DIY Journal: Sales Copy Production

A problem I will have as I write short stories going forward, is coming up with sales copy for each of them. What I mean by sales copy is the back cover blurb. If I write a short story a week, I’ll need a lot of these blurbs. While they’re not necessarily hard to write, they can be time consuming at least.

This is more of a process post–me thinking out loud about how I’m going to handle this.

First, a few basic rules of sales copy:

  1. Short sentences. Small paragraphs.
  2. Use only active verbs.
  3. Don’t use contractions. (See what I did there.)
  4. Only use information from the first page or two of short stories, and only the first chapter of novels.

It takes me anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour or more to write a sales copy blurb. They usually end up only a hundred or two-hundred words, but they take so long to write because of the four rules above. That, and they have to be snappy and appealing to potential readers. So these take extra thought and care.

The short stories will go through the rounds at magazines at first, so I won’t need sales copy for them at first. I considered maybe putting off the sales writing until I’m ready to self-publish. But then I’d have a ton of copy to write all at once, which doesn’t sound fun at all. Better to do them one or two at a time.

Also tying into what I wrote about last week with tracking IP, it’d be a good idea to document each story after I’ve written it, including the sales copy it will eventually have. This helps me a lot in other ways. I have trouble remembering stories after I’ve written them. Granted, I only need to read the first page or two to refresh myself enough so I can write the sales copy. But I also need to add genre, categories, and tags for each story. I can document those while I’m at it.

So assuming I finish a short story by Saturday, on Sunday I’ll spend half an hour or so filling out my template to document all the metadata on the story. By that point, or preferably before, I’ll have the story sent out to the first magazine.

By David Anthony Brown

Indie writer and publisher. Among other jack-of-all-trade skills...

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