Category Archives: copywriting

10 Books to Help Improve Grammar and Writing Basics

Posted by September 28th, 2015

Penguin editor and YA author Meg Leder offers the Book Country community a terrific tool: a list of excellent books on grammar and writing basics. Stock your personal library with these guides to grow both your confidence and your craft as a writer.

writing guides collage

Books on Grammar Guidance

Worried your writing is rife with grammar and spelling errors? These great guides will help you polish your work.

  • Woe Is I by Patricia T. O’Conner: Down-to-earth guidance that de-mystifies the confusing world of grammar, spelling, and pronunciation.
  • Words Into Type, Third Edition by Marjorie E. Skillin and Robert Malcolm Gay: Definitive and credible source for writers on manuscript etiquette, copyediting, style, grammar, and usage.
  • Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies by June Casagrande: If you’re tired of the grammar police but still need to learn the basics, you’ll love this humorous and lively approach to learning grammar. Also check out the author’s other book, Mortal Syntax, for another fun guide—this time on frequently attacked language usage choices.
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White: This classic style manual is a must have for any writer.
  • Literally, the Best Language Book Ever by Paul Yeager: A wry and opinionated examination of trite, trendy, grammatically incorrect, inane, outdated, and lazy uses of words, phrases, and expressions.
  • The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn: A dynamic manual for both newbie authors who want to learn the ropes and writing veterans who want to hone their craft.

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VIDEO: 5 Mistakes Every Writer Should Avoid

Posted by September 21st, 2015

Become a savvier author in 15 minutes!

In this video tutorial, editors Meghan Harvey and Christina Henry de Tessan share the 5 Mistakes Every Writer Should Avoid:

  1. Don’t forget your reader.

  2. Don’t fly blind.

  3. Don’t rush the process.

  4. Your editorial team is on your side.

  5. Don’t wait to build your audience.

Take a seat and get schooled on how you can avoid these mistakes as you work to reach your writing goals.

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Judging a Book by Its Cover: What Copy Is and Why You Should Care by Julianne Clancy

Posted by July 25th, 2014

Copywriting- Julianne Clancy

Just a few of the titles Julianne has worked on!

I am a copywriter. This is not to be confused with a copyeditor (who makes sure the gods of grammar are not angered) or a copyrighter (which I don’t think is a real thing, but I assume would be someone who enforces copyright law). I’m the person who writes what’s on the covers of books and retailer websites. Continue reading

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The Top 3 Entries from Our About the Book Contest

Posted by March 26th, 2014

winner-about-the-book-contestThanks to all who entered the About the Book contest on Book Country! We’ve deliberated and are ready to announce the winner. But first, we have our judge, Berkley copywriter Carly Hoogendyk, workshop the top three book descriptions. Her dissections are a great way to polish your copywriting skills! Carly wrote a fantastic back-cover copy writing guide a while back — be sure to check it out if you missed it before!

***

Runner-up #1

fishing-for-hopeFISHING FOR HOPE by William Byers

This novel is a love story set in the south that derives from the perspective of three brothers. A tragic car accident occurred on Christmas Eve and claimed the lives of their wives. Each brother, living their separate life, must find a way to cope individually as well as find the strength to continue raising their daughters. This is a story that touches on brotherly love and will fully define the true meaning of what a father-daughter relationship can be under extraordinary circumstances.

First of all, based on the content of this copy, this sounds like a touching story and a worthwhile read. Unfortunately, the style of the copy suggests that it might not be told in the most compelling way. My biggest pointer is to give specific examples and details instead of just presenting the content. When it comes to book copy, the storytelling begins NOW.

That said, always include specific details like your character’s names. The story essentials will vary from case to case, but you will want to consider including character particulars like a hometown, job, foibles, and personality traits.

One unspoken rule of professional book copy is to not overtly refer to “this novel” or use the phrase “this is a story about.” In the same way that creative writing suffers imaginative losses when an author “tells” rather than “shows,” your copy ought to illustrate the characters/events/setting of your story, rather than coldly present the facts about the book you wrote.

Thus

This novel is a love story set in the south that derives from the perspective of three brothers.

becomes

On Christmas Eve in a small southern town, three brothers lost their wives in the same tragic car crash.

Instead of using the phrase “told from the perspective of…”, a fun trick to use in copy when a novel is told from the POV of multiple characters is to devote separate copy to each of those characters’ stories, suggesting that the story will focus on specifically one person’s desires, challenges, etc. If all three brothers have their own storyline, it’s important to give detailed insight into what makes their stories (and potenitally their voices) different.

(For a great example of how to suggest alternating POV’s in copy, take a look at copy for nearly any romance novel.)

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Enter the About the Book Contest for a Chance to Win Our Discover Publishing Package!

Posted by February 25th, 2014

about the book super finalWe all know how important that cover copy can be in selling a book, whether it is a physical book jacket you’re reading or the “About the Book” entry on an eBook retail site. To help you fine-tune your description—and attract more readers on Book Country—we’re launching the About the Book Contest!

How to Enter:

Describe your book in the “About the Book” section on Book Country and enter the URL of your title’s Book Details page in the contest form. (Hint: The page URL for your Book Details page is in the address bar at the top of your browser.)

instructions

Don’t have a Book Country account but want to enter the contest? No problem! Create an account for free, upload your manuscript, and enter the contest.

The Prize

The writer of the best “About the Book” description will win a Discover Publishing Package ($249), a fantastic eBook publishing option that includes services such as eBook formatting and cover design help, BookStubs and Marketing Copy Polish.

Important Dates: 

Contest begins today, February 25, 2014. Entries must be received no later than March 18, 2014, 11.59:59 PM Eastern Time.

Contest Criteria

Entries will be judged on writing style, clarity, grammar and book premise/originality. If your book were already published and you could glimpse at the back-cover copy, what would it say? Put that in your About the Book section on Book Country!

Need some tips on writing an original and intriguing book description? We recommend that you consult professional copywriter Carly Hoogendyk’s blog post on how to write an “About the Book” for insider tips.

Good luck!

 

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