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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How are you at writing back cover copy for your story? Most fiction writers don’t train for the advertising biz, and yet we’re expected to come up with log lines and blurbs and back cover copy. Recently, I read another author’s blog where she talks about optimizing your bio and cover copy for search engines by using keywords. Huh? And here I thought my profile was pretty good. As for cover copy, I can never come close to the witty style my former publisher used to promote my Bad Hair Day mysteries. I can write the story, but condensing it into a few lines that are entertaining while employing keywords is beyond my scope. Here is one area where I’m glad to get editorial input.

Let’s say we’re writing a mystery about a produce grocer who operates a booth at a weekday morning farmer’s market. When one of the other vendors ends up dead, suspects may include mutual customers, rival vendors, conniving relatives, and snarky suppliers. To make it easy for me, we’ll set it in Florida. So what would our keywords be here?

Amateur sleuth
Cozy mystery
Culinary (especially if vegetarian recipes are included)
Florida

I’m sure you can come up with more keywords. Anyone want to pitch in?

Now let’s have a go at the cover copy:
Before he can take a bite out of his organic Gala apple, green grocer Jimmy Octagon notices a commodity not on the menu at the farmer’s market. Normally a beehive of energy, honey seller Aldreshia Meyers is dead as a turnip over by the onion stand. With the mayor threatening to shut down the market and Jimmy’s vendor license on the line, he’d better find the killer fast or else he might become the next victim of the lethal Green Menace.

Okay, I warned you I’m bad at this, didn’t I? Note that I neglected to use a single keyword. Why don’t you give it a try?

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