Ever wondered if they are honest?
There's been a few posts on the subject just lately: Justine Larbalestier and John Scalzi (read the comments section) and Meg Rosoff.
The consensus seems to be that "if I don't like it, I won't blurb it." I must admit, though, I have read quite a few books that have loads of praise on the cover but have left me thinking, "Did these guys ever read this??"
Getting my booked "blurbed" by an author never crossed my mind when I started out. I have still never asked someone to do one for me. I never will.
So, how did some of my books get to have another author's comment on it?
Havenstar English cover: None. But it did have a 10/10 rating from Starburst magazine mentioned.
Havenstar German cover: None. It has a quote from Publisher's Weekly about being in the upper league of fantasy
The Aware Australian cover: "Witty, gritty and enthralling" comment from Trudi Canavan. This one has a story behind it. Voyager sent a pre-publication print to a Melbourne sff specialist bookseller. He didn't have time to read it, so passed it to Trudi, author of The Black Magician Trilogy. She loved it and wrote a magical blurb, bless her. At this stage, I had not met her.
Other Isles of Glory covers - even American ones - have repeated this or give quotes gleaned from one of more Australian reviews. Happily, I have been reviewed fairly well in Oz so there was plenty to choose from...
Heart of the Mirage Australian cover: Quotes Trudi on The Isles of Glory trilogy "Hard to put down. It'll keep you up late and make you stay home all day"
Heart of the Mirage UK cover: Quotes Kate Elliot saying : "Exciting, robust adventure. Glenda Larke is a fabulous writer." Another story here. I read some nice things Kate had to say about my previous books on the blog Deep Genre, which just blew me away - because I admire her writing so much. We have the same editor at Orbit UK, and he read what she had to say and asked if she would mind writing the blurb for the new book.
The Shadow of Tyr UK cover: Quotes Karen Miller saying, "Glenda Larke is magical. If you don't read her, you're missing out a treat". (Karen is much more famous than me, so I feel she lost out when I was asked for a blurb for her first book in the UK.)
Song of the Shiver Barrens UK cover: Karen Miller's quote on the front, and Kate Elliott's on the back.
As you can see, I have benefited from some really splendid writers being kind enough to write a blurb - and each of them was asked by the editor, not me. Similarly I wrote a blurb for Karen Miller when an editor asked me. And yes, it was honest. I had already read the book in the Australian edition and was delighted to be asked.
So my question now is this: do you readers take any notice of famous writers writing nice things for a book cover?
[Russian covers? Absolutely no idea what any of them says...]