Speaking of River Runs Red, I had a nerve-wracking experience several weeks ago.
See, it's my theory that most writers (not all of them, by any means, but most) are basically insecure. Secure people become captains of industry or politicians, and if they make up stories they tell them to the press, who transcribe them directly as if they meant something. Insecure people make up stories, and then have to write them down and hope other people read and enjoy them, or else they'll feel like they wasted their time.
So the hardest thing for a writer to do is to let someone else read a manuscript. Especially the first reader or two or ten. You're waiting anxiously, sweating bullets, hoping that reader or readers likes it and comes back to you with effusive praise. You say you want helpful criticism, but in fact all you want is praise, and maybe cash.
Next hardest is sending it to your editor (note: this is magnified ten-fold if you're sending it to your agent to shop around--I'm specifically talking about River Runs Red here, which was already bought, on the basis of an outline).
But what was so difficult this time was approaching the sorts of big-name writers who might be able to provide blurbs that would be meaningful to readers who have never heard of you. I put together a list of 8 people and sent out emails. These were a mix of very big names and slightly lesser ones, but all well known in the fields of thrillers and/or horror (since the book, like Missing White Girl, combines elements of both). Of those 8, only one turned me down outright, and he was a long shot I didn't expect to be able to do it, for health reasons. Bound manuscripts went out to the other 7. Of those, one never received it, and close to the deadline, offered to still try to read it, although other health reasons might have interfered. Since it was so close to the deadline and I had plenty of other blurbs by then, I declined, but with regret because it would have been a true honor and a major coup.
Waiting for the responses to the manuscripts was one of the most agonizing periods of my life. If I were a nail-biter, I'd have no fingers left and would have to write with my feet.
Fortunately, of the remaining 6, I got 5 very good blurbs. One will be on the book's front cover, the others on the back or inside or just on sales materials, I'm not sure yet. I'm not going to start posting them here, but when the River Runs Red sub-site goes live, they'll definitely be on there.
Now the hard part is waiting for the book to come out, and then waiting to hear what people who've actually paid for it think...