Tips On Tipsheets

January 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

The New New Yorker
by Courtney Hilden
I spent the day working on tipsheets. Tipsheets is a bunch of marketing information, all together, to make selling a book easier. What makes writing a tipsheet hard is not the writing so much as the rewriting. In the process of writing a tipsheet, I’ve been asked to write at least ten descriptions and at least ten sales handles for the same book. You write the first one and it is fine. Easy. Then you write the second one, and it is a little harder, because it has to be original, because it has to be new, because it has to be different from your first. For a while, it keeps getting harder, because it is a process of elimination: you are eliminating more of the things you can reasonably say about the book. You start to say daring things, borderline inappropriate things, things that might be controversial. Maybe the supervisor will not like this, but then again, maybe he will; afterall, controversial sounding books sell better than boring ones. So you keep writing, keep fighting the urge to give up and say “I have written it four/six/eight times now; surely that is enough.” And then something strange happens. It is like something in your mind clicks, like your brain has its seat belt on, now you can go for a ride. And you are off, writing all sorts of things about this book, remembering details, finding new, interesting, yes, controversial ways to write about this book, and then you realize you have exceeded your quota; you are done.

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