This was first published in March of 2015. On our countdown of Most Read Blog Posts, it’s number 2, in which we look at something every hardcover book has: the jacket flap.
There is an aspect of book writing and publishing that folks don’t talk about much, but is actually quite important: what is called flap copy. Flap copy is the brief description of the book that appears on the inside flap of the book cover. There is also the bio. And there is copy on the back of the book.
Consider how people select a book to read. The title. The cover. Very important. And very often they read that flap copy to see what the book is about, (subject matter) the kind of book it is (science fiction, mystery, romance, etc.) and perhaps the style (funny, sentimental, scary) and so forth. It is key in helping the reader decided if they are going to read (buy? borrow?) that book.
Who writes that copy? Generally speaking it is the editor who writes it. Sometimes someone from the marketing department does. Often, but not always, that draft is shared with the writer. Do I like it? Do I think it gets the book right? Do I approve? Want to change it?
Remember, one has only a few words in a small space.
There have been times I have had very little to say or suggest. There have been times I have rewritten that flap copy entirely. Today I received flap copy for my collection of short stories, The Most Important Thing, which will be published (Candlewick) in 2016.
It was fine, but there were ways I thought it could be smoother, a bit more engaging. So I worked on it, sent it in. The editor felt it was improved. It’s another example of the collaborative nature of publishing but a facet rarely mentioned. But, oh, how important!
But it’s always worth making a flap.