The author blurb. It's become an entrenched part of the publishing world whether we like it or not. The question then becomes, do they actually work.
I recently went to the make-up store, a place I avoid in general. As I was making my hasty retreat to the sales counter I noticed a nail polish display. About 8 different colors were being promoted, but the kicker was the celebrity endorsement. Kylie Jenner was posing seductively on the display with her nails front and center. The sign, with her face and well manicured hand simply said. "Kylie is wearing Kommando."
Kommando is a khaki/nude color and (in my opinion) the least exciting color on display. Seven of those eight color choices had at least five bottles available. Guess which one was completely sold out.
If you guess Kommando, get yourself a cookie cause your brain is firing on all cylinders.
Even though there were several other really pretty colors, the one associated with a celebrity was selling the most bottles. So what does that mean for us as writers?
Yes, blurbs work. Bookbub put out a great article on some actual quantitative testing they did on blurbs. It's fascinating if you like that sort of thing. Spoiler: they work.
Of course, not all blurbs are created the same. Getting a blurb from a NYT Bestseller is going to be more effective than that guy from your critique group who published a short story in a magazine three years ago.
Also, blurbs are useless if you don't use them. When I got a blurb from the USA Today HEA blog, I put that sucker everywhere. In fact, I have the quote framed and display it whenever I have a signing (Fun story, the lovely Serena who wrote that blurb was at the table right next to mine at Utopiacon, small world). So, if you are lucky enough to get a blurb, don't waste it by burying it on a hidden page of your website and never sharing it with the world.
When it comes time to ask for a blurb, the key is to be polite. When I was getting ready to publish my first book, I reached out to some really big names in YA for blurbs. They all declined, no shocker, but the door is still open in the future because I kept everything polite with please and thank you. It's not rocket science.
If you've got no idea where to start, here's a great article about an author who managed to score a huge foreword for her book. And she shares actual template emails to help spur your creative juices.
The long and short of it is that blurbs work. They aren't essential, and a blurb alone won't rocket you to bestseller status, but it's nice work if you can get it.