Daily Archives: January 4, 2012

The New Year and Flap Copy

I’ve never been good at corporate politics, and that in part explains while I languish in the lower decks  at Throwing Up Words, Inc. as a mere token male Junior Apprentice Co-Blogger.  It’s been brought to my attention that this is an actionable discriminatory situation in at least three categories.

Discriminatory Category #1:  Gender Discrimination.  Yes, I have suffered emotional and professional distress by being the Man about the BlogHouse.  You have no idea the number of sexist comments I’ve endured from Carol, Andy, and Kira.

Discriminatory Category #2:  Nepotism.  The three of you who read this blog may not know that Kira is Queen Carol’s princess (aka daughter), and her familial position has given her preferential advantage over me.  And it’s possible that that Carol is Andy’s grandmother, and that would explain why Andy is the COO and Vice Blog Mistress in Charge of Throwing Up Words and why I’m left scrubbing the decks without pay.

Discriminatory Category #3:  Ageism.  Neither Carol, nor Andy, nor Kira are my age.  Kira and Andy are a couple years younger than I am.  And if Carol were a few years older than she really is, she’d be older than I am, and I’m certain that when the Royal Bloggeresses of Throwing Up Words, Inc. get together to do their nails and gossip, that my age is a frequent topic of discussion.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve overheard whispered, giggling conversations like, “Look at him . . . he can barely manage that bilge pump,” and “Is he using that mop as a cane or to swab the decks?”

So one of my new year’s goals is to rise above the gender discrimination and nepotism and ageism and abuse and neglect and unfair treatment and overwork and lack of appreciation and lack of pay that are inflicted on me at Throwing Up Words, Inc.  I will embrace as my own 2012 mantra, the put-upon, downtrodden male disco anthem made famous by Gloria Gaynor.  Yes, “I Will Survive!” despite all that Carol, Andy, and Kira will do in 2012 to break my indomitable spirit.

While I’m talking about 2012, I’ll share four of my goals as Commander Carol has ordered us to do:

1.  read a book a week.

2.  finish the revisions as soon as I get my editorial letter

3.  finish a new novel by the first of June

4.  rid the world of cats

But on to today’s topic:  flap copy.

Flap copy is the content of the book cover flaps of your book.  Typically the front flap copy is written by your editor, perhaps with some assistance from the marketing folks at your publishing house.  Front flap copy is usually a plot summary told in a way that entices readers to open the book.  You don’t have to worry much about front flap copy except, well, that you first have to finish a book before any front flap copy can be written.  Back flap copy is a different matter because it’s usually written by you, the author, with assistance from your editor and the marketing staff.  If you’re a rookie or an unimportant writer (that is, if you have the clout of a Junior Apprentice Co-Blogger) your bio-note will be brief and mugshot-less.  If you’re a bigshot, fabulously wealthy and famous Author, your bio-note will include a photo and a list of your previous big books and their awards and other stuff about you.  In the off chance that you will one day rise to such prominence, I offer some advice about your future back flap copy:

1,  Do NOT use a cheesy glam-shot of yourself.  Nor should you use a gag-shot.  Too many author mugshots look like posed airbrushed colorized photos of mannequins.  Unless you are a mannequin masquerading as a human being, avoid such photos.  Likewise, avoid stuffy posed photos of yourself gazing into space with your chin resting on your fingertips.  Likewise avoid weird and silly photos of yourself chasing lambs on the barren Canadian Tundra.  Likewise avoid photos of you with your flock of children and/or grandchildren and/or flock of dogs or cats or fish.

2.  In the flap copy itself, you should include a personal detail or two, mention of other books you’ve written and other jobs you’ve had.  It’s not unusual to also mention whether or not you’re married and whether or not you have kids.  But do NOT fall into common trap of ending your backflap copy with a mention of your pets.  Not only is such mention an obvious bow to PETA and their army of book reviewers and buyers, but it’s irrelevant.

Imagine, if you can, if the actual backflap copy for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that ended like this, “Ms. Rowling lives in Edinburgh with her daughter.” were instead “Ms. Rowling lives in Edinburgh with her daughter, her hairless Sphynx cat Noodles, her herd of Scottish Shelties, and a pirhana named Wanda.”  Who CARES if an author has a pet or pets?  What can pets possibly add to a book’s qualities?  And how is it relevant or interesting to readers that you choose to share your abode with grimy, drooling, smelly, shedding creatures?

So, please, keep the livestock out of your backflap copy.  Leave the beloved pets in the pasture, kennel, or pound where they belong.  If animals can’t READ flap copy, they have no business being mentioned in your backflap copy bio.


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