One of the comments I get frequently when I tell people I’ve written two novels is that they can’t believe I wrote so much. To them, the act of writing an entire book undoubtedly dregs up painful memories of college essays and lengthy book reports. Ironically, I don’t dread the creation large content. In fact, it’s the exact opposite that occasionally gives me pause.
Sometimes writing short is harder than writing long. Never has this been truer for me than in writing query letters to agents, a project that many people claim is the most important piece of literature a writer ever produces (Why? Because, if it’s not good, it’s quite likely no one will ever see anything else he/she writes).
While I will soon face that onerous task as I look to find a home for my third book, I’m currently facing another form of short writing that ranks right up there in my opinion as the toughest in the biz––the back cover text. I realize that many (all?) big name authors don’t write their own copy material. Truth is that I paid someone to write mine initially for both my books, but I didn’t love what they did, and thus have spent hours writing/rewriting it myself.
To me, the back of a book is just as important, if not more important than the front. If the illustrated cover is responsible for hooking the reader, then it’s the back cover’s job to reel them in.
This is yet another example of how invaluable and essential the skill (and patience) of editing is to a writer. The shorter the content, the more each word must perform a role. Word choice is critical: ‘action-packed adventure’ or ‘supercharged sequel’? ‘Missing children’ or ‘missing refugees?’ Sometimes it feels like there’s no good answer. When that’s the case, head back to the tackle box, toss out your bait, and search for something fresh to put on the line.
Shortly following this post will be another post with the copytext I currently plan to use on the back of my newest book, Bobby Ether and the Temple of Eternity, due for release in a few months. I hope you enjoy it.