Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday, October 19th, 2015: Blurbquest Operation Python Failures! And also Reddit...

I woke up to a couple of Blurbquest fails this morning:

"Dear Jim

Thanks for your message via Michael’s website.

Michael is asked possibly 6 to 10 times a week to read a manuscript or book, then either comment on it, or write a foreword – as you can imagine, it’s impossible for him to do this. Therefore, I’m sorry, he’s unable to comment on Fish Wielder.

Good luck with the book.

Best wishes


That was the rejection from Michael Palin's people. Not a bad reason to be turned down, I suppose. Just in case you're curious, here's what I wrote him:

"I'm a huge fan. I've written a book. The sense of humor is inspired by Mr. Palin's work with Monty Python. Would love, beyond my ability to express, an author blurb...if he does that sort of thing...or would consider doing that sort of thing. Probably no chance, probably right out, but had to try. One of my comedy heroes. The book is called "Fish Wielder" and is coming out in August of 2016. I'd be very happy to send the manuscript in any format Mr. Palin desires. Well, within reason. Here's a link:

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration. Even if there is some kind of standing "under no circumstances" policy, please pass along my regards. The man is a genius.


Jim Hardison

Normally, I would have started with a "hello" or a person's name, but I was submitting through an on-line form and couldn't track down a name, so I went with the more direct approach. Tried to add a tiny bit of humor there toward the end. Oh well. But, right after that rejection came this one:

"Dear Jim,

Thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately Terry doesn’t have the time to take any new projects.
I’m sorry to have to disappoint you in this but we wish you the best of luck with your book.

Best Wishes,


So, that was from Terry Gilliam's agent's assistant. Kind of a more personable tone to that one than the one from Mr. Palin's helper, but I didn't try to be overtly funny in the letter to Millie. Again, for those of you who may eventually be writing your own blurb request letters and can benefit from my failures, here's what I wrote to Terry Gilliam's agent:

"Hello, Ms. Hoskins,

I hope you are well. I’m writing to you to inquire as to whether Terry Gilliam ever writes “blurbs” in support of other authors. I have written an epically ridiculous epic fantasy novel (Fish Wielder) being published in August of 2016 and I would be giddy with delight if Mr. Gilliam would consider writing a blurb for it. I’m sure he is insanely busy and probably does not have time for this sort of thing, but his work and humor have been deeply influential of my own, so I thought I would at least make the request. I am a previously published graphic novel author and produced screenwriter, but this will be my first novel novel.

Here is a link to my author website:

Thank you for your consideration,

J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison

In case you are wondering how I got Ms. Hoskins (not a daughter of Bob, by the way...I checked) name and email address, it was pretty straight forward and the same method I've used to get contact info for almost everyone I've written so far. I just opened up Google and typed "Contact information for..." and filled in the name of the person I was looking for. In most instances, within a few clicks, I wound up with an email address for someone connected with the person I was trying to reach. Except Piers Anthony (I already knew about his website) and Nick Harkaway (I reached out to him on Facebook, believe it or not.)

And now it occurs to me that I haven't yet mentioned Nick Harkaway in the tale of my Blurbquest. Mr. Harkaway is a brilliat writer of fantastic works of fiction--meaning they are fantastical in nature as well as excellent reads. He wrote the very funny serious-science-fiction-apocalypse-war-fantasy-with-ninjas, The Gone Away World and the amazing steampunk-adventure-mystery, Anglemaker and the highly entertaining super-hero-action-parenting-thriller Tigerman. I have loved his books ever since I was attending the 2008 San Diego ComicCon in support of my graphic novel, The Helm, and I happened to walk past the Random House table where the lady asked me if I liked "crazy science-fiction with ninjas" and gave me a proof copy of The Gone Away World. Anyway, I've been thinking how cool it would be to get a blurb from Mr. Harkaway, so I reached out to him on Facebook, like this:

"Hello Nick, sorry to bother you with something non-social on social media, but I was wondering if you ever blurb books for other authors. I understand completely if you don't, and I hope I haven't offended you or put you in an awkward position by asking, but I've really enjoyed your books and I have a ridiculous epic fantasy that's going to be published in August and I thought I would ask."

And then, he wrote me back this:

"I absolutely do - and this is why I'm on Facebook: to be reachable smile emoticon

Basically, I blurb if something is awesome, within one of the areas where someone might give a damn what I think, and (more tricky) if I get to it in a timely fashion. I say the last one's tricky because I'm wrestling my own book atm and it's putting up a hell of a fight...

Do you want to send a hard copy? Or digi?

Which was totally awesome of him, but now I'm conflicted and nervous. I personally like Fish Wielder quite a lot and I'd like to believe that it is awesome...but is it awesome enough for Nick Harkaway?!?! I mean, his books are truly awesome. And, assuming he likes it enough to think it is awesome, will he feel like the book falls within an area where someone might give a damn about what he has to say? Fish Wielder is very much a comedy and very much an epic fantasy. Neither of those are exactly his genre. On the other hand, Fish Wielder is also a bit of odd riffing on a lot of different genres, themes and ideas, and as you may have noticed from my brief descriptions of his books, Nick's books are also difficult to describe briefly.

So, as noted, I'm conflicted. Fortunately, Mr. Harkaway hasn't sent me any instructions for how to get the manuscript to him, so... I haven't had to make a decision yet.

So, here is my updated Blurb list:

Jim's Blurbquest List

Logan Hunder HE BLURBED ME!

They Might Be Giants (looks like I may have to write to them via snail mail)

John Cleese DENIED!

Terry Gilliam DENIED!

Eric Idle (request sent...waiting)

Terry Jones (can't find contact info)

Michael Palin DENIED!

Piers Anthony ACCEPTED! He's going to read it!

Lev Grossman

David Wong

Nick Harkaway ACCEPTED (if I turn out to be brave enough to send it)

Bruce Campbell (request sent...waiting)

Kurt Russell

In other promotional news, my awesome agent, Mark, dropped me an email last night suggesting that I look into setting up an AMA on Reddit for Fish Wielder. Of course, until that moment, I didn't know what an AMA was or have anything more than a background awareness that Reddit was a useful thing for writers who wanted to interact with potential readers. Now, because Mark was kind enough to include a bunch of background in his email, I know better.

For those of you who may be as ignorant as I, an AMA is an "Ask Me Anything" subreddit--in other words, a forum for people to ask an author (or I guess any kind of person who can type on the internet) whatever questions they want.

For more info on AMA's check out this link that Mark sent me: AMA

And for more info on Author Spotlights on Reddit (which are kind of the same thing but for new authors) check out this link: AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

After looking into it a little, the whole thing seems really cool, so I reached out to Reddit this morning. They are receptive to an AMA for Fish Wielder, but they need to know what date the book will be available for pre-order first. Seeing as I don't know that, I've put in a note to my lovely publisher, Fiery Seas, and I'm waiting to hear back! More on this breaking story as it develops.

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