Monday, June 4, 2012

Five Easy Pieces

Okay, the title of this posting is a lie.  The first five items on our To-Do List are not easy.

I. Jacket Copy

Jacket copy is that paragraph or two we put on the back cover of the book to pique a potential reader’s interest.  Jacket copy is also called the back blurb.

It’s tricky to write.  We want it to be intriguing enough that the shopper will buy the book.  But we can’t include spoilers or anything that could be potentially misleading. And we have to be careful with the tone of the blurb.  We don’t want a humorous romance to sound gritty or a thriller to come across perky.
Fortunately for me, when my agent was pitching my book to publishers, she wrote something I could convert to a back blurb.  I’ve passed along a revised version of her pitch to my editor. So maybe I did get off easy on this one.

II. Author Photo

My buddy Liza is an excellent photographer.  Five years ago, she took a headshot of me wearing a blue shirt.  It is one of the best Beth photos in existence.  I use it everywhere. On facebook, on my website, on this blog.

But, good as it is, I’m still expected to have a professional shoot.  So I’m in the process of working that out.  In the meantime, Liza’s shot wins.


ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number.  It’s the 10-digit or 13-digit number you usually see on the back cover near the barcode.

I’ll be getting one soon. Yay!  That makes me feel so official.

It is also SpencerHill’s responsibility to acquire the ISBN.  So this is another item that’s easy for me.

IV. Cover Art

Contrary to what the reading public might believe, authors do not control their book covers.  Nope. Nada. Nein.

At best, authors have influence.  Our influence increases with the number of books we've sold.  For a debut author, that number is zero; hence, our influence is zero.

Happily, when my senior editor asked my opinion and shared her vision, we discovered our ideas were compatible. We’ve discussed paintings vs photography, hiring models, images that are full-body vs torsos, and various color schemes.

This is so much fun!  More on the cover art in a later post. 

V. Author Biography

Writing one’s own bio is awful. Pffft.

I want to present facts that readers will care about, only how do I know what those are?  My target readers are teens, but that is hardly a homogeneous market.  And readers who have already passed their 20th birthday will (hopefully) enjoy the book too.  What facts might they care about?

Ultimately, I had to get this done.  So I limited the content to my family, NC, the geek factor, a couple of my cheesy quirks, and the book.

How strange that the item I know the most about was the one that gave me the most trouble.

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