Cover Copy: Choose Your Favourite

One of the most valuable things a writer can obtain is the opinion of readers prior to publication. (After that it’s called a review, and there’s not much you can do about it.) And consider how fortunate I am to have a group of Guaranteed Reading People right here! Reading! Caught in the act!

Eduard Klieber (Kopie nach Meyer von Bremen) Lesendes Mädchen 1855
Book one, sock nil.

On this particular occasion, the valuable opinion I would like to acquire is your view on the short description and cover copy for the upcoming publication of Amiant Soul. The short description (30-60 words) is just what it sounds like: a short description of the book, designed to appear on book websites and make people think “oo, I would indeed like to Read More.” The cover copy (100-150 words) appears on the back cover of the paperback – ebooks being notably deficient in back covers – and also in sundry places around the internet where attention spans are likely to exceed the handful of seconds required to read the short description.

Below you will find three of each, and I am eager to know which of each three is your favourite (and why, if articulable), which phrases you particularly like or dislike, any improvements you think of – any feedback at all is welcome, thank you!

So, with no further ado…

Powell, stage magician (SAYRE 8843)
Doves?? Did I say a dishrack of doves? What kind of trick is this?
Short Description 1

Ghost has no brother, no kin, no tribe. A trial with the legendary Three Men, adventurers for hire, is his only chance to find his own people. But when their search for a vanished princess collides with his missing past, he must decide what price he’ll pay to belong. And his is not the only soul at stake…

Short Description 2

Murders on the great Road, the merchants said. Arsons. Abductions… When a dying man disrupts quiet village life, tribeless foundling Ghost takes his chance to join the legendary Three Men in their search for an abducted princess. But what they uncover is a threat to every living soul.

Short Description 3

Ghost has no brother, no kin, no tribe. A mission with the legendary Three Men, adventurers for hire, gives him his one chance to leave his outsider life and seek his own people. But when their mission and his lost past collide, he must decide what price he’ll pay to belong.

A painting of a man silhouetted against an undulating sand dune.
Cover Copy A

He has no tribe. He has no home. He has no name.
The villagers call the grey foundling Ghost, and turn their backs on him as he grows into a solitary man.
When death opens a vacancy with the Three Men, legendary adventurers for hire, Ghost knows this is his one chance to seek his people, his tribe, his place in the world—to finally belong.
Summoned to find a missing crown princess, the Three Men’s mission takes them across the continent and into a world wider than he’s ever dreamed. Yet through it all, his missing identity keeps rising like a ghost from his unknown past.

Cover Copy B

In a world of tribal kinships, Ghost is a man without a tribe, without kin, and without even a name to call his own. When the quiet of the backwater village is shattered by the arrival of the legendary brotherhood of the Three Men, adventurers for hire, Ghost seizes his one and only chance to leave his outsider life and go searching for his tribe.
The Three Men have been summoned by the Queen of Souls to find her disappeared daughter—her only child, and heiress to her power. Ghost’s trial with the brotherhood takes him across the continent and into a world wider than he’s ever known.
Yet he never sees a face akin to his own, until the day when his missing past and the search for the missing princess collide. Now Ghost must decide what price he’s prepared to pay for a brother of his own.

Cover Copy C

Murders on the roads, they said. Arsons, and abductions too.
Ghost is an outsider with no tribe, no home, and no name, living on the edge of a quiet backwater village. Then a dying man comes in the door, and everything changes, for he is one of the Three Men—a legendary band of adventurers, trackers, bodyguards, smugglers, and even occasional assassins, if you believe the stories.
Death opens a door and Ghost makes his escape, joining the Three Men in their search for a missing crown princess, while still silently seeking the name he’s never had, and the tribe he’s never known.
But there is more stalking the great Road than fear itself. To find the princess and his own identity—before the twin losses collide in a spiral of treachery, magic, and death—Ghost must pass through fire, body and soul.

10 Replies to “Cover Copy: Choose Your Favourite”

  1. For the short description, can I be a nuisance and suggest that you use A, but replace the word ‘trial’ with ‘mission’ (as in the quite similar C)? I think A reads a bit clearer than C, but the word trial immediately brought a courtroom image to my mind, which I don’t think is what you are intending.

    For the cover copy, I think I favour A over the other two, but I can’t sensibly articulate why.

    The book look like a great read, at any rate!

  2. Short text: prefer a then b then c. Is this a preference nothing more than for novelty? Oops I hope not.
    Longer text: prefer 3, because it has more of the setting and less of the plot development. And I prefer how it describes the Three Men.

    1. An excellent question! The original round of cover images wound up with the creepy dude under the tree coming second, but the one that came first turned out to need a lot of skilled editing which makes it a non-starter. But then there was this image. It’s not photorealistic like previous cover images, but…I don’t know. It doesn’t really say “fantasy”, but the typography could help with that.
      What do you think?

  3. The excitement is mounting! So glad you’ve reached this point in the process! To answer your final question, I think your trusty cover-type friend could work wonders with that picture, but as you say, it doesn’t scream fantasy.
    I agree with Joanna’s comment on the short summary, and also prefer that one.
    And for the longer cover copy, I think I like the final one, for very similar reasons as Des. Some of the word choices, like ‘crown princess’ sit better with me than ‘only child and heiress’, for example. All the best 🙂

  4. Short description: I like #2 most, because it suggests a story different from others the reader has seen before, and reads like a movie trailer, straight into action. #1 second

    Cover: I like C most, although there are several bits of B that appeal, such as “disappeared daughter”, and the last two lines. The first line of C seems redundant, even though it fits well in Short 2.

    Glad to see you’ve reached this point.

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