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On Blurbs & Blurbing

On Blurbs & Blurbing

*UPDATE*: Oh yeah, and the biggest reason I don’t blurb books… I just don’t get around to them. I have ARCs of books that I have heard are awesome still sitting around, looking at me with puppy dog eyes. ‘Why, Brent?’ they ask. ‘Why?’

Blurbs are a mess of the personal, the professional, and the commercial. Readers see that an author whom they trust loves a book, and they think, “Hey, I respect her, I bet I’ll really enjoy that book she thinks is great!” Professionals see a chance to help out a friend or a newbie and want to pay it forward to help someone succeed in a career with a high attrition rate. Publishers and publicists see another selling point.

I don’t blurb often. Much of my reading is a fun/work blend these days. I might read a book about Jean Lafitte for fun, but also to see if he’s got a justified reputation as an honorable pirate or not, and then (if he was honorable), figure just how would one go about being an honorable pirate? Or I read about special operations soldiers to get a handle on psyche of elite warriors. Fun, but work, too. I read books about the original Assassins—not nearly as fun as you’d think. Or I read books about slavery in the ancient world, or about race and slavery in the Mediterranean Sea basin. (Not fun at all.) Or I’ll read a couple Sookie Stackhouse books to understand their huge success—and yep, I see why they’ve done so well. (Not my kind of fun, but fun!)

Some of my former joy at reading fantasy has dimmed. It’s simply too hard to take off the analyst’s glasses: ah nice turn here, odd anachronism not to eliminate here, man this chapter is gritty just because gritty is in, isn’t it? Ah, here’s your politics showing here, great visual, nice building of a badass character, let me think how you did that…

Added to this, of course, is that I mostly get sent debut novels. These frequently put me in a bind. I can see why the novel got published. I can see that the novelist may well become quite skilled, and I know what it is to hope someone will give me a chance. I want these novelists to survive so they can write the great novels they’re clearly capable of writing. But if I didn’t love their book, I don’t want to tell people who trust me that I did.

Of course, fantasy being my work now, I also have strong opinions about what I like and don’t like–stuff that has little to do with its quality, but are simply preferences. I don’t like sermons in my fiction, even if I agree with them. A book that deals with the environment or capitalism or whatever as an integral part of the plot is fine: five page lectures that feel like they were rejected from yesterday’s op-ed page? Yawn. To many other readers, those elements are neutral or (if they agree with the viewpoint), even a bonus. Good for them. Reasonable people can have differences of opinion and taste. Even great books have things about them that I don’t think work, or that I think could be done better.

A novel is a blend of choices and execution, and I often like one but not the other. (A subtle distinction, sometimes.) I’m sure there’s stuff in my own work that gets similar eye rolls. I’m even guilty of some of the things I now dislike—I was once going to call for a moratorium on names with apostrophes. Please, can we not have any more N’ns’nse names? Then I realized when I return to Night Angel, I’ll definitely have returning characters and items with apostrophes. Doh!

The blend of the personal and professional is part of what makes my Goodreads page look barren. If I read a book and think it’s meh, I feel some compassion. Either it’s a new writer who hasn’t honed their craft yet, or a good or great writer turned in something that was sub-par for reasons I don’t know. In the first case, I won’t help that writer by raving dishonestly, but I also don’t want to poke holes in the boat of someone who’s just hope to float, either. Thus, I keep my 3- and 2-star reviews to myself. (The 1-stars I just quit reading. I feel no compulsion to finish something that I’ve decided isn’t worth my time.)

The only time I break this rule is when the author is so successful they couldn’t care what I say. Thus, I wrote a serious critique of an Anne Rice book.

When I DO write a blurb, I also put on my marketer’s hat. Maybe it’s the first novel I’ve seen that uses an outcast blue kobold as its main point of view character. (And man, it just nails that blue kobold experience!) I KNOW that others are going to comment on that. Praising that is just adding my voice to the echo chamber. So, if there was something else as praiseworthy—and usually an excellent novel doesn’t only do one thing well—then I’ll praise that so that the blurbs aren’t all about the same thing. I’ll even add something in the longer form of the blurb about the blue kobold experience (just in case this novel got stiffed on blurbs for whatever reason). That’s why sometimes you’ll an author quoted twice, or a brief pull quote taken for the front cover, and the full paragraph from which it was taken inside or on the back cover. Marketing.

Yes, I do work hard on blurbs. (See: Why I Blurb Infrequently)

Tuesday and Wednesday, I’ll be posting briefly on two books I’ve read recently that I CAN blurb freely.

(Also, new poll at right!)

Posted in Reviews | 5 Comments

Geekvengers Interview!

Geekvengers Interview!

Geekvengers spoke with Brent about his forthcoming novel (The Broken Eye), discussed some of his plans for the next Midcyru series, and heard why writing prequels (like Perfect Shadow) can be so challenging.

For more interviews and Con coverage, subscribe to the Geekvengers Youtube Channel HERE.

Posted in Interviews | 2 Comments

New Fan Tattoo

New Fan Tattoo

by CAPSLOCK

A fan has just shared an awesome shoulder tattoo of some Night Angel vir.

Check it out:

 Tattoo of vir2Tattoo of vir1

Posted in Art | 4 Comments

Watch the Geek Bomb Book Chat!

Watch the Geek Bomb Book Chat!

by CAPSLOCK

Brent had a great time talking with the Geek Bomb Book Club (hosted by Maude Garrett) and answering questions from some fans.

See the full interview below, or watch HERE:

Thanks Geek Bomb!

Posted in Interviews | 4 Comments

My Valentine’s Day Gift to the world…

My Valentine’s Day Gift to the world…

When I first published The Way of Shadows, I made a joke in the back about ‘Where I get my ideas’ (a question every writer gets–a lot). I said I had no ideas, I just paid a Bulgarian to think them up for me…

Can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had people think I was serious. (How do I get this kind of idea-making-up job? Why a Bulgarian? Aren’t American ideas good enough for you?)

But now I have another reason to not use that joke–because the first two books of the Lightbringer Series is coming to Bulgaria! We’ve also picked up a few other languages. The entire Night Angel trilogy is coming to Brazil, Romania is testing the waters with The Way of Shadows, France picks up Perfect Shadow, and mainland China will be getting the entire Lightbringer Series.

Also, because it’s Valentine’s Day, take this yawning baby hedgehog. No one can be sad when they see a yawning baby hedgehog.

A yawning hedgehog

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Geek Bomb Live Stream Interview!

Geek Bomb Live Stream Interview!

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I will be joining Geek Bomb for a live Google Hangout on this Sunday, February 16th at 10:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. (That’s Monday, February 17th at 5:00 PM for you Aussies on the Sydney time zone!) Be sure to join us HERE.

If you haven’t heard of Geek Bomb — Host Maude Garrett and team cover video games, reviews, Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars and all manner of things geek! (Maude often gets to chat with real celebrities, so I hope she enjoys slumming it with me!*)

If you’d like to participate on the panel, you can email geekbombshells @ gmail.com (without the spaces) with a 60 second clip stating why you’d be perfect for the panel and what you’d like to ask Brent!

* Jamie Foxx, Emma Stone, Stana Katic, JJ Abrams

You can also follow Geek Bomb or join their book club via:
YoutubeWebsiteTwitter, FacebookGoogle+

Posted in Interviews | 0 Comments

Epic Fantasy Author Dinner Auction

Epic Fantasy Author Dinner Auction

UPDATE: The bidding is over. We’ve raised $3,050 for Worldbuilders! Thanks to all who participated.

How would you like to have dinner — in Seattle — with these epic fantasy authors?

Followed by a tour of the Fantasy exhibit at the EMP museum?

Concluded by a care package of a signed book from each author?

You could enjoy just such an evening if you win THIS Worldbuilders Charity Auction.

If you haven’t heard of Worldbuilders, it’s a charitable organization founded by Pat Rothfuss (and supported by the fantasy community in general) to help fund Heifer International.

Check out the auction page HERE for more details! The bidding ends on February 2, 2014.

Posted in Contests | 1 Comments

Space City Con 2014

Space City Con 2014

You have a decision to make:

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Brent Weeks Author photo medium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, given that I’m scheduled against the Game of Thrones panel, and I know some of you will accidentally wander into that one, I’ve decided to ADD AN EVENT.

Limited to the first ten people who email me (brent at brent weeks dot com), I’m doing a kaffeeklatsch. What’s a kaffeeklatsch? The eleven of us meet at a restaurant or coffee house, and chat for an hour or two. We can talk publishing, or my books, or how hot Jason Momoa is. No, not that last one. Informal, and a chance to hang out a bit. (Time and day to be determined, I’ll let you know via email.)

SpaceCityCon

Space City Con is happening this Friday through Sunday, January 3-6, in Galveston, Texas. Other authors include Cherie Priest and Larry Correia. So if you’re in Houston, Galveston, or somewhere within driving distance, come check it out!

Go HERE to buy your tickets and HERE to see a complete schedule.

My reading and Q&A will be on Saturday, January 4 in the Garden Cay room from 2:30pm to 3:45pm.

Posted in Book Tour | 7 Comments

A Night Angel Christmas Greeting

A Night Angel Christmas Greeting

From the fantastic Andy MacDonald, artist for the upcoming Way of Shadows graphic novel:

Night Angel Christmas

Thanks for a great 2013. May your holidays be bright and full of cheer!

Merry Christmas,

Brent

 

 

Posted in Midcyru | 13 Comments

Hungary: Perfect Shadow Now Available

Hungary: Perfect Shadow Now Available

HungaryPerfectShadow

by CAPSLOCK

If you’re looking for the Hungarian edition of Perfect Shadow, you can order it HERE.

Also, new poll at right!

Posted in Midcyru | 1 Comments