I don't think he gives them without meaning it. Maybe I'm naive. But he's just about the only one. I just generally think an author has an agenda. A friend asked them, it's a favor for an agent or publisher, something. But like, when Stephen King says "I have seen the future of horror, his name is Clive Barker." I feel safe going with that. And whether or not Barker was the future of horror, he was masterful, so thanks Mr. King!

I should say also, it depends on what the reviewers are saying. If I'm reading a horror book and I see the word "terrifying" or some such a few times from a few different people, they got me.


message 29: by Murray (new)

Murray Lindsay | 51 comments I had a moment just this week with cover blurbs that I figured needed sharing.

The book: The Martian by Andy Weir. The premise: an astronaut marooned on Mars.

I read that far and a dozen books/movies with similar plots with various amounts and qualities of cheese came to mind. I dithered a moment. I flipped it over and read the blurbs. An impressive number of authors...that's something. Don't know him. Don't know her...Chris Hadfield?? "fascinating technical accuracy".

On story and characterization, Chris Hadfield is just a fellow Canuck at the neighbouring table in the pub. When black belt astronaut Chris Hadfield endorses the science, I pay attention! And (as I said in my review elsewhere), being bona fide hard SF was crucial to the book's success.


message 30: by Greg (new)

Greg Strandberg (gregstrandberg) I just kind of wonder if the endorser read the whole book, and if not, how much. I wonder how they were contacted, and what they get out of it.


message 31: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 746 comments Not necessarily. Some authors indeed have a rep for blurbing just about anything.


message 32: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 4 comments The only words on the cover I'm likely to notice, let alone pay attention to, are author and title. Then it's straight to page 1 and see if I'm hooked by the opening and the author's voice.

Voice is probably the biggest single factor for me. Do I see myself spending the next week or so in this author's company without gouging my eyes out with a spoon?


message 33: by Davis (new)

Davis Ashura (davisashura) Brenda wrote: "My Harlan Ellison story is the day he called me on the telephone. It was just after HOW LIKE A GOD came out, and he said, and I qutoe, "You write like an angel." Like an idiot I did not reply, "Har..."

Oh, Brenda...shakes head in disbelief. That sounds like something I would do.


message 34: by Paul (new)

Paul Spence (paulbspence) | 7 comments I do, and have had positive and negative results. It is important to see if the quote is about that book or series, or something else.

I'm often disappointed when I discover that an author I like, liked an early book my another author, but the quote is applied to a book I don't like, and the original author probably would not have liked either.


message 35: by Wade (new)

Wade Garret | 56 comments They'll make me checkout a book. Nothing more.


message 36: by Lori (new)

Lori (loriann25) | 19 comments Sometimes if its an author I really like the endorsement will sway me.


message 37: by Michael (new)

Michael | 152 comments Not normally. I assume most of those are done as an obligation to their publisher. Now, if an author talks up a book on their blog, Facebook page, forum, etc. I'm more likely to pay attention to that.


message 38: by George (new)

George | 6 comments I used to be swayed... but then I read "The Passage" by Justin Cronin by Stephen King had endorsed it.

I have never forgiven either of them.


message 39: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 21, 2014 01:21PM) (new)

On the subject of blubs on books, here's a delightful response to a blub request from Ursula K Le Guin from back in 1987 that popped up on Facebook recently. Oh, snap.


message 40: by Simon (new)

Simon Hedge | 29 comments G33z3r wrote: "On the subject of blubs on books, here's a delightful response to a blub request from Ursula K Le Guin from back in 1987 that popped up on Facebook recently. Oh, snap."

When did Aldiss sneer at her work? It has been a LONG time since I read it, but I thought that in Billion Year Spree: The True History of Science Fiction he was quite positive about her. Am I mis-remembering?


message 41: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments I found one place that said, "Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction, Brian Aldiss. Aldiss devotes a number of pages to Le Guin and her influence on the genre, holding her critically at arm’s length, which is interesting to see: few authors have really had this treatment in this particular book. He acknowledges her stance in the genre, but chastise her for being preachy."

Bolding is mine.


message 42: by Bryan (new)

Bryan | 261 comments I don't pay attention to them. I may check a book out if one of the very few authors whose blog I follow reviews it, but blurbs on cover I just ignore as the probability of it being an arrangement is higher.


message 43: by Mary (last edited Oct 22, 2014 08:32AM) (new)

Mary Catelli | 746 comments Jim wrote: "I found one place that said, "Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction, Brian Aldiss. Aldiss devotes a number of pages to Le Guin and her influence on the genre, holding her critically at arm’s length, which is interesting to see: few authors have really had this treatment in this particular book. He acknowledges her stance in the genre, but chastise her for being preachy."

Bolding is mine. "


One notes that this is not a quote from him but an appraisal of what he said, which is not the same beast at all. In particular the verb "chastise" (and all verbs of its ilk) deserve a wary eye, because it's loaded.

Not to mention that a literary critic is entitled to describe what he sees as flaws, including preachiness. Calling them "sneering" requires more than his making them. We would need more to see the justice or injustice of the charge.


message 44: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Like most of the responses here, I've been persuaded once in a while but not too often. Probably the best endorsement to convince me to buy was a favorite author who stated the book was one he wished he'd written. That got my attention (and the book turned out to be great, too).


message 45: by Gareth (new)

Gareth Townsend I'm rarely swayed by other authors endorsements of a book, what does usually sway me though is endorsements from other readers, bloggers, booktubers and other people on good reads are much more likely to get me to buy something than a quote from an author


message 46: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (sunscour) I tend to judge a book by its cover and not the blurb... Not very effective I know.


message 47: by David (new)

David Merrill | 25 comments My main experience is being irritated by them. Sometimes a major author says something about another author and suddenly it's on every one of their books. It isn't so bad if it's innocuous, but if it's meaningless it just becomes irritating. My best example is William Gibson's quote that appears on most of James Blaylock's books. "Blaylock is a singular American fabulist." When you think about it, this quote is completely meaningless and sounds a bit pompous. Of course, that didn't stop me from buying all Blaylock's books. I like his writing a lot.

Other than that, I mostly ignore them.


message 48: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Johnston | 11 comments When I discovered the book Evolutionaries in a bookstore a year ago or so, and I was deciding whether to purchase it or not, the endorsement on the back by John F. Haught was the deciding factor for me. I didn’t regret the purchase at all.


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Dwayne (message 49) hints at the answer to the original question - an endorsement needs to be from someone whose opinions you value - and value as a reviewer, not the same as being an author. A celebrity in a different genre doesn't necessarily have anything valuable to say outside that genre.


message 50: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 746 comments Even a celebrity in the same genre may have different tastes -- even if you like a writer's work, you may not like what he likes to read.

Not to mention that some writers are notorious among other writers as willing to endorse anything, so having them shows you could -- or didn't know to -- get anyone else.


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