May 29, 2013
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Behind the Scenes



(this is the cover blurb for our upcoming graphic novel TEMPLAR, by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham, and Alex Puvilland)

Have you ever gone into a bookstore or comic book store and picked up a graphic novel and found that there was a quote from someone you recognized on the cover?

Maybe it said, ‘Even if at this moment you have ten choices about what to do next with your life, you should read this book.” — Your Favorite Author.

That is a cover blurb!

Cover blurbs are extremely useful because they provide another reason for readers to pick up a book.  If a reader is like, ‘This cover is interestingly designed . . . I’ve heard of this author and maybe read a book of theirs that I liked . . . the internet told me good things about this book . . . one of my friends recommended it to me as well” and is somehow still not convinced to buy the book, perhaps that final piece of data that is, “someone else besides my friend likes this book too!” will be enough to tip that reader over the edge into deciding to pick up and read/buy the book.

Because what cover blurbs do is provide another voice.  Obviously, everything you see on the cover of the book has filtered through the author and a publisher — they’re not going to make choices like, ‘Boys in middle-school hate pastel pink books; I think we should make this middle-school book about football with two boy main characters pastel pink!’  Authors and publishers are doing all they can with the title, art, copy, effects, etc. to convince readers to pick up the book.  But that’s all from the publisher and author, who (consumers are able to realize) have a financial incentive in convincing readers that they should pick up a book.

A blurb (even though it is put on a cover assembled by the publisher; publishers probably aren’t going to put terrible blurbs on their cover) is from an outside source.  Even though that source can be influenced by the publisher or the author, that blurb-providing person is still independent — they’re probably not going to give a book a blurb that says, ‘Best thing ever!’ if they actually think it’s the worst.

So for a reader, blurbs are corroboration that they’re making the right reading choice.

2 Comments on “ Why Do Cover Blurbs Matter? ”

  • L Childs | May 29th, 2013 4:07 pm

    Sometimes, a cover blurb can help. I bought ANYA’S GHOST at the San Diego Comic Con in 2011 in part because it had a Scott McCloud cover blurb. (The book was also sited at the edge of the table near the corner and was the first thing that I saw on the table. THAT was genius.) However, if the book has a lot of cover blurbs and there is no statement of the premise, I put the book down and look for another book. Knowing the premise is much more helpful than cover blurbs in deciding what book to buy.

    I also attach much more value to the comments that I see on Amazon for a book than I do to cover blurbs. There are a lot of books that I have bought through Amazon because the consensus in the Amazon comments sounded like something that I would enjoy reading.

    If I should have the good fortune to have First Second pick up a graphic novel that I have written, of course it would be nice to have some cover blurbs. Every little bit helps. But, cover blurbs have not been a reliable indicator of a great reads in the past.

  • Robert Loy | May 30th, 2013 9:10 am

    I use cover blurbs to tell me what not to read. If Joyce Carol Oates or Thomas Pynchon like a book I put it right back on the shelf.

Your Comments are Welcome!