Spinning straw into… more straw

For those of you following along at home, here is an update on my progress with the self-pub ebook. First of all, thanks to a little help from my friends, I have a title:

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
Lunch with Imaginary Friends and Other (mostly) True Stories

I love it. The cover designer I hired is hard at work on a cover and I should have something to show you all in about a week. But I can tell you right now, this guy “gets” my sense of humour and I’m very excited about the concept we discussed and can’t wait to see the final product.

Which brings us to that dreaded necessity:  The Blurb.

A blurb (or product description) is not an easy thing. I’ve written a couple for friends and I tell you, it is damn near impossible to be persuasively concise about a 100,000-word story. But to summarize a book like this that doesn’t even have a plot, let alone a protagonist and antagonist? What is there to say? How do you convince people to even consider buying it?

I looked at descriptions of similar books for ideas. But I just can’t see how it would be helpful (or, you know, legal) for me to describe my book as:  “A delightful collection of essays from NYT Bestselling author Lisa Scottoline…”

And it’s not like I’m going to have reviews from Publishers Weekly or Library Journal to help me out. Or cover quotes from famous authors saying how much they loved it. Or… anything… else.

I figure all I’ve got going for me is my writing. And if that’s not enough, I’m doomed no matter what. So I sucked it up and wrote a blurb and coerced asked my daughter and five imaginary reader friends to give me feedback. And you know what? Every Single One of them said something different. All very helpful, mind you, but no overlap in opinion AT ALL.

This was daunting as hell.

So after much thought and even more brutal bloody cutting of words, this is what I’ve got:

This is the space where I’m supposed to tell you why you should buy this book. Honestly? I have no idea.

This book is a compilation of the best of several short essays I wrote over the course of the past five years. Mostly, they’re funny. A few are a bit more introspective. But ninety percent of this content is available over on my blog. Of course, it’s scattered among more than 200 other posts and you’d spend an awful lot of time sorting the wheat from the chaff over there.

So there’s one reason — I’ve already saved you at least five hours and a massive headache by gathering the best of them into a collection. Plus, there’s that ten percent no one has ever seen before. Which might be for the best, but still.

What’s that? You want another reason? Um… well… oh, I know! Pictures! This book has pictures. Or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Some of them hand-drawn by Yours Truly.

Oh, you want a compelling reason? Of course you do. Hmmm. Well, you get to meet the characters who populate my real life:  my son (DS) and my daughter (DD) and Quincy the Wonder Dog (QtWD) and the cat (the cat). Also, The Dog’s Favourite Person (to whom I am no longer married) (it’s okay, we’re friends now) and all of my awesome Imaginary Internet Friends (who are not as imaginary as my kids seem to think).

If that’s not compelling enough, maybe you’ll be convinced by early reaction from others, which has been… emphatic, if mixed:

“Woohoo! Hooray! About damn time you published something. We get free copies, right?” -My Imaginary Friends

“That’s lovely, dear. Is this going to be a real book? I’ve never read an ebook.” -My Mom

“Yay, mom! That is awesome. Wait. You are going to mention me in the acknowledgements, aren’t you?” – My Daughter

“Mom. I thought we agreed that you’re not allowed to talk about your blog in public.” -My Son

I should mention that there is mild profanity in this book, just as there is in my life. If that kind of thing offends you, please consider buying something else to read. Really.

Then again, you might decide a wee bit of profanity is to be expected when you’re telling (mostly) true stories. Like the one about the time my air conditioner died in the middle of an epic heat wave. And the time I woke up to find blood all over the kitchen floor. And there was the time I called the police when one of my Imaginary Friends went missing. Plus, OMG, BEARS!

But I guess you’ll have to read it and decide for yourself. Go click on that “sample” button over there and I’ll just sit here with my fingers crossed that you might end up wanting to read the entire thing. And maybe even want to share it with your imaginary friends. Or, you know, your mom.

So… tell me, would that make you want to buy this book? Or am I doomed.

14 Comments

Filed under publishing, self-publishing

14 responses to “Spinning straw into… more straw

  1. Merry the stuffed

    Why is my ipad hiding the comment box? Argh!
    Yes, I would buy it, nut then I enjoy your sense of humor and like your writing

  2. Merry the stuffed

    Seeee? That typo was caused by the lil’ipad :(

  3. Wait. I thought it was your iPod that was lost in hiding.

    Hmmm. I suggest you look under the lil’ipad.

    And thanks.

  4. cbpen

    I LOVE it!!! :)

  5. Melinda VanLone

    Yes, that blurb would do it for me :-). I’m sold!

  6. Thank you, Pen and Melinda! I know this is “just” an experiment, but I really do want people to enjoy the book and think it’s worth reading. It’s more nerve wracking than I expected, being the one in charge of all the details and making final decisions about stuff. But at the same time, it’s a lot of fun.

  7. F.L.

    Yes! I like it, and I would buy it! I’d buy ANYTHING you wrote, however…maybe I’m starting to sound like a broken record. Can’t wait to purchase my copy! :o)

  8. jenb

    It is GREAT! Perfect…
    One question about e-books…can I buy the book and give it as a gift to others?

  9. FL, you’re making me blush. Thank you, I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

    Jen, yes you can give ebooks as gifts. I’m just not sure how, exactly. Never done it. I think you need the email address of the recipient? There’s a button on Amazon (not sure about B&N) that says “give as a gift” Hang on…

    Okay, I just tried it (without completing the transaction) and you fill in the person’s email address and the date you want it delivered and you can even type a message to them. Pretty cool.

  10. I should also point out that this ebook is NOT going to have DRM, so if you want to share your copy with other people, you can. I’ve never done that either and have no idea how it works, but I don’t think it’s difficult.

  11. McB

    Of course he gets your humor. What’s not to get?

  12. me

    Ooh, I like it. A gentle yet slightly warped sense of humor. Can’t wait to get my very own copy. I’ll even pay for it. :-)

  13. Lou

    Of course I’d buy it – I star in part of it (I’d buy it anyway).

    One teeny suggestion: Instead of using two sets of () in this:
    (to whom I am no longer married) (it’s okay, we’re friends now), use a dash and make it like this: (to whom I am no longer married – it’s okay, we’re friends now).

    Sorry… picky…

  14. Oh, McB, you’d be amazed by how many people I manage to offend on a regular basis who really just do not get it (I’m so grateful that you all do). And yes, ME, slightly warped is exactly right. Thanks for being willing to pay, but if any one of you wants a free copy, for whatever reason, just say the word.

    Lou! Finally, we have two people who agree on something! Although I can’t remember now who else objected to that… I did consider changing it. But to me it’s sort of an aside to an aside (part of the quirkiness of my voice) and I like that they’re separated that way. I know, probably it’s a case of me being stubborn and wrong-headed, but I still like it. And yes, you are featured prominently. As you know.

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