by: Joelle Charbonneau
No, I’m not going to give you wise words by Confucius or a thought from Eleanor Roosevelt. Both are fabulous people you see quoted every day on the bottom of people’s e-mails, and gracing Twitter and Facebook. Personally, I am fan all of uplifting quotes, but those aren’t the kinds of quotes I’m thinking about right now. This week I embarked upon my least favorite authorial task-soliciting cover quotes from other authors.
As a stage performer, I had no problem getting up on stage in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people. I sang. I danced. I cried. I laughed. Did I get nervous before a show? Sometimes. (Singing the National Anthem standing 10 feet away from President Bill Clinton scared me silly!) But the nerves never lasted for very long and the show always went on—mostly without a hitch.
No matter how nervous I might have gotten before a performance, never was I as terrified or intimidated as I am sending out e-mails to my favorite authors asking them to read my work. I agonize over every word when I send out my request worried that I have gushed too much or haven’t been glowing enough about their work. More often than not I assumed the writer I am querying won’t have the time to read my stuff. I mean, we all have deadlines. Big name writers have BIG deadlines. They don’t have lots of time to spend on reading other people’s manuscripts.
But some authors do say yes. That’s when the real panic sets in. Sure, my agent likes the book. Yes, my editor bought the book and told me she loves it. But that doesn’t mean this author that I greatly admire will enjoy reading my writing.
So, I chew my fingernails, which is better than chowing down on the bag of Cheetos sitting on my counter, and try to pretend I don’t want to check my e-mail every five minutes to see if one of the authors reading my book sent their verdict. (Ok – I confess that I often do eat the Cheetos and cave to the e-mail temptation. I can’t help it! I’m only human.)
Thus far, I’m lucky that some truly awesome authors, including our own fabulous Susan McBride, have blurbed my two mystery series. I am always humbled and amazed when an author I look up to tells me my stories are enjoyable. I’m also amazed that I haven’t gained twenty pounds or turned gray by the time the blurb process is over! So, dear Stiletto friends, please keep your fingers crossed for me as I once again embark on this cover quote quest—this time for my first young adult novel, THE TESTING. And if you see me edging for the Cheetos bag, you have my permission to take it away.