I complain about my publisher a lot. It doesn't matter which publisher (and in the many decades I've been working, there have been many publishers). They do something I don't like, I complain about it. Since I have friends who are writers, I complain to them and they complain to me about their publishers and it all works out. If my complaints veer on hysteria, I complain to my agent, and if need be, she complains to my publisher, thus earning her 15%. And now, thanks to our friend the internet, I complain to all of you, without having to listen to your complaints or pay you 15%.
Since starting this blog, I know I've complained about waiting to hear from my publisher and waiting to get paid by my publisher. Those are traditional complaints, not worth anyone's 15%. I also probably complained about the jacket copy for This World We Live In, since it gives away a major portion of the last part of the book, for no reason except to make it easier for students to fake their book reports based on book jackets, if they still do that sort of thing, which they probably don't, thanks to our friend the internet.
But I don't remember ever complaining about the copy that my publisher sent to Amazon before. I do believe this is going to be a brand new complaint. A heartfelt brand new complaint.
It's the copy for The Shade Of The Moon, and to put it in simple, easy to understand, language, it stinks.
Release Date: September 3, 2013 | Series: Life As We Knew It Series (Book 4)
The eagerly awaited addition to the series begun with New York Times best-seller Life As We Knew It. Four years ago, a meteor knocked the moon off its orbit and the world changed forever. Seventeen-year-old Jon Evans is one of the lucky ones…he ended up in a Tennessee "enclave" instead of a dreaded "grubtown," where the government doesn’t even bother purifying the ash-polluted air. Despite the fact that his own relatives live in a grubtown, Jon buys into the idea of the innate superiority of "clavers." His worldview is upended, however, when he meets a green-eyed girl who believes in equality and vows to help right the world’s wrongs. Can Jon afford to be as idealistic as she is?
Well, I admit I do like that eagerly awaited part; that was pretty good. And the copy is kind of okay through the dreaded "grubtown," although I don't see any great need for the quotation marks (which get dumped a sentence later anyway).
But the rest. Oy, oy, and double oy.
Nasty government, not even purifying the ash-polluted air. Of course, the nasty government doesn't purify anyone's air. It's just in the enclave, buildings have air purifiers.
Nor does Jon buy into the idea of the innate superiority of clavers. He's not a Nazi. He accepts the concept that people who do more essential work are entitled to greater rewards. Nothing innate about it.
Then we bump into the green-eyed girl. While it's true, Sarah's the only character in The Shade Of The Moon whose eye color gets mentioned (most likely, she's the only character in any of my books whose eye color gets mentioned- you know me and descriptions), I don't think the color of her eyes is all that essential to the story. I gave her sandy hair too, but you don't see them mentioning that.
All right. The green-eyed girl believes in equality etc. It's not quite that simple, but I'm not going to argue. But couldn't the anonymous person who wrote this tripe come up with anything more dramatic than asking if Jon can afford to be as idealistic?
It would give away nothing of the plot to start (well, after that eagerly awaited part) by saying it's been four years, yet Jon Evans is haunted by the memory of people he has lost. Haunted is a nice strong word. Then you throw in the lucky one stuff, leaving out the purified air nonsense. Instead of casually saying his family lives in a grubtown, stress the difficulty of his living away from his family (and you know, it might not hurt to mention that family includes his sister Miranda, to remind people who exactly Jon is). Leave out the innate superiority, and put in something about Jon's insecurity, his knowing that he doesn't really belong in the enclave. Keep the green-eyed girl if you must, but instead of asking if Jon can afford all that idealism, mention that his family's lives would be at risk if he allows himself to believe as she does.
The cover shows burning buildings, for goodness sake. The copy should reflect some of that drama.
Hmm. Maybe instead of complaining to you, I should ask my publisher to let me rewrite the copy.
As the saying goes, it's better to burn a building than curse the darkness!