Now that we’re almost ready to publish The Man Who Built Boxes and other stories by Frank Tavares, we’re faced with writing a description of the book.
That’s the other thing that’s different about indie publishers -- we don’t have a staff dedicated to writing book jacket copy.
Common wisdom has it that the author is the worst person to ask. She/he is: too close to the material; wants to include too much detail; isn’t practiced in the art of book jacket copy writing, either. And maybe the biggest problem -- many authors hate doing it.
Common advice says that what you need to do is craft a short two or three sentence pitch. Like the well-known elevator pitch. Something that captures the essence and intrigues the reader. Except. Not every book can be reduced to two or three sentences. (Isn’t that why the book is 300 pages?) And not everyone in an elevator would listen to a pitch anyway. (Just try getting past talking about the weather and there’s barely enough time to say, “Have a good one.”)
So what do you do when you’ve got a book that isn’t just one story, it’s 12? (Plus an excerpt from a novel.) And it isn’t about two or three main characters, there’s a whole cast of them? Not one setting but a dozen? Add to that the fact that stories aren’t linked, except loosely by a theme here and there, and we’re way beyond anything you could say in an elevator ride or even get through over a long lunch. Then complicate it further because the stories aren’t like any you’ve read before. In a good way.
We thought maybe we could cheat by getting other people to tell us what the book is about. We’ve learned there are people called “Beta readers.” (We used to call them friends and family.) They read the book, sometimes even while it’s still being written, before anyone else and offer comments. We didn’t have any.
Then we thought the advance reviewers would save us. They wrote wonderful blurbs, but we realized we couldn’t borrow them for the book description and still keep them as blurbs.
So we’re back to our struggle to really get this right. We’re trying out a few different descriptions. But, what we’re really hoping is that once the book is out and we start hearing from readers, we’ll get the magical combination of a great description of the book and high praise for the author.
We’ll be happy to send a free copy to anyone interested in giving it a try. Just write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send you a book as soon as it's published.
© Aleksandar Radovanovic | Dreamstime.com
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