Chasing Flap Copy

I’ve read them all – on plot, beginnings, middles and ends, writing life stories, memoir, personal essays and whatever falls in between. Writers of these books have been prolific with general guidance and “how to”  described in no uncertain abstract terms. Finally, I succumbed to just one more read on the memoir subject. “Writing & Selling Memoir” by Paula Balzer was the best read, most practical and user-friendly book I have found on the matter. I already choked on the first exercise, “write your own flap copy.” Uh, huh. Balzer writes, “Since flap copy must give potential readers a sense of the story, its tone, and the overall direction of the book in a very limited amount of space . . .” I had a challenge. Since I first drafted “Under the Birch Tree”  a little over 10 years ago, the memoir has evolved from a story that is sensitive to human nature to imagery and references to aloneness which lead to finding a home no matter where I was (enter the birch tree).  Back to the flap copy. Writing this copy to a compelling and concentrated synopsis has been the biggest lesson for me to grasp. Balzer goes on to say a publisher relies on the hook to capture the essence of the story. Publisher? The hook? How is my hook, anyway? As far as a publisher goes, my goal is to write the best memoir I know I can, for me.  And in the meantime I will continue to chase flap copy.

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