Promoting your book is a rough go. I think Barnes and Noble gives brand new books about three days before they go onto the remainder table and with big red stickers (NOW ONLY 1.00!). And that’s for best-sellers. Amazon tells new authors to rely on peer reviews, but who has time to sort through sixty bazillion of those fuckers? You know what doesn’t stand out in a field of gold-painted rocks? Gold.
Thank God for this. For those too busy to click on the link, I’ll quote the beginning:
Having a book blurb—aka a book jacket or an endorsement—from a famous (or even semi-famous) author is a marketing strategy that can have a positive impact on your book sales. But, whether you’re a new writer or a veteran, asking someone for a cover quote may seem intimidating. Don’t worry! Keep in mind that writers who are now famous were not always famous, and at some point they, too, had to ask someone for a promotional quote. Yes, even the biggest big-time authors know what it’s like to be just starting out.
It goes on to recommend strategies to get famous authors to endorse your work, but if you (like myself) are published by a small-to-nonexistent press, good fucking luck. You have as much chance of getting a blurb from David Sedaris as you do from William Faulker (RIP). Working authors just don’t give a shit. And you think you’re busy? Try doing a mandatory book signing at the Fort Collins Waldenbooks for six loyal old ladies in mid-February during a blizzard. Not that that will ever happen since there are no more Waldenbooks, but you get the point.
But despair not. I will provide the service to you now, free. Just cut and paste any one of the following entries onto your book jacket and you’re off to the races!
I’ll even include a free picture I ripped off from some website somewhere!
“This rock-hard shaft of a story penetrated and left me breathless, misted with frothy pink no-no juice. I had no choice but to submit to its steely insistence, and submit utterly, quivering from head to toe like a Christmas pudding.” -E.D. James
“I have nothing in my heart but jealous hatred for anyone who writes this well. I hope he burns to death in a lonely cornfield.” -Stephen King
“This story serves its reader as a looking glass through which to view life itself at twice its normal size.” -Virginia Woolf
“Anyone who reads this book will suffer a broken heart. I’m reading another book some day they will say. But never will. The other books will be too small to fit anymore.” -Annie Proulx
“The first draft of anything is shit. This must be the second draft.”-Ernest Hemingway
“Always remember that when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind. When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her. Including this marvelous book.” -Alice Munro
“This is a good book, but the so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling. he really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote. It’s not that students don’t “get” Kafka’s humor but that we’ve taught them to see humor as something you get — the same way we’ve taught them that a self is something you just have. No wonder they cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke — that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home. It’s hard to put into words up at the blackboard, believe me. You can tell them that maybe it’s good they don’t “get” Kafka. You can ask them to imagine his art as a kind of door. To envision us readers coming up and pounding on this door, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it, we don’t know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and pushing and kicking, etc. That, finally, the door opens…and it opens outward: we’ve been inside what we wanted all along. Das ist komisch. But when you talk about Nabokov and Coover, you’re talking about real geniuses, the writers who weathered real shock and invented this stuff in contemporary fiction. But after the pioneers always come the crank turners, the little gray people who take the machines others have built and just turn the crank, and little pellets of metafiction come out the other end. The crank-turners capitalize for a while on sheer fashion, and they get their plaudits and grants and buy their IRAs and retire to the Hamptons well out of range of the eventual blast radius. There are some interesting parallels between postmodern crank-turners and what’s happened since post-structural theory took off here in the U.S., why there’s such a big backlash against post-structuralism going on now. It’s the crank-turners fault. I think the crank-turners replaced the critic as the real angel of death as far as literary movements are concerned, now. You get some bona fide artists who come along and really divide by zero and weather some serious shit-storms of shock and ridicule in order to promulgate some really important ideas. Once they triumph, though, and their ideas become legitimate and accepted, the crank-turners and wannabes come running to the machine, and out pour the gray pellets and now the whole thing’s become a hollow form, just another institution of fashion. Take a look at some of the critical-theory Ph.D. dissertations being written now. They’re like de Man and Foucault in the mouth of a dull child. Academia and commercial culture have somehow become these gigantic mechanisms of commodification that drain the weight and color out of even the most radical new advances. It’s a surreal inversion of the death-by-neglect that used to kill off prescient art. Now prescient art suffers death-by acceptance. We love things to death, now. Then we retire to the Hamptons.”
-David Foster Wallace