Cover Copy Fail

Writing cover copy is tough, much tougher than you’d believe. I’ve been paying extra attention to it recently.

LibraryThing released its new list of Early Review copies today so people can sign up for a chance to get a freebie in exchange for a review.  I wonder if in a couple of cases, the publishers might want to tweak their cover copy a bit.

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t find any reference in the copy about the medieval queen mentioned in the subtitle.  Fail, much?

Defending the City of God: A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusale by Sharan Newman (Palgrave Macmillan)

Description: Jerusalem sits at the crossroads of three continents and has been continuously invaded for millennia. Yet, in the middle of one of the region’s most violent eras, the Crusades, an amazing multicultural world was forming. Templar knights, Muslim peasants, Turkish caliphs, Jewish merchants, and the native Christians, along with the children of the first crusaders, blended cultures while struggling to survive in a land constantly at war.Defending the City of God explores this fascinating and forgotten world, and how a group of sisters, daughters of the King of Jerusalem, whose supporters included Grand Masters of the Templars and Armenian clerics, held together the fragile treaties, understandings, and marriages that allowed for relative peace among the many different factions. As the crusaders fought to maintain their conquests, these relationships quickly unraveled, and the religious and cultural diversity was lost as hardline factions took over. Weaving together the political intrigues and dynastic battles that transformed the Near East with an evocative portrait of medieval Jerusalem, this is an astonishing look at a forgotten side of the first Crusades.

I know enough history to know Eleanor of Aquitaine went on crusade with her first husband, Louis of France, so wondered if she is the queen mentioned. Erm, still wondering!


Maybe this next one is a case of, if you don’t know, this isn’t your book anyway, but I read the entire copy wondering wtf an English wheel is and never found out. Their title made me want to know, and I don’t even care about cars! Not that I would have actually bought the book, so maybe this fail isn’t a major one. But still?

Learning the English Wheel by William H. Longyard (CarTech Books)

Description: Despite the fact that thousands of English wheel machines have been sold the past ten years there is currently no book dedicated to English wheeling. Owners of these machines are at a loss on how to really use them because of the lack of detailed published material. This new book from Wolfgang Publications covers all aspects of English wheeling, from making your own wheel to learning the basics, from fabricating high-crown panels to reverse flares. The photos used through the book serve to illustrate both what makes up a good English wheel, and how, exactly, to use an English wheel. Side bars and interviews done with famous wheelers and fabricators from around the world help to give personal insight from the best of the best. As a serious auto hobbyist, long-time student of the English wheel, published author and retired shop teacher, William Longyard is ideally suited to finally lift the veil of missing and mis-information regarding the best and most productive use of the English wheel.

How much attention do you pay to cover copy, anyway, when you’re buying a book? Are you more likely to read the beginning of the book to decide whether to buy, to judge the book by its cover, to go by word of mouth? Does cover copy ever influence you at all?



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5 responses to “Cover Copy Fail

  1. denise

    I do like to read cover copy and hope it interests me.

    I’m going out on a limb, but an English wheel is probably designed specifically for English-made cars? Possibly ones that are no longer in production. lol. Or even carriages.

  2. William Longyard

    Your opening statement is correct. “If you don’t know, this isn’t your book.” An “English wheel” is a highly specialized tool that turns flat sheets of metal into auto body panels with compound curves. Using it is an art form. The machine may not have been invented in England before WWI, but the English became its greatest practitioners in the 20s and 30s and thus the tool became known as the “English wheel”. The bodies of Britain’s greatest cars…Rolls, Jaguars, Aston-Martins, etc, were all made using English wheels. That’s one on the cover.
    Still curious? Buy the book!

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