Since it has been pointed out to me that my new book, MYSTIC RIDER (excerpt) , will be hitting the stands on July 1st, and that the purpose of this blog is to promote our writing (really, I thought it was an outlet for my excess energy and opinions but I’ll humor them), I suppose I need to find a scintillating subject that will persuade our loyal readers to order the book immediately.
Unfortunately, finding the right verbal “hooks” to entice and seduce has ever been a failing of mine. I’m a selfish witch. I write about what tugs at my heart or catches my interest and in most cases, both— not necessarily what provides tempting cover copy. I used to read the back blurbs of my contemporaries and wish I had written that book, because they certainly didn’t describe the stories I thought I had written. Perhaps I could ask marketing to write the blurbs and then I could write the book?
Anyway, instead of our usual rants about what we like or don’t like about covers (the artwork on mine is incredible, in my humble opinion, so I’m not about to complain—lightning staffs, so very cool!), I thought I’d dissect the back cover copy of MYSTIC RIDER for our amusement and delectation.
Keep in mind that the words on the back are a collaboration. I fault no one for the result, especially since I had a minor hand in it myself—if only to verify that the names were correct.
Let us start with “Chantal Deveau has applied her musical gift to writing impassioned anthems for the French Revolution.” I rather envisioned her elaborating on the war tunes of the times as so many did, except her magical additions tend to inflame the hearts of men in the same manner as her voice stirs people to action, and she doesn’t realize either, so… Close enough and probably more dramatic than my long-winded explanation.
Next: “But now that the mob has imprisoned her family, she seeks to buy their freedom with her one valuable possession: a jeweled cup.” No mob involved, and she believes the cup is a bell, but…subtlety is best explained inside, I guess. Either way, her in-laws and young niece and nephew are in the lock-up, and she’s likely to slay someone with a piano if she doesn’t get them out soon.
“When a tall, dark stranger enters her home and demands she give him her prize, her outrage is nothing compared to her powerful sensual response to his presence…and her startling conviction that their lives are irrevocably entwined.” Ahem. Ian Olympus is a giant among men, practically a demi-god, a near Oracle, a man of gifts beyond even his own knowledge—reduced to a tall dark stranger. And I’m not at all certain that Chantal has a clue that their lives are entwined, but let’s say they do what bunnies do, and she’s not averse to the experience. I don’t generally write scenes like that at the beginning of a book, but let’s face it, how many women will satisfy a reclusive demi-god? And she’s living in Paris at a time when sexual excess was the norm. So once Ian meets his match… Okay, my version is much better than theirs, but it takes too long. Got it.
“Ian recognizes Chantal as the intended mate revealed to him in a vision long ago. But even he is astounded by the lightning swift attraction he feels for a woman not of his world.” His vision shows blood and war and the sacred chalice along with the woman and tragic music, but why muddy up sex with details? Let’s make no mistake here, Ian is on a quest, and the woman just happens to be in his way. Or well, really, with a sentient chalice dealing the cards, everything is in the way, including sex. The cover copy makes it seem so…easy!
“Now he must choose between duty and desire—and open his heart to possibilities that even he could never have foreseen.” Admittedly, I give the marketing people way too much to work with. An island on the brink of destruction, a man whose intended mate is a rebel who can only add to his troubles, an
escaping royal family, a sentient chalice…and a villain with strengths that exceed the hero’s. Gee, let’s reduce all that to duty and desire. Simple, sweet, and let no history impinge on the product. (that’s Louis XVI to the right, not Ian!)
Now I’m totally convinced I need to write the back cover copy before I write the book. I did give them this blurb: An enigmatic leader with powerful physical and psychic abilities believes he must sacrifice himself to save his island home, until he encounters a musically gifted free spirit who requires his aid to save her own world, and he must choose between living without his home or dying with it. But obviously, that wasn’t dramatic enough.
I know back cover copy is a huge selling point for readers. How often do you rely on it? How often does the copy match what you find inside? How often does the copy leave you disappointed in the story…or vice versa? Do you appreciate being seduced by marketing copy? (I know that’s loaded, but I can’t think of a better way to say it–marketing manipulates. That’s its purpose.)
Oh, and I’m supposed to mention that I’ll be doing an interview on Thursday, June 12th, at 8:30 pm East Coast time at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Circle-Of-Seven . You can call in at 646-200-4071 to ask questions. I’ve never done internet radio before, so I’m hoping someone will show up! And the podcast or whatever they call it will be available anytime after the show.