J … is for Jacket

J[1]  is for jacket.

The jacket of a paperback book is the outer covering, and on a hardback; it is the loose cover around the actual book.

An eBook does not by the nature of its publication have a physical jacket, but it must have the pertinent information found on traditional books. This is known as the ‘blurb’, or jacket blurb. It is that aspect of the jacket that I’ll look at today.

The blurb on the jacket is a follow up to the title and front cover. Just as those two items are important in attracting a reader’s attention, so too is the jacket blurb. On a physical book it will be on the back, but for an eBook, it appears on the screen, usually slightly further down than the cover graphic.

What should be included on the jacket information?

On physical books, on the front, we will have a title, perhaps a sub-title, author’s name, and a graphic of some description. On the spine we would expect to see; title, author’s name, publisher, and perhaps a miniaturised graphic. On the back cover we would find the jacket blurb, a price and a barcode. On occasion the graphic may be continued around the entire jacket, including the spine.

How much information will we find within the jacket blurb?

This depends on a variety of things. Publishers will have guidelines. The story will have one or more key characters and a plot to describe. The key is to give enough to interest a reader, but not tell them the entire story in brief. I aim for between 100 – 150 words. That may not sound like much, but any more than 150 words feels long when it’s being perused.

Rather than include my own jacket blurbs here, I will provide links, and then you my dear readers may, if you wish; check them out. My romance, “Ten Days in Panama” contains 158 words of jacket blurb. My thriller, ‘Beyond The Law’, contains 97 words of jacket blurb.

I’m about to head out on my blog patrol, but before I go, I’d like to thank you for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on … ‘K’

Tea, Breaks, and Inspiration

A couple of days ago, I constructed a new section in my website, titled: Tea, Breaks, and Inspiration, which at first glance might cause the casual observer to question the relevance to writing or art. 

Gaining inspiration in a castle, high above the Mosel River - Cochem, Germany
Gaining inspiration in Reichsburg Castle, high above the Mosel River – Cochem, Germany

Whilst out and about, whether on a shopping trip, a day away, or on holiday; I always carry a notebook and pen. Yes, always. Some passages in my novels and short stories were born during a tea or coffee break, either when out for the day, or on holiday.

A camera is useful, especially if on your phone, as I’ve discovered since buying my first Smartphone a few weeks ago. I have also been known to use a digital voice recorder. Having said that; I’m still convinced that nothing works quite as well as a few well-chosen words in a notebook.

You can be imaginative, or you can use Google and Wikipedia, but nothing captures the atmosphere, architecture, and general feel of a museum or other location, quite like the written word, dealt with, right there on the scene. On the odd occasion, I’ve been visiting a city and stopped for a few minutes, to write down what I see. People, vehicles, buildings, and the occasional snippet of conversation can be noted.

When I’m sitting with my tea or coffee in front of me … and piece of cake of course, I look at my brief notes, and top them up with a little information. I believe ‘real’ research gives creative writing an authority, and that can only come from the confidence of the writer.


What are you waiting for? Get your notebook, and go out for a while.