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Blurbs vs. Reviews - What's the Difference?

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There's a big difference between blurbs and reviews, although the line often gets muddied (intentionally)--especially with skyrocketing citizen reviews and self-published authors.

Here's the lowdown on the difference between a blurb and a review:

Blurb - Definition: A blurb is a short summary or promotional piece accompanying a creative work. The word was coined in 1907 by American humorist Gelett Burgess (1866–1951).[1] It may refer to the text on the back of a book but can also be seen on DVD and video cases, web portals and news websites. A blurb may introduce a newspaper or magazine feature story.

Blurbs are basically promos--teasers that get you to buy or click. The "praise" you see on an author's book jacket or website? Those famous authors raving are usually colleagues from the same publishing house! Or, friends of the author. Nothing wrong with that, of course...except, many readers think those glowing raves are independent, objective reviews. As in, famous author just happened upon the manuscript of the book in question...and fired off a testimonial. Doesn't work that way. In fact, I had someone high up in publishing tell me that authors write blurbs all the time for fellow writers--without even reading the book! (I can attest to this: I asked a famous author to blurb my first book, Back in Time Tarot--and he told me to "Just write what I wanted and sign his name.")

NEGATORY. Not on my books, anyway...

So, fellow authors, if a colleague asks for a blurb...that's what the request is all about. And, once he/she submits a blurb, please don't call it a "review". It's not. It's a courtesy. 

Love Hate SmallerReview - Definition (mine): Critical assessment of a book, movie, play, CD or other product. Notice the word "critical" there. This means an actual evaluation--one that doesn't have a vested interest in whether the product sells or doesn't. Did you know this is one reason that the FCC required reviewers to start disclosing freebies received in exchange for reviews?

In their minds, getting free products may very well be an incentive to write a glowing, rave review. Why? Because the same publisher and manufacturer will keep sending them free goodies!

This is rampant in online Tarot reviewing. I know of five (yes, five)  Tarot deck "reviewers" who get free decks from a major publisher--and always (I mean, always) write 5-star reviews for those decks (or post giddy videos of their new acquistions). In fact, two of the women (maybe more) actually work for the publisher, behind the scene, as social media gals who contribute/run the blog and FB accounts.

Nice, huh? So much for transparency...which is why the FCC had to step in. (But, as you probably noticed, many reviewers--especially in the Tarot world--don't disclose that they regularly get decks for free...despite the fact that the law requires it.)

The major publishers of Tarot decks won't even send me review copies anymore becuase they know they can't buy me (in terms of getting a 5-star gushing review)--not even when I was on one of the pub's payroll!

How to spot a "real" review on Amazon? Check out my post 5 Ways to Spot a Trustworthy Review at this link

So, don't buy the hype...and think for yourself. 

-- Janet


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