Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Quote Made You Buy It ... ?

During recent conversations with fellow writers and friends, Amie Stuart and Calista Fox, the topic of quotes surfaced. Most likely because I've been sending out advance reading copies (ARCs) of my December 2007 release, Sin Club, to folks whose work I admire in hopes that they love my work and will give me a quote saying … well, that they love my work.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about quotes. But I'll be the first to admit that, prior to becoming a published author, I never thought about quotes. Not even when I had a book in my hand that I was thinking of buying. My eyes would skip past the quotes, barely registering their existence.

The only time I read quotes was when I was annoyed. Like, when I picked up a book and turned it over to read the back cover copy and – instead of text – the whole back cover was an author photo. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good photo as much as the next gal, but when I look at the back of the book that I’m thinking of buying, I want to see words, not look at pictures.

So, after heaving a huge sigh, I'd open the book, looking for that little excerpt to entice me to buy it, only to find page after page of quotes. These I'd skim, looking for the ones that actually gave me a hint about what the book was about, barely noticing who gave the quote.

Alright. Off my soapbox. That was then ...

Now, after I turn in my completed manuscript to my editor, I become obsessed with quotes for a month or so – sometimes I even experience quote-envy as I read the quotes given to other authors.

But despite my obsessive-compulsive quote seeking behavior and my occasional quote-envy, I still don't buy a book based on its quotes. Am I alone here? Do quotes influence your decision to buy a book? If so, I'll let you know when Dean Koontz says, "If you only read one book this year, read a Rachelle Chase romance!"


At 7:13 AM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

I'm probably no help. My understanding is that good quotes (IE NYT Bestsellers) go in the catalog too and can help influence buyers (for the stores). I don't know if they help or not. I asked a published friend of mine and she said yes get quotes, they're important. The feedback i see on the 'net says no they're not but the 'net is such a small slice of book shoppers who knows.

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Michelle said...

I once read a great article by Agent 007 about this (I think you can go back through her archives and find it). She seemed to think it was important, but I'm with you. It's the story I'm interested in finding out about. If one of my favourite authors gave a great quote, it probably would make me more inclined to buy, but it isn't make or break.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Rachelle Chase said...

Amie - oh, I wouldn't consider not getting quotes, as I realize those in the book business consider them important. I'm just wondering what readers think of them. Do quotes influence your decision to buy a book?

Michelle - I will go look for that article. Thank you. Let me ask you another question: If your favorite author gave a great quote and you bought the book and hated it, would that cause you to think twice about buying your favorite author's next book?

At 12:32 AM, Anonymous Michelle said...

No, it wouldn't stop me buying their books. Books are so subjective, it wouldn't give me a moment's pause if they had liked something I didn't. It happens all the time. I'm in two bookclubs, and it amazes me how differently we all see the same book.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Edie said...

Rachelle, I've been burned in the past, buying a book with a quote from a favorite author and not liking it. It didn't make me stop buying my favorite author's books, but it did stop me from paying attention to quotes.

If there's a whole line-up of quotes, though, I would probably take notice. :) Good luck on getting your quotes!

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Calista Fox said...

I'm too lazy to ask for a quote, but I think it's a nice plug when you get one from a reputable source and I'm thrilled when my publishers do the work for me. :-)

As a READER--not a published author--I'm going to say that quotes are like movie reviews -- they're subjective. The whole world won't agree with the quote on the cover of your book, but it might inspire relunctant readers to give the book a shot. Especially if they're not familiar with your work. This is a GREAT thing!!!

The flip side is, some quotes come too easily, based on the popularity/fame of the author, which concerns me. I told you years ago at the RWA conference in NYC about a book I'd just read that had like 6 pages of quotes from the MOST respected and credible sources... NY Times, Forbes, bestselling authors, etc. And the book SUCKED. I was terribly disappointed because the quotes were so good and yet the book fell miserably short of all that the quoters promised me. I won't even consider picking up a book by this author ever again. (Well, aside from the misleading quotes, I seriously wanted to slit my wrists half-way through it. It was that bad.)

So... Quotes: double-edged sword?

At 7:15 PM, Blogger Rachelle Chase said...

I agree, Michelle. It's the same thing with movie reviews.

And I agree with both of you, Edie and Michelle, on an author's quote not stopping me from buying their book if I disagreed. Thanks for the wishes, Edie.

I think you raise a very good point regarding the flip side. So true that rave reviews for a book that you hate can totally turn you off on that author. The reader - at least THIS reader - would feel cheated.

Which leads me to another point about quotes. Once again wearing my READER hat, the mega-bestselling authors always have pages and pages of glowing quotes, which kind of makes them meaningless to me. If I do read through them, I only pay attention to the ones that reveal something about the story or the plot, not the ones that just string a bunch of adjectives together.

But, of course, as a WRITER, I love any and all kinds of glowing quotes! LOL

Thanks for the thought-provoking comments, everyone.

At 1:51 AM, Anonymous Michelle said...

Rachelle, you may have done it already, but I couldn't help myself, I went and found that Agent 007 article:

At 5:56 AM, Blogger Rachelle Chase said...

No, I was saving it for my next procrastination moment, Michelle. :-)Thanks for sharing the link with everyone. That was a very informative article - I never even thought of getting quotes on a manuscript I was shopping. Excellent idea!

Also, I smiled at the part about crafting the "perfect, passionate cover letter." Some letters have taken me an hour to compose and I'm crushed when I receive the sorry-I'm-busy rejection - which, of course, I interpret as, I-hate-your-work-but-am-being-nice rejection.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger Amanda Brice said...

I don't know whether I've ever been influenced by a quote, because, to be honest, a quote is always going to be flattering. True, not everyone will give a quote because they can't always be flattering, but in the end, the quotes that get on will always be the flattering ones, so really, does it matter much?

And now that I know more about the biz, I'm seeing more and more that the quotes on various book jackets come from that author's little clique, so in reality, is it really that persuasive of a quote? I mean, you're not going to say your best friend's book sucks, you know?

I'd rather read the blurb, personally.

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Rachelle Chase said...

I totally agree with you regarding only flattering quotes making the book, Amanda. Where I disagree a bit is with the statement that all quotes are meaningless because they come from the author's clique.

While I do believe that some authors do give quotes because a friend asks, I believe that there are just as many who don't. This latter category feels that putting their words and name behind a book that they do not like or think is well crafted or is in too much of an unrelated genre risks their reputation.

When I request a quote, I always ask the person to only do so if they want to, feel comfortable doing it. And I had a NYT best-selling author politely decline because she thought our writing styles differed drastically - that if she endorsed my book, her readers might expect my writing to be similar to hers. While I was disappointed to hear her answer, I really respected her honesty and was glad that she didn't do something she didn't feel comfortable doing.

All of this raises an interesting question: Would you provide a quote just because a friend asked for one?

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Amanda.


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