I understand movie ratings—well sort of. But what I wonder is who writes the movie descriptions and why aren’t they regulated?
We watched War Horse last night. Have you seen it? Roger Ebert is reported to have said this movie is “Magnificent! Joyous! And Uplifting! I bought it because of the magnificent horse scenes they showed on the previews and the fact that it was billed as “uplifting.” I was disappointed. I did not walk away from that movie feeling joyous. And it got me to thinking about what goes on the cover of books.
Who writes the back cover copy for books? In many cases it is the author. And I must say that I’ve met quite a few authors who could not accurately or adequately describe their books. I’ve consulted with authors who described their books as “self-help” when they were strictly in essay or memoir form. One told me that her book would help people in a specific category, when there were no helping aspects to the book—only the author’s story.
I’ve had authors tell me that their book is a humorous look at parenting or relationships…when nothing in the book made me laugh or even smile.
Have you ever picked up a book to read because of the back cover copy and discovered that the book was misrepresented? It isn’t always done on purpose—it’s simply a mistake made by some inexperienced, unaware authors who don’t fully understand the concept of their story, the content of their book and how to present it to their readers. Heck, a whole lot of them don’t actually know who their readers are.
Sometimes authors describe their books as a romance or a young adult novel because they’ve heard this is what’s selling. How disappointing for the reader, though, when she picks up the book and finds that there is just one lame romantic scene tucked into an adventure story or when a teacher learns that the young adult novel is not actually written for his middle grade students, after all.
I’ll bet many of you have stories about back cover deception. Want to share them?
In the meantime, in order to avoid making this mistake and others with your publishing project, be sure to read my book, Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author. It’s also for the author who isn’t so enterprising and who doesn’t have a clue about publishing. http://www.matilijapress.com