Monday, October 17, 2011

Bad Copy

The text you put on the back cover of a book can make or break the book sales more than any other element. I wish I could say I’m an expert at writing back cover copy (BCC). I can’t, but I’ve seen some examples that are sure to kill the book sales. I don’t want to name names, so I’ll provide an example that I’ve modified to protect the guilty.
Gail has just accepted a dream job working for fashion designer Heather Long’s company. Unfortunately, she learns her ex-fiance, Dave, is working for the same organization. On her first day, Gail finds her new boss strangled with a bolt of wool fabric. Gail now questions whether this is what God intended.

Gail and Dave quickly realize their love is stronger than ever. But with Dave the prime suspect in the murder, Gail must discover the truth before they can begin a life together.

Last season’s fabrics, many unforgettable characters, a dog name butch, and Uncle Fred who has found his second adolescene make this a fast-paced romance and a page turning mystery.

It actually starts out well. It follows the pattern “on the way to success, something prevents it.” In this case, on the way to the dream job, Gail runs into her ex-fiance. If it had stopped there, this would be great. There’s got to be a lot of conflict between Gail and Dave, or so you would think. Unfortunately, the second paragraph kills the tension. Gail and Dave realize they are still in love. So now, all of the conflict rests on the murder and Gail must solve the mystery because Dave looks guilty.

What I would like to see happen here is that instead of quickly discovering that they still love each other, they accuse each other of the crime. In the process of their bickering they bring out their old argument. Of course, by the end of the book, they will have resolved the old argument and found the murderer, but we don’t need to mention that on the back cover. But as it is, the book seems very boring because there simply isn’t enough conflict in the storyline.