Back matter matters

by Doc Coleman on March 3, 2014 · 18 comments

in Novels, WIP

In the full court press to get The Perils of Prague ready for publication, I’ve had to deal with a number of new experiences. One of which is figuring out the cover. I’ve done covers for a couple of my short stories in the past, but those were only e-books. For Perils, I’m planning on also having dead tree copies available. This brings up an entirely new dimension. You see, physical books have back covers. And since they have them, I have to figure out what to put back there.

prague charles bridggePart of that is artwork, and for that I’ve retained the services of Starla Huchton to help me out. The other part of the back cover is the text, what is known in publishing as “back matter”, and that is something that I’ve just begun to think about. So much of writing focuses upon the craft of good storytelling, we tend to forget about some of the practical issues of publishing until they are quite literally forced upon us. Unfortunately, I don’t have a terrible lot of time to think about it if I still want to be able to launch this book at the end of May. Since the text and the image can have an impact on each other, the sooner I figure out the back matter, the easier it will be for Starla to help me come up with a suitable cover design to show off my book.

I’ve never tried writing back matter before, and I have to admit that the blurbs I have written for my short stories have been on the abysmal side of things. So, I’ve been playing around with a few ideas to try to get a feel for this process. I’d like to know what you think, dear reader. Here’s the first one:

The first act brought the house down. Literally.

When an evening’s entertainment unexpectedly leads to the destruction of the State Opera House of Prague, the eccentricity brilliant Professor Harmonious Crackle and his beautiful assistant Miss Titania Bang must team up with the Duke of Prague’s nephew and hunt down the evil genius responsible for the destruction before he unleashes another devastating weapon to terrorize the city and threaten the stability of the British Empire, and the Eternal Empress herself!

In a race against an unknown menace, this intrepid trio must search high and low and discover The Perils of Prague!

That one sticks pretty close to the story line but I’m a little concerned that it doesn’t give enough of a view into the background of the world I’ve created. That made me come up with this one:

Pax Britannia.

Victoria, the Eternal Empress, has sat on the throne of the British Empire for over 150 years. Her policies have brought peace to the world, and where that has failed, her Imperial Troops with their lightning rifles, have swiftly brought order. But there are still those who chafe at the yoke of peace.

In the British Protectorate of Bohemia, one such villain has violated the peace with the destruction of the State Opera House of Prague. Now the brilliant Professor Harmonious Crackle and his beautiful assistant Miss Titania Bang must team up with the Duke of Prague’s nephew and hunt down the culprit before he devastates the city and threatens the stability of the Empire, and the Eternal Empress herself!

In a race against an unknown menace, this intrepid trio must search high and low and discover The Perils of Prague!

So which would make you more likely to pick up the book? Is something missing? Is there something that you particularly like? Should I pay Starla some extra bucks to write my back matter for me?

What is it about a book blurb that makes you want to read the book? What is going to intrigue you enough to make you willing to gamble your money? I really want to hear everyone’s opinion. Don’t afraid to be critical. That criticism is the insight I need. And don’t be afraid to voice your opinion just because others might disagree.

Thanks!

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