Last week I saw the following tweet on twitter and I would love to know what you think about it.
@littlebrown Little, Brown and CoIn general, which is more compelling on the back of a hardcover: an excerpt from the book, or blurbs? #lbeditor
My answer was and still is "Definitely excerpts because they give readers a chance to get to know the author's writing style".
I'm a big fan of excerpts. I love reading them because they give me a first impression of the author's writing style and that's important for me. I love excerpts in general and I'm always happy to find them (long or short) on books, author websites, etc.. An excerpt is for me like an invitation to read a book and I'm always excited about them.
An excerpt I love is for example this one from Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
The column of light burned blue as a gas flame, and in the incandescent center was a hazy outline of a man... A formless arm lifted slowly, as if pulling against the weight of death to reach for me, and the shade of a mouth worked in soundless desperation as the hollow eyes fixed on my face.
Blurbs (short comments about the book by other authors, reviewers or bloggers) on the other hand normally don't work for me. I especially dislike them if they are on the front of the book, because they often make the cover look weird and inharmonic.
But even those on the back of a book usually don't interest me. Often I don't know the people the blurbs are from, or I there are too many blurbs by the same author on a lot of different books, or I don't like the author who wrote the blurb. And sometimes I even wonder if blurbs are real impressions or fake (and yes, I'm a bit wary in genreal).
Nevertheless I can understand the appeal of blurbs. If I would discover a book with a blurb by one of my favourite authors on it, then I would certainly want to know more about the book. But the more compelling alternative for me are excerpts.
Maybe the ideal solution would be to put a short (well-chosen) excerpt on the back of a hardcover plus one or two blurbs.
What is more compelling for you on the back of a hardcover: blurbs or an excerpt of the book?