Hi Miss Snark:
I'm a multi-published author who has been asked repeatedly to read and offer an endorsement of unsold, unpublished manuscripts. I've been told by several writers that their agents have asked them to secure author quotes to entice editors.
I feel very uncomfortable reading uncontracted work, but aside from that I don't understand this seemingly new strategy.
What do you think of obtaining author quotes prior to sale? Is this a new trend? Does it really help?
Thanks in advance,
A curious NYT bestselling author
Well, if it's a new trend it's escaped my notice. I've never had an editor ask for a pre-submission blurb and I've never solicited one. Sometimes I have them but I use them only as "we've got good pr blurbs already from Moe, Shoe and Park".
I am a rabid dog about my clients reading unpublished, uncontracted work. I strongly STRONGLY discourage them from reading anything unless it comes from an agent or has been sold. I tell them to say "my agent strongly objects to me doing this--and I'm afraid of her so I don't do it."
It only takes one or two nutcases to decide you've stolen their idea, character, life, or improperly used their trademarked word "and" to start litigation. You can't avoid all the nutcases but you can reduce your exposure by NOT taking work that isn't represented or sold.