Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The search for the blurb

One of the things writers seek are BLURBS.

A blurb is a one-paragraph comment about your book, usually from another writer. My editor sent copies of my book to a number of well-known authors, several of whom are prominent in the autism community.

The responses have started trickling back in.

Haven Kimmel - author of the Girl Named Zippy books - loved Look Me in the Eye. She sent a wonderful blurb. You can see it - and even read it, if you want - with the description of my book on Amazon.

Some of Haven’s best-known books are about growing up in a small town in Indiana. There’s quite a contrast between her stories and mine. But we have one thing in common. We both love farm machinery. And we can both operate tractors.

Pat Wood – author of Lottery, a book that’s going to be big this summer – also loved my book, and she too sent a blurb. Pat and I actually exchanged blurbs in an authorial exchange ceremony, much as tribal chiefs exchanged pigs and cattle in years past.

Prior to her asking, it had not occurred that people might want blurbs from me, but I guess that’s what happens when you write a book.

Yesterday, Temple Grandin – author of Thinking in Pictures and Animals in Translation – sent me a blurb for my book. She liked the book a lot, and we actually talked about our lives, our books, autism, and our non-writing careers for several hours last night.

All three of those writers have written remarkable books themselves. Each saw something different in my story. The experience has given me a glimpse of the incredibly wide range of things people can extract from a single simple story.

It’s sort of like looking at the list of all the products that chemists can get from coal, I suppose. Just more environmentally friendly. And if a kid eats my book, it’s surely less harmful to him than eating a similar quantity of coal would be.

As a child, I never ate coal. But I did eat lead paint, and I also sniffed bus exhaust. Despite my mother’s warnings, I liked both, and I suppose that’s one of the reasons I’m like I am today.

Speaking of “like I am” . . . . I have become more sensitized to the way I am by the process of writing my book, and people’s reactions to it. One of the things I recently learned is that I speak a little differently than “normal” people. I pause in unexpected places, and I emphasize strange words. Last night, listening to Temple, I realized . . . she speaks just like me! The differences people pointed out in my speech were all apparent to me, in hers. Do we Aspergians have a characteristic pattern of speech? Perhaps we do . . .

That’s an example of what the recent books by autistic and Aspergian people are helping us to discover . . .

Other people – most of whom are unknown to me – are reading and reviewing my book right now. In the past two days, I’ve gotten calls from several book store owners who loved Look Me in the Eye. They called to tell me they are sending reviews of my book to BookSense, a trade group for independent booksellers.

It’s all a remarkable experience.

7 comments:

irene said...

Wow! When do you sleep? It's so fun reading about all of your experiences and new connections. Sounds like quite an adventure. Thanks for sharing.

Wendy Roberts said...

I find the review process to be nail biting. May all your reviews be awesome!

Kanani said...

Recently, I made up a fake book cover for a friend's book. It's about governor who has to decide upon an issue of clemency.

Anyway, I came up with the worst possible blurbs:

"Pulsating with intellectual stuff."
"Perfect in-flight reading material."
"The softer side of clemency."

In fact, I am thinking of starting a cottage industry of creating truly awful blurbs. They'll cost MUCH more than complimentary ones!

John Elder Robison said...

Kanani, when my son was little, we had a device to manufacture nasty things like blurbs. It's called a Repugnatron. I'm glad you reminded me.

Tena said...

Wow. Temple Grandin.

You are really on your way!

Congrats!

Michelle O'Neil said...

Happy, happy, happy for you!

I especially love how your Asperger's, which is so often a tremendously isolating experience, is now rewarding you with so much
support and validation.

Love it!

You make me happy and hopeful for my daughter.

You are a terrific writer. I can't wait to read your book.

Maprilynne said...

How exciting! Congratulations!