Wednesday, February 03, 2016

of blurbs and author bios and other stuff

I woke up at 4.30 this morning. I had to wake up. I was having really annoying dreams. And as I've been thinking about Zuzu's Petals this week (because someone blogged about it) and because there was a copy in the bedroom, I read it until I got up.

It was an interesting experience after all this time. And I enjoyed it. There were quite a few phrases and sentences I wanted to cut, and a few verb tenses that weren't quite right, which neither I nor the publisher had spotted. Most surprising was the fact that a child had a different name in one chapter. The thing that surprised me most, though, was the last sentence in the author bio at the back:

Sue Hepworth is addicted to sweet peas and romantic comedies but no longer thinks that everything in life has a happy ending.

I wrote that. It was 2007. I obviously forgot in the interim, because every time something happens that isn't a happy ending I am appalled. Again. You've seen what a fuss I make about things. I came across a quote recently from Matt Haig:
 "To write you need a thin skin. To be published you need a thick skin.."

Writing author bios is hard, but successfully writing the blurb for the back cover of your own novel is nigh on impossible. I just got an excited email from a friend who has a new publisher:


and I have to tell you that this friend is the least capital-lettery person I know.

When I had to write the blurb for ZP  I couldn't decide how much of the story to give away. In retrospect I think the quote on the back was a mistake because it emphasised the humour. Actually, I hate the whole blurb. The only bit that rings true is the ending, and even then I'd cut out the "funny":

Funny and delicately observed, Zuzu's Petals is a tender, compelling story about family, friendship and different kinds of love.

And the pink frilly cover still offends me. I have hated it ever since I saw it. I particularly hate the bimbo. That's the reason I don't have it on the side of my blog with my other book covers. 

The best thing about publishing your own book is that you can choose the front cover. The one for But I Told You Last Year That I Loved You has been a resounding success, as has the title. I wonder, though, about Plotting for Grown-ups. I'm not sure the title is enticing for people who don't know Plotting for Beginners, and I'm not sure about the black heart. Dave warned me about the significance of a black heart but I brushed his comments aside, as he never reads my books, and his idea of style is decidedly dodgy (see yesterday's blog post.)

Today we woke up to pretty snow on the limestone edge behind the house, but because I've been reading ZP, my heart is in the Pennines further north - Wensleydale. Here is one of Rosemary Mann's pictures - sheep above Hawes:

Thank you, Rosemary.

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