What to Expect When You’re Expecting…a Book: (Part 1) Getting a Blurb

This week myself and fellow author Jane Rawson started a new blog series, in which we dish the dirt on what happens just before, during and after your book is released.

Our aim with this series is to share our own experiences, good and bad, and in doing so, help early-career novelists better prepare for this exciting (and daunting) period, and to have realistic expectations of how things might unfold.

We’ll be posting on alternate weeks – one week on my blog; one week on Jane’s. The first instalment is on Jane’s blog now and has been generating lots of discussion on Twitter.

Here’s a taster:

So your first book has been accepted for publication: congratulations! You’ve been through edits, the cover is chosen, and it’s about to go off to the printers. In the next few months your face will be all over television and you’ll be getting daily bank deposits of thousands of dollars. Right?

Maybe not.

All authors’ experiences are different, but we (Jane Rawson and Annabel Smith) thought you might like to know what we’ve learned about the period just before and after your book hits the shelves.

JaneRecently my fourth book – a novel – was published. I’m with a small independent publisher, and they’ve previously published another novel of mine, and a non-fiction book about climate change that I co-authored with an environment journalist. My other book, a novella, was published by a different, even smaller independent publisher. None of my books has been published outside Australia, and I’m not represented by an agent.

Annabel: I published my first two novels with small independent publishers. My second novel was sold by my West Australian publisher to a small(ish) independent publisher in the US, where it has gone on to sell more than 60,000 copies. My third book, an interactive digital novel/app was self-published. I am currently in talks with a North American agent in relation to my fourth novel, the first in a trilogy.

Issue #1: Getting a blurb

Often, publishers will ask you to find someone famous-ish to say something kind about your book that they can stick on the front cover. When it’s your first book it can be tricky, because there’s a good chance you don’t know anyone famous-ish.

Read the post to find out how I got my blurb from Graeme Simsion, Jane got hers from Lian Hearn, and how another writer we know got a blurb from one of the Hemsworth brothers (swoon)!

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