Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Scot in Trouble Up a Tree.

“With thousands of new titles being published every day, what do you do to try to raise your new book above the fray and catch the eye of readers?”  by Catriona

Yesterday Cathy looked at the all-important jacket image - the first thing a potential reader sees. Today I'm going to move on to the next step we take when we try to decide whether or not buy a book . . . the words.

Not, you understand, the words the writer works on, hones, edits and polishes for months and years but the words on the outside: the title, slugline, blurb, puff, and flap copy.
And slug, blurb, puff, flap is how it feels sometimes. The couple of hundred words that go on the cover are some of my least favourite writing.

I've got three books coming out in the next year or so:

One title gave me no bother at all. I needed something that said "Macbeth" and my mother-in-law, simply by throwing herself to the ground, breaking her ankle and spending a few boring days stuck in hospital with nothing better to do, came up with it.  Thank you, Nan.  

But there's a lot more than just the title on the jacket:
You'll have to zoom in on this!
And every word has been batted back and forth on email about a dozen times.  Oy.

Another book was called HANG MY HAT! all the time I was writing it but it's SCOT FREE now. Is that better? You tell me. It's got an extra identifier "A Last Ditch Mystery" (My heroine lives in the fragrantly named Last Ditch Motel) and a slugline too "The lighter side of the dark underbelly of the California Dream".  

This cover hasn't been revealed to the world yet, unfortunately. It's a belter. With different textures. First book I've ever had with different textures.  The teaser synopsis? Different editor, Same number of emails.

Book 3's got a slugline too "Draw me a house, a tree and a person and I'll tell you who are inside". Or "deep inside" or "deep down inside" or just "who you are". And it's got an identifier: "a novel of suspense".  (It's also got a different title in the UK: THE WEIGHT OF ANGELS. )

But both books have the same teaser. And even more emails to get it up and running.

So here they are - the three hard-won paragraphs of copy that will, fingers crossed, get readers salivating. And never mind the thousands of books others published, I'm just happy that at least these three don't all sound the same.  I hope. 

"The body found in a muddy grave across the street is just the latest horror threatening to tear apart Aly McGovern’s life seam by seam. She knows Angelo, her brooding teenage son, is keeping secrets. She fears he's in danger too. But her new job at the psychiatric hospital, the job her husband pushed her into, is using up everything she's got every day.  She can try to ignore the sounds that surely can't really be there. And she can try to trust the doctors who can't be as dark as they seem. But can Aly hold herself, her life and her family together without getting blood on her hands?"

"Lexy Campbell fell in love and left her native Scotland for a golden life in California – hitched to a hunk, building her marriage counseling practice, living the dream. Six months later she’s divorced, broke and headed home. There’s just one last thing. Lexy’s only client – sweet little old Mrs Bombarro – is in jail for murdering her husband and Lexy knows the cops have got it wrong. All she needs is a few days to prove it and somewhere cheap to sleep at night. But checking into the Last Ditch Motel brings a whole world of trouble along with its huge slice of life."

"Fair is foul and foul is fair when aristocratic private detective Dandy Gilver arrives at Castle Bewer, at midsummer 1934, to solve the tangled mystery of a missing man, a lost ruby and a family curse. The Bewer family's latest wheeze to keep the wolf from the door is turning the castle keep into a theatre. While a motley band of players rehearse Macbeth, the Bewers themselves prepare lectures, their faithful servants set up a tearoom, and the guest wings fill with rich American ladies seeking culture. Meanwhile, Dandy and her sidekick Alec Osborne begin to unravel the many secrets of the Bewers and find that, despite the witches, murders and ghosts onstage, it's behind the scenes where the darkest deeds are done."

Hmmmm - or do they?


Karen in Ohio said...

Good heavens, Catriona! You've been busy.

How do you keep them all straight?

Look forward to seeing you next week, and I owe you a coffee!

Kristopher said...

As I already mentioned to you, I LOVE the cover of the new Dandy. Well, to be honest, I love all the covers for Dandy - both UK and US. But the continuing theme with the UK covers thrills me to no end.

So intrigued to see the cover of Scot Free. I think I prefer that title to the original, but will know for sure once I read it.

As for House. Tree. Person. I think it is really going to stand out in the marketplace. It's different, that's for sure. And the tagline helps to explain it.

See you next week!

Unknown said...

Those paragraphs seem to roll out so easily, you'd never know every word has been hammered into place! Writing this stuff is never fun for me either. I'm hoping one day it comes more naturally. :)

Cathy Ace said...

Smashing piece,'re helping me learn all the time. Thanks :-)

kk said...

Absolutely wonderful to read this and to look at the covers to go with.
Yes, dear Catriona, how DO you keep them all straight?
You are so prolific--and you also, Cathy Ace!
Write on!