Sep 17

We have reached that part of the project where I am finally posting what most people would consider to be the actual book part of the book, by which they would mean: The Introduction. Chapters. Etc.

We’re done with the packaging, the excusing, the thanking, the congratulating, the greeting, the Buy-Me-Take-Me-Home part of the ordeal. We are back where I was in mid 2005. I had signed a contract in January of that year to write a book about traveling abroad for plastic surgery and dentistry and medical care; but I did not really start working on it for a few months, because it took that long for my publisher to actually write me a check for the first half of my advance and I was otherwise sort of broke, or at least broke enough that I couldn’t afford to do the travel I needed to do for research until I saw some money.

I finally sat down to start the actual writing of BFA in June of 2005. I wrote an introduction. Then I wrote another introduction.

I hated them both, and I started panicking. What had ever made me think I could write a book?

Finally, I retraced my steps. I reread the original proposal I had written for the book, which I had liked, and which my agent had liked enough to represent me, and which my publisher had liked enough to give me an advance.

And I found the right tone, and the third try at an introduction was … well, you know. It was fine.

Introduction: How I Got My Smile Back

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Sep 17

bfa-frontThe jacket copy of a book, I’m told, works hand-in-hand with the covering. It is Point of Sale (POS) marketing. The cover and title (and perhaps the author’s name) are what make a prospective book buyer pick a copy off a table or a shelf.

Never mind the other things that POS can stand for.

Anyway, the idea is … you, the reader, are browsing in a store and pick up a book that looks interesting. If it still looks interesting in your hand, you might flip it over and read what’s on the back jacket. If it STILL looks interesting, you might read what’s on the book flaps.

Then, you’ll either buy it or put it down and move on. Unless you’re the author, in which case you might try to arrange the book or books so that they stand out better among the thousands of other books in the store, at least until some employee comes along and undoes your work.

Publishers have not yet figured out much about online bookselling and take all their cues from Amazon, which is making it up as it goes along. Here is the Beauty from Afar page at Amazon. There is no jacket copy, really. There are a bunch of nice reviews, though, and none of them was written by my mom.

I am feeling like this site wouldn’t be complete without at least some photos of the original jacket copy. Continue reading »

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