Writing Promotional Copy; the Struggle is Real

I sent my editor some copy to be incorporated into a larger release announcement due out later in March. It’s about the Project That Cannot be Named. Actually, it could be named and even renamed, which is has been, but that’s another story.

Writing the copy was brutal.

It’s a simple request. “Tell us briefly about how you got the idea for the story, or what you think is interesting about it.” Briefly. Tell us briefly, like in 250 words or fewer.

What I think is interesting about it? Honestly, how would I know? How would I know? I have some thoughts, certainly, but those were things that were interesting to me.

Promotional copy for your own work is hard. Author bios are hard. Writing about your own work with a marketing/promotional slant is a terrible ordeal, unless you started from a marketing slant and learned to tell stories later–and I’ve definitely read some books where I’m pretty sure that was the case.

I avoid “pitch-fests” and pitch parties diligently, in part because I always viewed them as teaching a splinter-skill that had nothing to do with storytelling or honing your prose. I’m reluctantly willing to admit they might serve a purpose. (I’m still going to avoid them as much as I humanly can.)

You know what I think helps the best with promotional copy? Your writers group and your friends. Lean on your alpha readers and your workshop for assistance. Even–or especially–your reading friends who don’t choose to write can help you. If they use reviews and cover copy to decide what books to read and they are analytical at all, they can help you.

In the case of my copy, my editor sent me links to several of their announcement columns. It didn’t ease the pain, but it gave me a good template. You can do this yourself by reading the Amazon market copy of books you’ve liked, or books put out by the publisher you are planning to market to, or the genre in which you tell stories.

All these things help, but it’s still hard work. At least, it is for me.

A serendipitous find when I googled “Female Sisyphus.”
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