asked on Twitter.
I've only had to do this once, with The Drowning City
, but it went something like this:
My editor asked me if I knew any authors who might be willing to blurb the book. Luckily, I did. He also asked my agent if she had any suggestions. He then made a list of authors he thought might be appropriate--some of whom were Orbit authors and some who I'm pretty sure weren't--as well as my and arcaedia
's suggestions. Those authors who were willing and who hadn't read the book in draft already were sent bound galleys. That's how I got blurbs from Jacqueline Carey and Brent Weeks.
Not every publisher sends out bound galleys; PDFs are also used, and sometimes the author will send out Word files, if that's all that's available. I've heard that some editors make the author do more work about soliciting blurbs, which sounds completely cruel. This is one of the times where professional networking may be of use--by which I mean meeting people at cons and being pleasant and friendly online, not spamming people on Twitter. DO NOT SPAM PEOPLE ON TWITTER. I MEAN IT!
If you know other writers, a polite email asking if they would be willing or able to read your book and possibly blurb it is perfectly okay. The worst that will happen is that a) they'll say no upfront, probably because of time constraints, or b) they'll agree to look at the ms but not actually have time or inclination to offer a blurb. DO NOT NAG PEOPLE. Obviously. If they have to time to read the book and have something positive to say, you'll probably get a blurb. Someone at your publisher will perform blurb-fu and trim the quote down to be punchy and cover-sized.
With any luck, the blurb won't say "No one can touch [AUTHOR] when he is on fire," or "[CHARACTER] is as hardboiled as a 5-minute egg." "Lush and evocative" seems pretty popular.
While I'm sure someone somewhere has said nice things about a book that they didn't really mean, most authors I know have no desire to lie to readers or their friends. I also have no idea how you would ever make money off blurbs. Maybe that only happens to people way more famous than me.