Recently, you made a comment about receiving queries with blurbs in them, and how it was a good thing if you knew the author in question. I thought you were only supposed to ask for blurbs post-sale of the book? How does the etiquette go for asking an author to blurb your novel if you don’t have an agent yet? Isn’t this the kind of thing they immediately reject because of, well, the chance of the author being a lunatic and accusing you of idea theft down the road, for one thing. And also, if they aren’t agented yet, there’s probably the assumption that the manuscript isn’t very good. How would one go about asking an author they held in esteem for a blurb before getting an agent? (Especially if you really want to submit to their agent?)
I don’t remember ever suggesting that authors seek blurbs prior to having a publishing contract in hand, and if I did, I apologize. In my opinion, you should never ask another author for a blurb or a quote until the book has sold. Networking is tough and yet it’s something all authors need to learn to do. Asking for a blurb means reaching into your network and asking a huge favor of those you know well and those who you might have met only once or twice. Don’t blow your chances of getting a great quote by going out too early. Published authors are busy, busy folks and giving up time to give a quote means time away from writing the next book. It’s unlikely that once they’ve read a rough draft (because no matter what, prior to publication your book is rough) they will want to read the book again to give the “real” quote, the one that will actually appear on a cover.
For the most part your concerns are right: in a nutshell, an author is not going to take your request seriously until you’re agented and editored (for lack of a better word). So if you are still in the beginning stages of your career, still seeking representation or waiting to hear the good news from your agent, don’t worry about the actual quotes. Network, write, and work on your craft. That’s what you should be doing now.