Evocative Characters. Intriguing Crime. Compelling Stories. From Peg Brantley.
Friday, April 7, 2017
The One, Two, Three Punch
My thanks to friend and reader, Pat Easter, who got my head wrapped around this.
You're in the crime fiction section of your favorite bookstore (physical or cyber), and are trying to find something to read for the weekend. Whether you're on the beach in warm sunshine or in front of a blazing fire, you're looking for a book that can transport you (and make you forget the client who is demanding a full report first thing Monday morning).
FIRST, it's the cover. You should be able to tell if it's a cozy or something darker. If you see pinks and teals and are looking for a thriller, it's a good bet this won't fill your needs. Cover designers are savvy, but some (even professionals) miss the boat. Still, this is the first punch. Either a book cover wins by ducking it, or the game is over.
But let's pretend you spot a cover that looks promising. What's the SECOND thing you do? If you're me, you flip the book over and check out the BACK COVER COPY. The Blurb. The few words (100-150) that spotlight the novel without giving it away. Whether an author is self-published (responsible for everything) or traditionally published (shared blame) the author often writes these words.
I suck at this part. I've even received a review from a reader who said she enjoyed the book much more than she thought she would based on the description. Yep. I wrote both.
So that's the second punch. Let's get really crazy and pretend the back cover copy didn't totally turn you off. In fact, it sort of intrigued you.
What's the THIRD thing you do? You flip to the first page.
This is where it gets especially dicey. I mean, the cover got you to the back cover. Wow. And the back cover was good enough to get you to thumb to the first page. Sometimes, if you're feeling generous, you read the whole page. But often you read the first few lines. That's all.
Are you gonna like this story? Are you gonna like the way the author writes it?