Looking for a respected author to give you a blurb about your new novel? Don’t ask Margaret Atwood. She no longer writes praise on the jackets of new books, not for living authors anyway.
Melville House made this discovery and got a colorful form letter from the author explaining her policy in a poem. Here is an excerpt (we’ve featured the whole poem after the jump:
I would like to be useful; God knows, as a girl
I was well-taught to help and to share;
But the books and the please for quotes pour through the door
Til the heaps of them drive to despair!
Atwood explains her policy further in the FAQ section of her website. She writes:
It takes four to six hours to read the book, and I get 10 or so of these requests a week. Multiply 5 hours times 10 requests and you get a 50-hour a week job. Choosing a few of the books to blurb doesn’t make things much easier, partly because it takes a long time to make a well-informed choice, and partly because choosing between books is akin to choosing which of your two sisters should be your maid of honour … no matter what you do, someone’s bound to have their feelings hurt.
The letter in its entirety: