Category Archives: Marketing and PR

The Hardest 3 Paragraphs to Write

Most people think that the process of writing a book is difficult. Sometimes it is. Sometimes, on those rare occasions when the stars and planets all align in perfect order, it isn’t.

But what few people realize is writing the book is only half the battle.

Once the book is written, once it’s edited and prepped for publication, then the truly difficult writing begins. For then, a writer has to write the most difficult three paragraphs of any project.

You have to write the dreaded back cover copy!

We’re told that this small insight into our current masterpiece should be about three paragraphs in length and should be between 150 and 200 words. Less than 200 words to tell the world how amazing your novel truly is.

Let’s be perfectly honest, most writers hate writing the back cover copy. I know I do. I put it off until the bitter end and then procrastinate a few hours more hoping against hope that I’ll come up with something clever at the last moment.

Inspiration never happens. I always flounder around in the dark forgetting how to form an actual sentence. It’s a horrible but necessary exercise that I go through with each new writing project.

And yet here’s what the back cover copy would actually say if we were truly free to write exactly what we want readers to know about our book.

“Dear Reader,

Buy my book. It’s the greatest thing you’ve ever read. I know because I wrote it. I spent (insert number) weeks/months/years/decades of my life toiling over every single word to make it perfect. And it’s AWESOME! Even my mom said so.

I can’t tell you about the plot because I don’t want to give away the super secret ending that’s guaranteed to make you laugh/cry/scream in terror. But trust me, you’ll never guess what happens. Be prepared to be amazed.

So anyway, but my book because like I said, it’s awesome. And you’ll love it. I promise. And if you don’t, we’ll just keep that little tidbit between ourselves. Thanks.”

Now that’s the most honest back cover copy that you’ll never read it anywhere but here. The reason is simple, readers would never buy that book. As a reader, I wouldn’t buy that book but as a writer, I wish it was that simple.

Alas, nothing is ever as simple as you’d like it to be. So now I need to spend the next few hours struggling to write three paragraphs for my current project.  Hopefully, it’ll be brilliant!

Good luck with your own writing projects. May inspiration shine down upon us all!

Happy writing!

 

 

 

 

 

My Own Stupidity

I’m a pretty confident person. And usually, I’m a fairly smart individual. Not one prone to random bouts of folly nor known as a bumbling idiot.

I’ve been told that I’m a bit overconfident.

I don’t honestly think that’s the case. I simply think that I understand myself rather well and know that while I don’t tend to make a lot of little, trivial mistakes, when I do make errors, they are of an epic scale.

Some days you’re better off in bed.

I’m reminded of an incident several years ago when I was diligently editing my first completed novel. (This was well before I realized it was 200+ pages of worthless drivel, but I digress.) I remember that day very well, because I’d been working for about two hours on the project and felt like I’d made some real progress. And then, my stupidity got in the way.

I remember I was trying to finish up one last little thing before I had to leave for an appointment. You see, one of the characters frequently said “okay.” I noticed that for some of the entrees, I had typed ‘OK’ and others ‘okay.’ Trying to make all the entrees uniformed, I used the Microsoft Word feature Find and Replace to change all the ‘OKs’ to ‘okays.’

But I forgot one tiny, insignificant detail.

When using the Find/Replace option in Microsoft Word, there’s a small box that says ‘Whole Words Only’ or something to that effect. Guess which box I forgot to check.

In my haste that day, I completed the task (proud as punch), saved the updated copy, and went on my merry way. Imagine my surprise when I opened the file a few days later and found words like ‘lookay,’ ‘bookay,’ and ‘tookay.’

Do you know how many words have the letters ‘ok’ in them? A LOT! It seemed like hundreds.

I know, because I had used every single one of those words in that manuscript! I was still finding mistakes because of that bout of idiocy months later. Every time I thought I’d found them all, another would pop up. I honestly wanted to straggle my computer every time I opened the file.

Needless to say, I haven’t made that error since.

No, I don’t usually make the same mistakes twice. I merely venture off into entirely new areas of epic stupidity.

Case in point, I recently got an email from Go Daddy that one of my domain names was expiring and I needed to renew it. It’s one that I no longer use and have no reason to keep, so I let it go. No use in spending money on something that’s not needed, right?

Anyway, there was an email address associated with that account. Again, it’s not one I plan on keeping so there’s no problem with letting it go. This was as good a time as any to declutter things a bit.

A few days ago, I went to log into my Twitter account. My professional Twitter account that I use for promoting my writing and my blog. There was a problem. The emails they’d tried to send weren’t going through. I needed to change my password.

Still, no problem.

Until I hit the link to update my password and was informed that they needed to send a reset key to my email. You guessed it, the email they had on file was the one that I let expire. I’d forgotten to update my Twitter account before I lost the old email address.

Well, drats!

I tried emailing Twitter support explaining that I no longer had access to the old email account but was told they were unable to verify that I am who I say I am so they couldn’t help me. Now I’m completely locked out of my old Twitter account. I can see it. I can see my 3,000+ followers. I can see my 11,000+ tweets. I just can’t get to them. They’re stuck in some sort of internet limbo forever to taunt my momentary bout of stupidity.

I know what you may be thinking, 3,000 followers isn’t that impressive. There are people out there with millions of followers and far more tweets than that.

That’s very true, but for an independent author with a small fan base, 3,000 followers on any social media platform is huge. And like I said, it’s one of the major ways I promote my writing, so this mistake really hurts.

It’s not a completely hopeless situation. I’ve opened a new Twitter account (@authorjbduffey) and have begun posting new things there. Currently, I’m up to (drum roll please) 5 followers. Granted I only opened it yesterday, but it’s going to take awhile to get back up to the levels I was at previously. After all, I’d had the old account for about 7 and 1/2 years and had been very active for about 4 of those years.

Trust me, this is a mistake I won’t make again.

No, I’ll venture off into new, uncharted areas of stupid mistakes. That’s my modus operandi. It’s what I do.

And looking back, maybe it’s why I don’t worry, and sometimes don’t even notice, the minute challenges of any given day. Those are easily fixed and corrected. If you’ve spent all your energy on the major problems, the minor ones don’t seem as important anymore.

At any rate, I need to get to work rebuilding a major portion of my social media platform. Here’s hoping that I can avoid any major bouts of stupidity for awhile.

Happy Reading!