Earning Quotes from Quirky Comedians
August 22, 2007 3:43 PM   Subscribe

How can I get B-List Celebrities to give me a quote for the back of my book?

Lets say I'm writing a book that I think might appeal to the same audience as "dark comedy" celebrities like Sarah Silverman and Adam Corolla. I'd really like to get them to write some funny "quotes" for the back of the book/website. I'm not expecting anything more than a "This book proves that stupidity is a disease. My brain hurt after finishing the first chapter" or something similar (um but funnier). I just want some silly quotes from semi-famous names to add to (or detract from?) my credibility. Anyone have any creative ideas of how to go about doing something like this? Right now the plan was to just send a nice, small packet of a couple sample chapters/illustrations and a cover letter asking for a simple quote. I'd really like find creative ways to increase my response rate and decrease my "thrown in the trash without opening because it sucks" rate.

Also any suggestions for b-list celebrities who might be willing to write a few words to help a guy out? The big names I've come up with so far include Sarah Silverman, Adam Corolla, Zack Galifianakis, Patton Oswalt, Dan Harmon.

Anonymous because I'll publish with a pen name.
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's my understanding that blurbing is a subject one should only bring up after a few pleasant exchanges (preferably in person) where no one is imposed upon. I know Patton reads the email he gets from his site. Maybe strike up a conversation.

I'm a giant weenie and have decided to make up blurbs from Fatty Arbuckle and Lizzie Borden instead. My foreword's probably going to be written by Santa Claus.
posted by BigFatWhale at 4:04 PM on August 22, 2007

Are you willing to pay for the blurbs?
posted by jayder at 4:08 PM on August 22, 2007

Bah. Just ask them. Write them letters, enclose a copy of the MS or a PDF on a disc, tell them they'd be perfect for it, and tell them how long it has to be. Go crazy.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:14 PM on August 22, 2007

Traditionally, one's publisher arranges for blurbs, though you can send ARCs to your targets on your own, with a business letter request.
posted by headspace at 4:16 PM on August 22, 2007

Yes, this is publisher territory. If your publisher (or one you'd like to write for) calls you next year and asks you to blurb someone else's manuscript, you will, won't you?
posted by gum at 4:29 PM on August 22, 2007

I doubt Sarah Silverman and Adam Corolla consider themselves B-celebrities. I'm sure their publishers and handlers see them as "A-list for cable." I doubt characters as well managed and polished as these guys are just going to pick up your book, love it, and give you a quote. That's something of a hollywood fantasy. In real life these people have employees so they dont have to deal with overzealous fans, hanger-ons, and people looking for favors. Being "B" or "indie" or whatever is a type of marketing nowadays.

Youre going to have a hard time getting successful comedians with huge name recognition to give you free advertising because they're "B" or because their on-stage personas seem approachable and friendly.

Considering your position I'd think you have to pay, know someone, or lower your expectations (regional comedians or other humor authors).
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:29 PM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have a friend who's had two books out through a biggish Australian publisher. As publication approached for each book, his editor asked which writers or celebrities he wanted them to approach, on his behalf, for quotes. He was asked to provide a list of possibilities, in order and beginning with his favourite.

With his first book, he got his first choice (cartoonist Michael Leunig) right off the bat, which was a jaw-dropper. Leunig is revered in Australia, and it was my friend's dream come true, pretty much. When it came to the second book, his first choice for the quote, novellist Nick Earls, never replied to the publisher's letters. Eventually my friend wrote Earls a letter himself - an earnest fan letter of sorts - that mentioned he'd once rented a giant bouncy castle for his 30th birthday party (an act inspired by a character in one of Earls's novels). Earls, no doubt flattered by the compliment, gave him a great quote for the back cover.

There's no reason you can't do this yourself. I think you should just make a list of people you'd love to do the quote, and then just ask them. Send a copy of the book - or a sample - and a letter to their agent. You might be pleasantrly surprised.
posted by hot soup girl at 5:03 PM on August 22, 2007

The publisher of my book does all this stuff. If it's self published, then you have to do it, right? so, look at who was willing to give quotes on other books in the genre, or a related genre. Maybe, if it's comedy, you want to get quotes from non comedians?
posted by kch at 6:00 PM on August 22, 2007

I'm a giant weenie and have decided to make up blurbs from Fatty Arbuckle and Lizzie Borden instead. My foreword's probably going to be written by Santa Claus.

Whoa, Robert Asprin is a MeFite?
posted by nasreddin at 6:29 PM on August 22, 2007

I would think that an offer of a thousand dollars, sent in a proposal to an agent, would make it extremely likely that a given B-list celebrity would blurb your book. I mean, shit, they just type up a couple of bullshit sentences while glancing through your book, and they've earned a cool grand.
posted by jayder at 6:36 PM on August 22, 2007

Some comedians who are a bit more B-list have Myspace pages and/or affiliations with nationally syndicated radio stations. Those are two good places to try to strike up a connection.
posted by misha at 6:37 PM on August 22, 2007

If you can't get any dark comedians to do it, Kathy Griffin openly says she'll do anything for publicity. She'd probably love to get a blurb on the back cover of a book. She has no shame, which is why I love her.
posted by HotPatatta at 10:26 PM on August 22, 2007

Does anyone actually write their own blurbs? When I worked in publishing, you just faxed them the blurb for an okay. All blurbs were written by the same shlubs who wrote the rest of the jacket copy.
posted by rikschell at 8:38 AM on August 23, 2007

Blurbs are really like a kind of nepotism. I would start with networking to get a phone call with star/agent and follow it up with a gift basket and the book. They will probably try to read it all.
posted by parmanparman at 11:02 AM on August 23, 2007

Blurb wrangling, in my experience, is a humbling experience. Whether or not you have a publisher, I think a personal note from the author is always the way to go, along with a formal letter from the editor. You'll have much more success if you go through a friend of the celebrity or a friend of his/her agent/manager. I have never heard of anyone paying/taking money for blurbs, but I've never dealt with anyone but authors (not celebrities).
posted by annabellee at 11:41 AM on August 23, 2007

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