Tom Pitts

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The Burden of Blurbs

I had this idea for a blog where I’d lay out my humble approach for getting blurbs as a way of steering some attention toward my new release. After a couple of tries, it was getting pretentious. All that “aw-shucks” I’m-so-humble shit.

It pretty much boiled down to this: I was too chickenshit to do the dance and ask the biggest names, so I decided to ask the kinds of writers who mattered to me. I mean, that’s what a blurb is for, right? If I saw their names on a cover, I’d pick it up.



Besides, my “biggest”  blurb was my first, and one I never even asked for. So really, what do I know?


Truthfully, I’m not sure there’s much evidence blurbs help sales anyway—at least at my end of the pool. 101, my last novel, I said, fuck it, and went with one of my heroes: TJ English. He’s a non-fiction writer, not even in my genre, but I figured, what the hell. It’s my fuckin’ cover, let me have this small triumph.


This time around, I did the same thing. Any book may be your last, so I figured, get somebody on there you’ll be proud to show off when the dust clears.

I asked Johnny Shaw and Matthew McBride.

Why? Because they both inspire me. There is a grace hiding in the simplicily of their prose that’s equally weighted with darkness with self-effacing humor that hardwires them to the human condition. And it’s that connection that makes me want to take the ride. Whoa, did I just accidentally simul-blurb those two?

This is what they gave me:

“A great American writer who knows his way around the gutter. Pitts is bold; his style his own. In Coldwater, he builds characters with heart, through layered storytelling and dialogue as real as a conversation between old friends. Tom Pitts at his very best.”
–Matthew McBride, author of Frank Sinatra in a Blender and A Swollen Red Sun

“You know those times when your reading slows down and you can’t find the right book to read next? Tom Pitts’s Coldwater was the book I needed to pull me out of those doldrums. I tore through it, gripped by every page. Simply put, Coldwater is a damn good book. A thoughtful and violent tale of bad luck and bad choices. I loved it.” —Johnny Shaw, author of Big Maria and Undocumented

I’ll take it.

I hope you enjoy the book, folks. It’s a weird one for me.

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