Sunday, January 22, 2006

On Book Blurbs

We all want them. These little book blurbs that say such nice things about us and our books. We all want them.


But would you want a book blurb from, say, Osama Bin Laden???
I'd bet on... NO!
It might increase your sales rank though...
Still no?
And what if you didn't ask for it?
Well, here's what happened to William Blum (from Writer's Blog - Osama bin Laden Does a Book Blurb):

... in his recent videotape, terrorist Osama bin Laden endorsed William Blum's Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower. Before the plug, the book ranked 209,000 on, but after the mention, the book sales soared to #30 as of today.

The book actually reached #18 but slumped to #23.

Original article can be found at Reuters: US author's sales jump after Osama mentions book

Writer's Blog concludes:

What is this -- the beginning of Osama bin Laden's book club? [...] What's next -- a chick lit pick from Al-Zawahri?

Categories: ,


Jennifer said...

Interesting moral question really. Do you refuse the blurb on the principal of who's giving it or do say 'I don't care' if it means sells.

I mean the ultimate goal of a writer is to get their book to SELL.

So what would you do? (rhetorical question)


rdl said...

very weird indeed.

Pat Kirby said...

Given that many publishing contracts may not allow you to decide what goes on the cover or what the publisher uses for promotion, the decision might be out of your hands anyway.

I doubt old Osama would be blurbing anything I wrote. Hmmm:

I lehft, I cried. The most oreegeenal vampire novel I heft evah read. ~Osama Bin Ladin


melly said...

Jennifer, I thought you would like the moral ramifications of this dilemma...
Just-a-kiddin' :)

Yup, rdl, weird!

LOL Pat. Loved the blurb.
It should totally go on the jacket.

Patry Francis said...

They say any publicity helps sales--good or bad, but I think this goes a bit far!

Anonymous said...

I've heard that Osama reads a lot of Chick-Lit too but he doesn't endorse it because of his reputation.

Melly said...

You think it goes too far, Patry?
I'm joking of course.
I think you might just be right :)

LOL Fred. I heard he was shopping for a pink parka instead of that awful army issue one he always wears...

ME Strauss said...

Hey Melly,
I like the stuff you read and the way you bring it to the table. I'm glad you wouldn't want his blurb, but I'd bet he'd read your book--okay, well maybe not . . . you are woman who's from the West and not totally subservient.

Carter said...

How do you refuse a blurb like that? He said it, it's out there, it sold books. What do you do?

That certainly is a moral dilemma of the finest kind.

melly said...

Thanks Liz.
I doubt he reads any females books, but that's just fine with me :)

Carter, I thought you'd like that one ;)

Benjamin Solah said...

The book actually looks good. Though, I wonder what argument the writer makes, I'm doubting it would be terrorist politics, and unfortunetly, not marxist either.

Melly said...

Oh, Benjamin, I was waiting for you to see this...
Yesterday I went to vote and was suprised to find that my riding has a Marxist-Leninist candidate.
I immediately thought of you and was going to vote for him just for fun (my vote was wasted anyways because the leader of a party I don't support lives in my riding).
Anyways, if you're interested, here's the "Web Site of the
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
Registered with Elections Canada under the name
Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada"

Eric Mutta said...

LOL, this reminds me of that incident in the UK where a convict (I think he was a sex offender of some sort) won the lottery.

I never take sides on things like this - I prefer to sit down and laugh off the slap-in-the-face that it tends to be towards societal conceptions of "right" and "wrong".

Having said that, if Osama ever liked any of my work (all the non-existent volumes of it), I'd rather he didn't tell anyone because the knee-jerk reaction would be to label me a terrorist when the only act of terrorism I perform on a daily basis is entering the kitchen :-)

Melly said...

And here I thought you kept to bank robberies, now you tell me you enter the kitchen too???

How can a convict win the lottery? THey're allowed to buy tickets while in the slammer?

Deborah said...

I followed the link until I came to the book. It looks like an interesting read. I've been fed so many lies via the media that I never know what to believe.

As for convicts buying lottery tickets, they have their friends on the outside buy them. Of course their winnings should go directly toward their victims, but that's for another post.

Melly said...

Ahh Deborah I hear you. I totally understand what you're saying about being fed lies. The Canadian gov't was just toppled because they fed us (Canadians) a bunch of lies.
I wonder if there's anywhere in the world where it's better, but I doubt that in our global society there is.

Benjamin Solah said...

I had a look at the site, the party is a Stalinist party. Any group that calls themselves Marxist-Leninist is Stalist, whereis, my groups calls ourself a Marxist-Trotskyist group to differientiate from them. I don't vote for marxist parties in elections, usually the greens.

Melly said...

Benjamin, I wouldn't even pretend to know the differences.

I was consdiering the Green Party as well but since this election was extremely important as the Conservatives were ahead, I had to give my vote to try and stop a Conservative gov't. Didn't help. Canada now has a minority Conservative gov't and PM.
A Canadian smart Bush. You can imagine the rest.

Deborah said...

"I wonder if there's anywhere in the world where it's better, but I doubt that in our global society there is."

Not that I've heard about. All governments are corrupt, some worse than others. I know one thing, I'm glad I don't live in the Middle East the communist countries.

David Amulet said...

Publicity is publicity. I can't say that I will buy the book because Bin Laden "endorsed" it--in fact, I'll probably be even less inclined to check it out. But for books (especially in these days of dwindling sales), any attention is good attention.

('Twould be a different matter if the book was a bomb-making manual or an exhortation to violent jihad with handy how-to pictorials ... but my understanding is that this is just a diatribe against how America uses its power.)

-- david

Melly said...

Maybe a European country, Deborah? You know like Finland or something. Not that I know anything about their politics. :)

Hey David. I haven't read the book and have no idea, I can only surmise from its title what it's about. But you're right, publicity is publicity is publicity. It's not like Blum asked for this.

Deborah said...

Yeah, I never hear anything about Finland, Switzerland, or any of the other "quiet" countries.

Having read the synopsis and the reader reviews, those who ardently support America will not like this book.

Melly said...

The only thing I know about Switzerland is that women couldn't vote there until 1971, and only in 1985(!) equal rights for men and women was put in their civil code with still 45% or something like that opposing. And only in 2004 they introduced paid maternity leave.
With all their banks hiding stuff from WWII Jews and others and with all their accurate watches and all their neutrality - Can you spell backwards?!

Sorry :) You probably didn't imagine the reaction you would get for mentioning Switzerland ;)
Gosh, I'm laughing at myself now. Laughing hard. I'm a total cuckoo.

Deborah said...

Somebody needs to oil their clocksprings, lol.

Melly said...

ROFLMAO :-) :-)
Thank God you're not taking me seriously :)