Writing Wednesday: A Blurb Job

14 Dec

When Joan Williams asks William Faulkner to blurb her book, it takes an ugly turn.  In telling the story of their affair (a story also told by Lisa C. Hickman in William Faulkner and Joan Williams: The Romance of Two Writers), Glen David Gold makes a compelling argument for not sleeping with writers in “On Not Rolling the Log,” in The Los Angeles Review of Books.

Gold goes on to say:

How confusing it is to entangle acclaim and love. How much of a balancing act to determine your real value to another person. When you cultivate a literary friendship, it’s good to remember — and hard to prove — that it’s the work which is a commodity, not you.

An editor was telling me recently that Ken Kesey asked Jack Kerouac to blurb one of his books and he refused.  He was very protective of his name, his brand.

Some writers whore out their name.  Others keep it under lock and key.  The book business is a small and incestuous one, and a blurb from the right author can propel sales.  But at what cost?


4 Responses to “Writing Wednesday: A Blurb Job”

  1. Linda December 14, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    That’s an interesting take on an age old question. To paraphrase a certain actress, who upon receiving an Oscar ….said (Do) “You really really like me!” (?) …. It’s also been said — or at least written somewhere, “love me, love my blank…. (cat, dog, kids,novel and warts!) …… If you can’t catch a break or get a favor from a friend … including Jack K. then how good a friend are they?? I mean he could have said. “I read the book and didn’t hate it.” ..ha ha

    • Stephanie Nikolopoulos December 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

      I guess that’s why some people say it’s better not to mix friends and busines….

  2. paulmaherjr@hotmail.com December 15, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    Kerouac did write a blurb for Nabokov’s Lolita, but I don’t think it was ever used.

    • Stephanie Nikolopoulos December 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

      That’s so interesting! I’ll have to look that up — I’m curious to read that blurb!

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