Walter Mondale, you inspire me.
Hollywood's been vaguely following the fact that I'd been editing for her, and I was pretty stoked that she'd gotten an agent, so I told him about the development, and he replied, "Excellent, so when does her book come out." Which necessitated a brief synopsis of the publication process as I understand it, followed by the observation that she was currently readying a fresh draft that would be sent out to more established authors to win those blurbs you see at the back of the book.
"You should write one," he said, and I burst out laughing, because, as I told him, that's marketing space, reserved for blurbists who will possibly help the book to sell, rather than space for friends and hangers-on. And I told her about it too, because it was pretty funny.
Except then I thought about it. The reason that I can't get my blurb onto her book is because I'm not somebody famous who can vouch for how good the book is.
Cue retrospective sidebar.
I remember a radio program pointing out something monumental about the 1984 United States Presidential Election in which the late President Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory. In fact, his opponent, Walter Mondale, obtained only 3% of the roughly 540 electoral college votes.1
Three percent. 13 votes.
And the brilliant observation wasn't that it was a small number. No, the speaker managed to quantify the defeat in very human terms: Walter Mondale had beaten *me* by only 13 college votes. I didn't even run.
The radio program, I should admit, was a comedy, but there's something magical in that misguided bit of trivia. (Anybody able to attribute the comedian should drop me a line, please, he deserves credit). Sure it's funny, but at a completely different level, it suddenly made me picture myself *in* the presidential race. Only for a little while, what with not being American or Interested in the position, but thanks to Walter Mondale, I had a whole new way to look at the world.
I mean, sure I didn't win the presidency, but heck, even Walter Mondale only got 13 more votes, and he had to campaign way harder than than I did.
Blurbs are written by the most successful writers you can find who are willing to say something positive about your book. Stephen King writing about how your book is a terrifying perspective into the depths of the human soul and that you are the logical successor to Stephen King is going to cause all the Stephen King fans to at least take a look at your writing, and there are an awful lot of Stephen King fans.
Stephen King is a massively published author. I am not published at all (not anywhere that counts). Clearly, if it were to be a choice between Stephen King's blurb or my blurb on the back of her book, there is no question that she should pick the one from Mr King. That's just a no-brainer.
But here's where my Mondale effect kicks in. Because now I can say, "Yeah, I wrote a blurb for Scrimshaw, but they picked Stephen King over me." And on the one hand, it's a lop-sided competition, but on the other hand, a little tiny corner of your brain has just accepted the absurd proposition that I have any place in a literary face-off with a Name.
And that may still leave me the loser, but hey, I faced off against the master of contemporary horror, what have you done lately?
So I'm working on my blurb. I don't think they'll be talking to Mr King about her book. (They haven't mentioned it to me) But I'm betting on her getting published, and I know I can lose to whoever's blurbs get picked.
I'm just good that way.
A bold, genre-busting tale of derring-do, of pathos, of bitter conflict, and lasting friendships, Lisa Mantchev's Scrimshaw is a brilliantly executed tour-de-force, a rousing romp, where all the world's the stage, and only the players can save it.
(Okay, I was just goofing, but is it bad that I actually *like* that last part? Damn you, Stephen King, you've thwarted me again!!!2)
1For anybody left ignorant of the electoral college after the 2000 election, the popular voting in the United States is subdivided into electoral college seats, and each seat is won individually. Mathematically, it's a wonderfully democratic system, but I guess the Americans aren't good at math because they then screw it up by assigning all the seats in a state to the candidate who wins a electoral college majority in that state.
2The first time being Lawnmower Man.