So I am in the very, very last stages of my book -- rewriting my Voice talk, because I wasn't satisfied with it; and then I need to decide which terms will be capped or uncapped (Action Plot vs. action plot, that sort of thing), because I currently have more capped nouns than a Dungeons & Dragons manual, and make that consistent across the board. But that is it for the interior!
And then, for the exterior, I need to write the flap copy. And while of course I write flap copy for other people's books all the time, writing it for my own is proving unexpectedly daunting. Generally in writing it for other people's books, I try to identify my ideal reader -- the person who is most likely to pick up the book, and who would get the most enjoyment out of it; then set forth an overall vision of the book that would appeal to that ideal reader, working in as many cool things about the characters and plot as possible. And while I think that you all are pretty much my ideal readers here, I also feel I'm either too close to the material or too damn Midwestern modest to objectively see and sell all the possibly cool things about this book.
Then I thought: Hey! Maybe my ideal readers would like a chance to play the editor here. I know writers often get a kick out of their chance to edit me in commenting on the flap copy I wrote for their books (or the trial flaps I've posted here); this seems like the next logical step, and also good practice for any aspiring editors out there. :-)
So: CONTEST! If you want to participate, all of the information you'd need to know about the book is below. Write back-jacket sales copy of 200 words or less, and e-mail your draft to me at chavela_que at yahoo dot com by noon next Thursday, July 22, with the subject line "Flap Copy Contest." (I will be away from all computers from Saturday till the deadline, more or less, so this gives you plenty of time.) An editorial friend and I will read through the entries and choose up to three winners, who will each receive a free copy of the book.
I will then probably go ahead and assemble my own flap copy, pulling from all of the various great ideas that come in; and indeed, I reserve the right to borrow, steal, or tweak anything in any of your entries. I suppose in legal parlance, this would be, "All entries become property of Cheryl Klein for purposes of writing her own copy," meaning you can't sue me if I use your words or ideas. But I will also acknowledge said useful writers within the book and here. And I wouldn't claim this copy exclusively; goodness knows if you want to do something else with your draft or publish or reuse it for yourself, have at it.
Some questions to ask yourself if you want to try this:
- What are some cool things about this book -- its hooks?
- Are there any key details or lines from the book that might grab a reader's attention?
- Why would I buy this book?
- Who else would want to buy this book?
- Are there any successful similar books I'd want to liken this book to or remind the reader of? (And often its followup, What was the approach of their flap copy? -- at least for reference, or to see what elements were emphasized.)
- What are three key unifying ideas about this book, or three different visions of the book? (This "Three Takes on Operation Yes" post shows three of my visions for that book, and how each one played out in the flap.)
- Which one of those ideas/visions would be most attractive to the readers I just identified?
I hope this sounds like fun to y'all -- I'm very curious to see what you come up with! Thank you so much for participating.
The title: Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults
The original description.
The Table of Contents (much of this material is online, except the Quartet talks, which comprise 50-plus pages of never-before-published-anywhere thoughts. "Manifests" are worksheets/checklists.):
- An Explanation of This Book
- Manifesto: What Makes A Good Book?
- Defining Good Writing (Possibly Sententious)
- Finding a Publisher and Falling in Love: A Convivial Comparison
- The Annotated Query Letter from Hell
- An Annotated Query Letter That Does It Right
- The Rules of Engagement
- The Essentials of Plot
- Manifest: The Plot Checklist
- Morals, Muddles, and Making It Through; or, Plots and Popularity
- Manifest: A Character Chart
- A Definition of YA Literature
- The Art of Detection: One Editor’s Techniques for Analyzing and Revising Your Novel
- Four Techniques to Get at the Emotional Heart of Your Story
- Words, Wisdom, Art, and Heart: Making a Picture-Book Cookie
- Some Things I Like to See in an Illustrator’s Portfolio
- A Few Things Writers Can Learn from Harry Potter
- Gaaah!!—A Musing on Characters and Plot
- Quartet: Introduction
- Manifest: Another Character Chart
- The Highly Idiosyncratic Cheryl Klein Guide to Punctuation
- On the Editor-Author Relationship
- Twenty-Five Revision Techniques
- Index to Talks by Writers’ Conference
- Index by Subject
- Further Reading: Craft
- Further Reading: Literature
- Acknowledgements and Thanks