Friday, June 17, 2011


In the world of books, retail practice has shifted seismically over the

past decade. Today, getting your sales blurb (or 'pitch') right has never
been more important. But the traditional art of jacket copy is changing.

                                    Now, publishers (and self-publishers) need to think not only about who they are pitching to, but where they are making their pitch. Most books have
very different blurb on the physical cover compared to online. And what
about physical book versus e-book? Or web-based versus e-readers? No wonder
it can be confusing!

Tips for writing traditional cover blurb: Helen Bolton, Assistant Editor,Avon

For traditional jacket copy, sadly, you only have a handful of words to
make your mark. Length is key, with 100 words being the golden number. This
will ensure that your copy is punchy, direct and pacey. This isn't a hard
and fast rule of course - historical titles, for example, usually need to
be a bit more context which will always increase the extent.

The shoutline is also important. Although not essential, it's an easy
signpost for your reader that needs to set the scene and provide intrigue
in just one sentence. This is a good rule of thumb to bear in mind for your
copy as a whole - you should summarise without revealing too much,
contextualise whilst whetting the appetite, and of course, introduce the
characters who will take centre stage. Every single word of your copy needs
to earn its place on the jacket, so choose carefully and don't get too
bogged down in detail.

Tips for writing online pitches: Sam Hancock, Digital Publishing Manager,Fiction

                           Sales copy has shifted in its central purpose: excitingly, through our new
digital channels we are able to communicate directly with our consumers,
meaning the copy we provide to them is of paramount importance. Marrying
search value, key word density with concise, forceful and creative copy is
the name of the game. People expect to consume content online rapidly, so
the first few lines of copy are of incredible importance and should aim to
sum up the essence of the book - they can be make or break in terms of a
potential sale.

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