Friday, December 01, 2006

Of milestones and author quotes

I reached two milestones in my career as a debut novelist this week.

The first one: I received the first copy of my book! My wonderful editor sent me her only copy so I could hold it in my hot little hands, breathe in the smell of newly-printed paper and binding glue, and show it off to all and sundry (including the bemused waitress at the bar last night).

The second: I was asked to give my first "author quote."

For those of you who aren't sure what that means (although you likely suspect correctly), an author quote is the endorsement or blurb that one author gives another author for marketing purposes.

I was fortunate enough to get a fabulous quote from J. R. Ward, arguably the hottest author in vampire romance these days, for The Rest Falls Away. Thank you again, JR! In a debut situation, these kinds of things really do help.

One of the reasons they help is because when the publisher's sales people take the book and its cover to their buyers at, for example, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books A Million, Chapters, Levy, etc., a good quote from a "named" author helps to show the buyer that, yes, the book is good--or great--or fabulous.

Partly, because the book is presented to the buyer long before any professional reviews are written for the book, so it gives the buyer something to work with. It helps to show support for this unknown author, and, despite what people may or may not think, author quotes do help sell books.

While there are a number of people who say they don't pay attention to author endorsements on the fronts (or insides) of books, good quotes do indeed work. They work at the corporate buying level, and they also work at the customer level.

I know I will pick up a book with a good author quote on it--especially if it's from an author I love, and especially if I haven't seen their name plastered all over a million other covers (except their own). It won't necessarily cause me to buy the book, but it will get me to pick it up. And that's the first step in getting me to buy.

Now, there are authors who will give quotes without reading the book. (gasp!) It's true. In fact, Jennifer Crusie admits to doing this....once. And then learned her lesson when, later, she picked up the book she'd given a quote for and realized she didn't like it. At all. Yikes.

There are some authors who give quotes very rarely (Nora Roberts, for one--but can you imagine how many requests she gets?), and won't even give them to friends unless they really do like the book. Nora has said in a public forum that she has had to decline giving a quote for a friend because the book just wasn't for her.

So, how does someone like me, an unknown author, get a great quote like the one I got from J. R. Ward?

Well, it can happen in several ways. First, if I happened to know Ms. Ward, I could have asked her to do so. (I didn't.)

Secondly, and this is what happened in my case, since Ms. Ward is published by the same house that I am, my editor asked her editor to ask her to read the book.

Ms. Ward could have declined--and that is perfectly acceptable. (Trying to find time to read is just as hard for novelists as it is for everyone else; although at least we can tell the IRS it was for research.)

Or, thirdly, my agent might possibly have had a client who would have been a good "quotee" whom she could have asked to read the book.

But, as I said, it happened through my publisher, for which I am eternally grateful.

(And by the way, I know for sure that Ms. Ward did read the book and liked it, because when I met her in July, she raved to me personally [and previously, to my editor] about it with enough detail that it was obvious she'd enjoyed it. Can I just say...WOOT!)

Another thing that can happen (hope springs eternal!) is that once the book comes out and is available for purchase, if a "named" author happens to read it, and likes it, they may very well contact the author and offer to give a quote.

So, for those of you who were wondering about those quotes on the front of books--now you have the whole scoop.

And of course I'm curious: what effect, if any, do author quotes have on you?

P.S. I forgot to mention that I was asked by my friend Janet Mullany, a very witty, smart writer, to give her a quote for her new erotic romance novel. I will gladly do so, because I've been reading her book and enjoying every sexy, naughty bit of it!


Anonymous Annie soliloquized...

As a reader, I will say that author quotes DO catch my attention and can be a factor as to whether or not I'll purchase a book. I don't pay attention to cover art at all, but I do pay attention to author quotes. I don't think twice about buying a book if an author I've read and enjoyed has offered a quote for the book cover.

I'm so very very very excited that you have a copy of your book in your hands! And also very happy that you got an author quote that you're very tickled over!

So when can I buy this book and read it? :D

Friday, December 01, 2006 9:50:00 AM  
Blogger Caryle soliloquized...

Look how beautiful your book is in real life! How exciting!

I suppose author quotes have a bit of an effect on me while I'm at the bookstore particularly if, like you said, they come from authors that rarely offer quotes. If I see a favorite author providing a quote, I'll note that, as well.

So some, but not much.

Looking forward to January!

Friday, December 01, 2006 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Jaci Burton soliloquized...

Oh Oh Oh you got your book! I'm SO excited for you! Did you cry? I would. I can't wait to touchie feelie the actual SDI when I get it. *wiggle*

I always look at author quotes on books. They may not be the final decision maker for me, but they do catch my eye when browsing for books.

Friday, December 01, 2006 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Janet soliloquized...

After our discussion, I'm so looking forward to reading your book! And...I picked up a collection of vampire stories for my trip to FL this weekend cause it had one by Charlaine Harris. had stories by other authors, too. I started reading one of them, Laurell Hamilton, last night and even tho she writes about a vampire hunter, it was still ... GOOD! So I'm sorry for not being open minded ([insert diety here], I NEVER thought I'd say those words) and can't wait to read yours :-)

Oh, and I LOVE that second picture of you, you look RADIANT!

Friday, December 01, 2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

Thanks for sharing my excitement!

Annie, the book will start showing up in bookstores nationally after January 2! So go check out Borders, Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, B Dalton, Books A Million, etc., etc. after then.

Janet, I'm *so* glad you've come over to the dark--er, light?--side! Weren't you a Buffy fan? I love Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books, even though Bill's a vampire. And so is Eric (who I think is really much hotter).

Jaci! You should be getting yours any day now too!

Thanks, Caryle! It is really pretty in real life. And the detail on it just can't be appreciated unless you're looking at it in real life. There's this really subtle texture all around in the black areas on the front and back. It's gorgeous!

Friday, December 01, 2006 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger angela soliloquized...

How exciting! Congrats!

I have to confess that I don't really pay attention to the quotes. Though I do like reading full reviews, and those sometimes help me on making a decision on whether or not to get a book.
But more often than not, it's a combination of the cover and the back cover blurb that determines if I buy a book in the store.

Working on some sketches of Victoria this weekend!

Friday, December 01, 2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

Angela! Ooooh!!!! *squee*

Friday, December 01, 2006 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous soliloquized...

I am so very excited for you! I can only imagine how amazing it must feel to hold a copy of your own book in your hands...even more wonderful considering that you have such fantastic cover art! And congrats on the quotes. I notice author quotes, most especially Neil Gaiman. There are a number of authors (James P. Blaylock, Jonathan Carrol, Hope Mirlees, Gene Wolfe) that I have picked up and loved simply because Neil Gaiman had a quote on the cover of the book. Patricia A. McKillip is another author whose book quotes I trust. I look forward to doing my part to help you sell as many copies as is possible. I am thinking about your email and will get back to you soon.

Friday, December 01, 2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Heather Harper soliloquized...

I never stopped to think of how a quote would make a difference at the corporate buying level.

Thanks for the informative post.

And you look lovely with your book. ;)

Friday, December 01, 2006 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Meljean Brook soliloquized...

Woot! Congratulations! *happy dance*

I do notice author quotes, but usually on unfamiliar authors' work -- I don't really pay attention to what they say, though (because I assume they won't put a bad quote on) but to determine who the author is most like.

Friday, December 01, 2006 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous soliloquized...

Big Congrats! Can't wait till I can have the book in my hot grubby little hands too!

Friday, December 01, 2006 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Gypsy soliloquized...

Oh, how proud you must be! That's so exciting. :)

Re: quotes, if there's one from an author I particularly like it will have an influence on me.

Friday, December 01, 2006 1:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Dance Chica soliloquized...

How wonderful for you, Colleen! *big hugs*

As for quotes, I admit, they may make me pick up a book and flip it to the blurb to take a look. They may also help me take a chance on a new author if I read the blurb and I'm interested--the quote may help sway me to go ahead and buy.

They can also hurt because if I see a quote by an author I'm not very fond of, then I may automatically assume I won't like the book.

Ultimately though, it's the blurb and reviews that will catch me. Not so much the quotes. In the case of your book, it was the blurb that interested me. I didn't even know about the J. R. quote at first, until I came to your website looking for more info. ;-)

Friday, December 01, 2006 1:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous soliloquized...

You must be on cloud nine! I can't even imagine the thrill - what a feeling! Congratulations on book one. I can't wait to read it.

Hey, I received your email and tried to reply, but I kept getting an error message. You can click on my email under my profile and email me your question.

Friday, December 01, 2006 2:05:00 PM  
Blogger Lara Adrian soliloquized...

OOH, FUN!! Colleen, I love the pics of you fondling--er, holding--your book! Happy, happy, joy. Just think, in a few weeks, the rest of us will get to experience *some* of that same joy when we rush the stores to buy THE REST FALLS AWAY! :)

As for the question, I have to admit that author quotes, while I understand the significance of them*, don't really influence me when I'm browsing for new reads. If I don't know the author, cover art is what I respond to first, magpie that I am, then I look at back cover copy. Your book scores on all fronts!

* being that I am also an ecstatic recipient of a JR Ward quote :)

Friday, December 01, 2006 3:10:00 PM  
Blogger Jackie soliloquized...

Congratulations -- on the book, on the blurb request...AND ON YOUR FABULOUS REVIEW IN PUBLISHERS WEEKLY!!!!!!!

OMG, I was having trouble waiting for your book before. Now, after that review? HURRY UP, JANUARY!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006 3:36:00 PM  
Blogger Jill Monroe soliloquized...

You look fantastic with that book in your hands!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006 3:40:00 PM  
Blogger Katkat soliloquized...

Congrats! to get to hold your book for the fist time and realize that it is indeed real must be an amazing feeling! I too read the quotes, heck I even read what other new books are coming out.

Friday, December 01, 2006 4:26:00 PM  
Anonymous caj soliloquized...

Hey Colleen, what can I say....youre a genius....your biggest fan since college. By the way you look gorgeous in your photos

Friday, December 01, 2006 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger Sparky Duck soliloquized...

First, I wanna be an author!

2nd, I want every book published by you in my hot little hands now too!

Saturday, December 02, 2006 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger Mailyn soliloquized...

I don't care about author quotes. Hell I don't ever care about reviews or what people think most of the time. I just care about what I like. What can I say? I'm a bitch that way. LOL. Seriously, I care what the book is about and if it's something I'd be interested in. It could be the best book ever written but if the subject matter doesn't interest me then I won't read it. So author quotes? Meh. Oh and even when I don't like the author *cough*Ward*cough* I'll still read the book if I like what it's about.

So I'm still reading yours. LOL.

Saturday, December 02, 2006 3:08:00 PM  
Blogger Trish Milburn soliloquized...

It is SO cool to see you with your book in your hands. Makes it really reah, huh?

Saturday, December 02, 2006 9:32:00 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

Trish...yes, it really does.

Mailyn, somehow that doesn't surprise me. :-) Glad the quote didn't put you off mine!

Sparky...well, a month from now you can at least hold ONE of them!

Saturday, December 02, 2006 11:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous soliloquized...

The book looks great, Colleen! Very exciting!

I have to admit that I pay a lot of attention to author blurbs. I should clarify--blurbs by my favorite authors. Also, the meatiness of the quote matters. If they just say, 'A winner!', then that's totally different (and less effective to me) than using great descriptive words. But you've gotten some great reviews! And what an honor to be asked for a review!

Monday, December 04, 2006 12:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous soliloquized...

This was amazingly inspiring! And those pictures of you are absolutely gorgeous, too. You look like you won the lottery. And I noticed your JR Ward quote RIGHT away, first on your home page and then on your blog. So they DO grab attention, for sure!

Monday, December 04, 2006 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous soliloquized...

I am one of those that doesn't pay attention to the autor quotes, usually. However, if there's an author that I love and she's done a quote on a book, I'll usually pick it up.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 11:11:00 AM  

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