Help me figure out my Back Cover Text!

So to get the big news out of the way, iUniverse sent me my book proofs yesterday. These would be electronic proofs — don’t do physical proofs for some bizarre reason.

Anyway, here are my initial thoughts on the cover/interior:

The Good:

  • title looks super cool
  • spine looks super cool
  • back cover looks professional
  • interior is freaking awesome

The Bad:

  • they randomly stretched my author photo sideways so I look oddly disproportionate
  • the back cover text they tweaked from the original version I gave them is poorly written
  • the silhouettes on the front cover are terrible – the girl is fine, but the guy looks like an overweight balding man – plus he randomly has a shiny silver pistol (this is a sci-fi story, people! they don’t have pistols!)

As you can guess, I am fairly concerned about “The Bad”. Most important to fix are the silhouettes, obviously, since they are on the front cover, but most annoying to me is that they stretched my author photo. What could possibly possess them to do that? If they needed it to fit a certain width, they could have just cropped the top and bottom. It makes no sense. Did they think no one would notice?

Anyway, this is just the first draft (I get one more), so I will make up a list of all my revisions and send it to them. And then the cover will be perfect! Or else!

Moving on to the real reason I called you here …

So as I mentioned above, the back cover text they “revised” is mediocre at best, so I had to re-write it. I’m going to share with you my version of the back cover text, so please let me know what you think! I haven’t sent it in yet, so changes can definitely be made if you find something you don’t like.

High school junior Eris Miller thinks she’s having a bad day when her roommate’s boyfriend  catches her stepping out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel. Then she gets abducted by aliens, and her day suddenly gets a whole lot worse.

After being forced to drink a vial of glowing blue liquid, Eris is knocked unconscious. When she awakens, she discovers that she is imprisoned on a spaceship. Her abductors are menacing six-armed reptiles with a strange fondness for the color blue, and their captain is straight out of Eris’s nightmares. Her only solace is in her fellow captive, a wise, fluffy-haired alien named Miguri. But just as Eris begins to fear she will never see her home again, fate lands her in the arms of Varrin, a handsome space pirate who promises to deliver her safely back to Earth. He claims to have her best interests at heart, but Eris soon discovers that her rescuer has a devious hidden agenda.

Join Eris on her thrilling journey across the galaxy as she struggles to save her planet, her life, and her heart from the clutches of imminent danger.

Thoughts? Opinions? Comments?

Unrelated image of the day:

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Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

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48 thoughts on “Help me figure out my Back Cover Text!

  1. Michelle, did a graphic artist do your cover for you or did you do it yourself? If an artist did it, you should be able to get him/her to change the size of it. Anyhow, I’m glad you caught this!

    • There’s a cover design team doing it, so I will definitely be getting them to change the photo. I just don’t understand why they would change the proportions in the first place!

  2. Hi!

    A couple of suggestions:

    This line: “Her abductors are menacing six-armed reptiles” sounds like six-armed reptiles are being menaced by her abductors, rather than her abductors ARE six-armed reptiles. I think you can lose the adjective, since abductors are, by nature, menacing.

    This Line: “Her only solace is in her fellow captive, a wise, fluffy-haired alien named Miguri” interrupts the flow of the paragraph. I believe you can lose that line for the blurb and let readers discover the character when they read the book.

    I also think you reveal too much about Varrin. Let us be surprised when we find out he is not what he seems.

    Am I overstepping my bounds if I do an edit on the whole blurb and paste it into a comment? That’s what I do for a living (minus the pasting into comments bit), so it can’t hurt. Blurbs about one’s own novel are really hard to write without a little help.

  3. here is the one change I would make:
    “After being forced to drink a vial of glowing blue liquid.”
    I would change to:
    “After being forced into drinking a glowing vial of a mysterious blue liquid.”

    But that’s just me. Kudos to you on your book and I hope they fix that pic of you!

    • Ah, the infamous “to drink” vs. “into drinking” debate! (Yes, I know that’s not a thing, lol). Hmm … interesting. I’ll have to run it by my mother/editor/manager and see what she thinks. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Advantages always come with disadvantages… Good luck with your book and be as critical as you are already 🙂 It helps and will make your work come out as the best!

    • Ain’t that the truth? 🙂 Thanks for the luck! I’ll definitely need it. And I have a feeling the people at iUniverse are getting annoyed with me, because I keep making them change things, lol. Then again, I’m only asking them to change things they really shouldn’t have done in the first place, so that’s all right, right?

  5. I’d change this line to: “But her day suddenly gets a whole lot worse when, on the way back from astronomy class, she gets abducted by aliens.” (i.e., save the punch line, getting abducted, to the end of the sentence)

    I think you should call them lizard-men instead of reptiles, or people may think “crocodile” (i.e., they crawl).

    Is there any other kind of hidden agenda than a “devious” one?

    • Yeah, I just threw “devious” in because I didn’t know what else to put. I could just take it out. And we shall discuss these changes more when you return home, my lovely.

  6. I believe there should be a comma after “High school junior.” I’m sure it should read, “High school junior, Eris Miller, ….”
    And if you want to keep this part, “Her abductors are menacing six-armed reptiles,” then it can be changed to, “her abductors, menacing six-armed reptiles, …” so it doesn’t sound like her abductors ARE menacing a group of six-armed reptiles.
    By the way, they stretched my author photo to. I asked them to fix it but it didn’t get done, and I wasn’t paying for another round of revisions … so I’m wide in the photo.

    • Oh man, they did that to you too? What’s with that? Well, I’ll put it on the proof form, and if they don’t fix it, I’ll show them the proof form and demand that they do it right, lol. I can be really pushy when I need to be. Plus you don’t have time to spend hours on the phone badgering them due to you having an actual job, whereas I’ve got all the time in the world.

      I like your second suggestion – I might just use that. As for the comma in the first sentence, I don’t think it’s actually necessary. I can’t say that 100% for certain, of course, but the iUniverse people wrote that part of the summary, so I assume they know what they’re doing. Then again, they used the word “immediately” twice in the second paragraph of the summary, which is plain bad writing, so maybe I shouldn’t take their advice after all, lol.

  7. Ouch on the bad, and congrats on the good.

    I’m no good at that sort of thing, so can’t help with back cover text.

    You’re getting there. You’re close.

  8. Here’s my 2 Euro cent:

    ”High school junior Eris Miller thinks she’s having a bad day when her roommate’s boyfriend catches her stepping out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel. Then she gets abducted by menacing six-armed alien reptiles with a strange fondness for the color blue, and her day suddenly gets a whole lot worse.

    Just as Eris begins to fear she will never see her home again, fate lands her in the arms of Varrin, a handsome space pirate who promises to deliver her safely back to Earth. He claims to have her best interests at heart, but Eris soon discovers that her rescuer has a devious hidden agenda.

    Join Eris on her thrilling journey across the galaxy as she struggles to save her planet, her life, and her heart from the clutches of imminent danger.”

    The blurb in the middle about the aliens is just confusing, to my eye. I think cutting it all out, and leaving a bit more ‘mystery’, is the way to go.

    No matter what you choose, best of luck! I have zero knowledge of graphic design so I can’t help you with the photo problem, unfortunately. Looking forward to hearing how it all goes for you!

    • Ooooh! I actually really like what you’ve done with this. Interesting … I’ll have to run it by my mother/editor and see what she thinks.

      Actually, the original back cover blurb I wrote was super vague, so as it leave everything a mystery. But the iUniverse people evidently thought it was too short / not detailed enough. And they’re supposed experts, so I am tentatively trusting their judgement. But I really like your version! I will probably steal it. Please don’t sue, lol.

      • Hey – take it, if you like it! I’d be honoured. 🙂 Maybe I should be an editor, instead of a writer… *wanders off to ponder life choices*

        • Can’t you be both? Just different sides of the same … (trying to find a book-related substitute for “coin”)

          bookmark.

          That was terrible. I apologize.

    • I like this one, but my only addition would be taking the bit about ‘Join Eris’ out of it. I’ve never read a book where the back blurb was actually talking to me, and it felt a little weird. Maybe just make it, like, “Eris is on a thrilling journey across the galaxy, but she will have to struggle to save her planet, her life, and her heart from the clutches of IMMINENT DANGERRRR.”
      Or something like that. xD
      As a side-note, I love writing back summaries. They’re actually the first thing I do when I come up with a story idea. I wish that by itself was a job–I would be boss at it.

      • Yeah, I’m not sure about the “join Eris” bit either. I stuck it in there because I wasn’t sure what else to write. I’ll have to tweak it to make it sound less … lame, lol.

        • xDD Nothing about this awesome book sounds lame! Either way, everyone else had some good suggestions, so I was saved a lengthy post. Whoo! (So lazy I know, but it seems you’ll have a lot to wade through anyway.) Also, sorry about the cover. xD I like how they got everything else except like, all of the majorly important parts. WELL. Better luck second time around!

          • All I can do is make a list of all my changes, and hope they actually do them. If not … I guess I’ll be spending a lot of time on the phone complaining, lol.

            • Exercising your right to complain! I like it. But hopefully they’re smarter than that. xD IF you think the guy looks like a big bald guy, I’m sure other people will, too. Then nobody wins, because I do not fancy trying to read the book and imagine the hot main love-interest with a picture of a big bald dude on the cover cramping my style. 😛

              • The most ridiculous part is that they’re SILHOUETTES. They don’t even have to be attractive. They just have to be generic young people dancing. And they give me a balding pot-belly guy. Lol. I actually did find the photo they got the silhouette from, and the reason the guy looks like that is because he’s got a shaved head and he’s wearing a really baggy shirt. But they really should have known that it wouldn’t translate well into a silhouette. Sheesh.

  9. Michelle, I nominated you for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Go https://mariwells.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/the-next-best-thing-blog-hop/
    To learn more.
    Will read your post in a few. 😀

  10. I’m so happy for you. I have nothing to add. 😀

  11. I agree with breaking up that long paragraph. One of my friends was just called out on the comma before the name. She had to remove it.

  12. High school junior Eris Miller thinks she’s having a bad day when her roommate’s boyfriend [extra blank space is hiding here] catches her stepping out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel. [Out of curiosity, why does someone in high school have a roommate? Is she at a boarding school?] Then she gets abducted by aliens, and her day suddenly gets a whole lot worse.

    [You’ve already covered her abduction in the first paragraph, so you don’t need to detail it again.] Eris’s abductors are menacing, six-armed reptiles with a strange fondness for the color blue, [interesting] and their captain is straight out of Eris’s nightmares [bland; specifics are better]. Her only solace is in her fellow captive, a wise, fluffy-haired alien named Miguri. [Is he very important? If so, you might mention why he’s important/interesting. “…a wise, fluffy-haired alien named Miguri who knows the secret of making a perfect chicken tandoori.]

    But just as Eris begins to fear she will never see her home again, she lands in the arms of Varrin, a handsome space pirate who promises to return her safely to Earth. He claims to have her best interests at heart, but Eris soon discovers that her rescuer has a hidden agenda. [bland. Can you spice this sentence up with something more specific? What makes her suspicious of his intentions? Something more like, “He claims to have her best interests at heart, but Eris finds his repeated inquiries into the balance of her bank account a bit suspect.”)

    Join Eris on her thrilling journey across the galaxy as she struggles to save her planet, her life, and her heart from the clutches of imminent danger.

    [I can’t wait to read this! It sounds like fun!]

  13. I looked it over and then read some of the comments. I like what SJ O’Hart has done. Clear, concise, and gives just enough info to cause me to open the book in my standard method of deciding whether or not I’m going to buy a book (I know, for me, anyway, if the blurb on the back cover doesn’t intrigue me, I’m not going to open the book – I think you accomplished this nicely with your revision, and SJ O’Hart streamlined it). All in all, very nice.

    • I hope I can be as streamlined and intriguing with the back cover blurbs of my own books! 😀 But then, I probably won’t be working with content as strong as that which Michelle provided. 🙂 I can only do my best.

  14. Looks like you’ve already got lots of useful feedback on the text so I won’t add any more – I hate writing blurbs too – much worse than books.
    Like the unrelated image – think I need to learn that so I can sing it in the bath. Does it go to any particular tune?

    • Hahaha not a clue. I just found it in Reddit and linked it here. I think it’s meant to be a joke poem. That being said, if you do come up with a tune for it, I suggest you upload it to Youtube. I think people would get a kick out of watching it.

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  17. I’m too late to offer any constructive criticism, Michelle, but I would definitely put my foot down on your picture and the other “bads.” These are things that shouldn’t be too hard for them to fix. Besides, you are too cute to stretch!

    • Hahaha I will have to use that argument when I talk to them.

      Actually, I do have news on the cover, and it’s ridiculous. So they *did* fix my picture and aligned everything, which is great. What they *didn’t* do is make a silhouette from the new image I sent them and stick it on the front cover. Instead, they took the rough mockup of a silhouette I did in illustrator (which I made so I can see what the figures in the photo would look like in silhouette), and they stuck THAT on the front cover. They also shrunk it 25% from the original version for no apparent reason.

      Gotta say, I’m really not very impressed with the iUniverse graphic design department. Sheesh.

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