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Haiku Maven: To Blurb or Not To Blurb

hm_logo Dear Haiku Maven, My chapbooks usually sell out at haiku conferences. I don’t like attending these conferences because I’m not a conference-type person. I usually ask a good friend to bring my chapbooks to the haiku conferences he attends and sell them for me. I have always thought this was nice of him. Now he’s asked me to write a blurb for his first chapbook, but I didn’t like any of the haiku in it. What now? Unsure

Dear Unsure, Haiku Maven knows haiku poets who love to see their name anywhere, including on the back of a book. You, apparently, are not one of them. Haiku Maven believes that writing blurbs is its own art form. If you have another look at your friend’s chapbook, you may be able to find something worthwhile to include in a blurb for his book. Have a go and be creative. Ultimately, the author gets the blame or praise for what’s inside a book. The educated consumer knows that blurbs are just another form of advertisement.

Haiku Maven offers advice about awkward situations involving haiku poets. The word maven comes from the Yiddish meyvn, meaning “one who understands.” Please use our Contact page to send a question. Haiku Maven will select a pseudonym for you based on your question. Click this link to see the Haiku Maven archive. Feel free to leave comments.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Dear Unsure, so much risk left to the toss of the coin – which to lose: your good name, or a valuable friendship. Heads or tails it is likely book sales will drop, either from lack of availability, or the disdain of haiku brethren. Writing takes talent. Challenge yourself.

    LM

  2. Well, if i’m attending, say an quarterly HSA meeting in NYC, and
    someone has books to unload. I don’t have a problem hauling
    a half dozen books or so to help sell. I’ve done it, and even sold
    books & CDs for non for profit groups like Virgilio’s. Can’t say
    I’ve ever plugged a volume of poetry that i didn’t like, and if
    I found myself in this position, i’d probably quot a blurb on
    the rear jacket. So be careful. 🙂

  3. As a general comment, sometimes there is so much information on books, that libraries have to cover up what was said, so they can put their stickers of ownership on the books, and the stickers for use with their computer systems in checking out books. My experience anyway. Then I might read background information online, which changes my experience of the book – if the information goes beyond a basic description.

    Sometimes I wish I had read a book for myself first, before reading what anyone else thinks. So then I might put a book aside, so I can read it anew another time.

    I’ve also thought sometimes that the contents of the books did not equal “the packaging” in my view. A new author, for example, might have been better served by a more low-key design, so comparisons are not invited before the book is even read.

    Seems we are discussing issues about friendship again too. I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years now. Many people simply develop policies, and state them on their sites, so feelings don’t get hurt. For example, I decline all the blog awards, as do many people. Others like them though, and I imagine awards vary a lot. Now more fellow bloggers have books and wish reviews, so am deciding to simply share in a friendly way in comments.

    Learning every day and valid goals surely can vary . . .

  4. “The educated consumer knows that blurbs are just another form of advertisement.” So why bother?

    I rarely, if ever, look at the blurbs on backs of books, haiku books especially. The haiku world is so small that I assume the blurb is written by someone well disposed to the poet, for whatever reason, and therefore meaningless (sorry, blurb writers).

    If the cover of the book is eye-catching, if the contents are well laid-out and the paper nice … that’s a million times better than any blurb.

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