Blurb Your Enthusiasm: An A-Z of Literary Persuasion

Blurbs are "the outside story of books," and there's more to them than most people think. In her first book, the wittily named Blurb Your Enthusiasm, accomplished copywriter Louise Willder takes readers through the (literal) A-Z of blurbs. With wry humor and a sharp eye, she explores publishing history, literary snobbery, racism, gender politics, marketing trends and other facets of blurbs and blurb-making.

Willder begins, fittingly, with first impressions: the mostly external elements (cover, title, tagline, first line and, of course, the blurb itself) that convince potential readers to pick up a book. She moves on to the history of blurbs and book marketing, invoking such greats as George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway and Jane Austen (whose books have been reissued, and thus re-blurbed, a staggering number of times). She also makes a point to highlight lesser-known titles and authors.

Willder's reading taste is omnivorous, and her book is, too: science fiction, ponderous literary classics, memoirs, racy romances and even self-help guides get some airtime. She shares anecdotes from her long career in publishing; muses on her childhood love of Enid Blyton; discusses the different selling strategies for literary, genre and "women's" fiction; and dives into the differences between British and American book marketing (and their effects on our lizard brains). Willder clearly loves her chosen career, and her affection for blurbs--the brilliant, the bad, the bathetic--shines on every page. Blurb Your Enthusiasm is a sharply hilarious, wildly informative guide that's sure to make readers think twice about judging a book by (the words on) its cover. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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