Getting a novel written is a huge milestone. But, there are at least a dozen additional steps that an indie author has to undertake before they can call their book truly ready for publication. The next major step in the publishing process to get NightWind ready to be unleashed on the world is writing sale and back-of-book copy.
Now, I’ve spent the past 8 months writing and rewriting a novel that is 70,000 words long. But, summing up that book in less than 200 words is probably one of the hardest parts of the entire publishing process.
Why is back of book copy so hard? Is it simply because we writers are so closely tied to our projects? That’s a possibility, I suppose. I think the real issue, though, is that a novel is so complicated with several plot lines that swirl around and enhance the main concept of the story that it becomes difficult to choose the best pieces of the story to highlight that feature the book in the correct light and will draw readers to want to purchase and read it.
As I sit down to write the back of book copy for NightWind, I know I need to include the following in the description: Who the main character is, what it is she desires and what stands in her way. Remembering this will help me pull away from the subplots for the moment and hopefully allow me to focus and create copy that feels like it ties more closely to the essence of the story.
Another tough part of the story summing up process is creating that clever tagline or headline that creates and interesting duality or dynamic that showcases the author’s ability to create clever play on words. My first book, The Green Lady was summed up thusly: Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder. Withered World‘s line was: No feast. Just famine. For NightWind, I’m not sure what direction to go yet as the one-liner will have to tie in to the back of book copy to a certain extent.
For some reason, the trend of a catchy one-liner has become huge in the publishing world. It certainly captures my attention when I come across a particularly noteworthy one. A couple of my favorites are: A boy with no name. A girl with too many. (That one is from my friend J.R. Boles’ urban Fantasy novel Shadow Knight); For Queen, Country and the perfect pot of tea. (This one comes from Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series).
Getting your story to stand out in a crowded genre/marketplace is harder than ever before. It seems like everyone wants to write fantasy or a post-apocalyptic story. Anything you can do to get your story to stand out could mean the difference between a completed transaction and being abandoned in the shopping cart. Your back of book copy is one of two ways to get people to pick your book up off the shelf and encourage them to read more.