They do to me. And I’m sure they matter to anyone who has ever gone off into the wilderness of self-doubt and foolishness that is writing a novel, come out the other end with a manuscript somebody is prepared to publish, and have a respected fellow writer take the time away from their own work to read yours and conclude, “You know something? This is good.” (Does such a pronouncement help sales? Sometimes, I suppose. Sometimes not in the least. As with nearly all things in book marketing, nobody really knows.)
Every time out, I am surprised and touched by the gesture of colleagues who venture hours on a book of mine and who, at the end, feel they can put their name on the line and recommend it to others. There are some conspiracy minded souls out there who suspect something back-scratchy or bogus in this offering, but the truth is, there is nothing in it for those who do the blurbing, aside from tooting a horn in the direction of a book they feel deserving of it. What did, say, Dennis Lehane or John Connolly or Gillian Flynn get from endorsing my new novel, The Guardians? Sweet bugger all. Nothing, that is, aside for my heartfelt gratitude and a side order of boosted confidence that maybe I am on the right track, maybe the months of outline fussing and attention to how a sentence sounds did merit notice, maybe I’m not crazy.
So, to those (see below) who have offered their thumbs up to The Guardians (all, I might add, people whose work I’ve admired but have never met) I say a big, wet kissy thank you (or, if a smooch is unwelcome, a raised glass of something amber and Scottish). It means a lot to the book. More, it means a lot to me:
Dennis Lehane, John Connolly, Lisa Unger, Dennis McFarland, Gillian Flynn, Lisa Gardner, Deon Meyer, Joanne Harris, Kyo Maclear.