Here’s the flap copy for the Pajama Girls of Lambert Square. (*two changes made since first posting*) Does it make you curious, or would you move onto the next book on the shelf?
When Julia Darrow’s life in Chicago falls apart, she moves to small town South Carolina and opens Cocoon, a shop specializing in luxury linens. Five years later she’s satisfied with the life she’s made for herself: Cocoon is doing very well; she wears designer pajamas all day, every day; she’s got a houseful of foster dogs; friendly, efficient if quirky employees, and all the other Lambert Square shop owners to occupy her. Julia has no interest in going anywhere.
John Dodge grew up an army brat and he’s still a rover: the idea of sticking to one place gives him hives. He makes a living moving around the country, fixing up small businesses on the brink of disaster. The newest venture to capture his imagination is an odd little shop that specializes in collectible pens located in a renovated printing plant in the deep south. He arrives in Lambert Square on a sunny fall day, and on his first morning he runs into belllicose fishermen, curious tourists, a former underwear model who is now the no-nonsense mayor, a dozen friendly new neighbors full of advice on how to clean his bathtub and where to go to church, and Julia Darrow, walking across Lambert Square, in pajamas.
When he goes to Cocoon to introduce himself, Dodge ends up spending a fortune on linen and asking Julia out to dinner. He takes her refusal in stride, but he also comes away with the distinct sense that there’s something going on with this woman from Chicago, something below the surface that she never lets anybody see. He is warned, right from the start:
Don’t set your sights on our Julia. She’s shut up tight as a Chinese puzzle box, nary a seam to be seen.
But Dodge likes puzzles, and he’s really good at fixing things.
There is a collision in the making, and all of Lambert Square is watching.
It sounds compelling, wonderful and intriguing. I would love to read this unique novel.
I’d purchase it. I look forward to seeing the clash between a guy who wants to “fix” someone with someone who, I’m assuming, doesn’t want to be fixed.
LOVE it. Unreservedly.
Maybe it’s because I don’t typically read flap copy and therefore, am not familiar with how lengthy they may be, but I thought it seemed long…my mind started to wander when I hit John’s paragraph, got drawn in again at the third paragraph and then I went back and reread John’s to finish it in its entirety.
That said, once I did read it, I was intrigued and would not want to pass it up. Really looking forward to this one!
Yes, I’d buy it. The bathroom-cleaning line would cement it for me.
I hope collision is spelled correctly in the last sentence.
What about the fish and the bird? If it’s on the postcards, I’d expect a tie-in on the back cover.
This is being really picky, but I’d add Cocoon to the first sentence…”opens a shop, Cocoon, specializing in…” I had to reread the first couple of sentences to make sure Cocoon was the shop’s name.
This blurb has done more to make me interested in reading the book than anything else I’ve read about it.
The bits and pieces I’ve seen from this site are interesting, but they didn’t grab my attention the way the details have been shared through the flap copy.
I like the characters – I really liked the “When he goes to Cocoon” paragraph. That felt more like the start of the flap copy, with more on Cocoon interspersed perhaps, taken from the first few paragraphs.
Overall, it seems long – like it’s going to run to the back cover flap as well. Is that a sort of standard in contemporary fiction to see it run from front to back? I just don’t technically know, is all.
But the “when he goes into” para – maybe because it’s action oriented, not retreating, but proactive, it made me want to know what he’d discovered – that would make me read the first page. Back story often doesn’t make me read first pages, just because I’ll read the book if I want to know more. But that’s me. (I’m shrugging – to each her own).
I am in the same boat as Soup Fink. This is the best thing I’ve read on your blog that makes me interested in reading this book. That said, I thought it was a little long too. But I’m not sure what to suggest should be cut. An editor, I am not.
I do know that switching to John’s paragraph made my mind swirl. The lack of a transition didn’t work for me, although I know this is a popular way to write the flap copy.
I was confused about Cocoon too. I like asdfg’s suggestion.
I cant really say why but it didnt really grab my attention. Maybe because it seemed long, I’m not sure. I’ll be buying the book though.
I think it’s better, somehow, now. I like Julia’s intro , seems cleaner. In John Dodge’s paragraph, I stopped reading after “rover” and skipped down to “bellicose” – my eye skipped – I just was reading more of the same until I hit bellicose.
When I do read flap info, I usually stop reading after getting attracted to one or more of the characters described, or to the action described. I guess I didn’t need to know more after hearing he was an army brat and still a rover. But the info about Lambert Square was interesting and news from there on. (I think I’m just odd)
I will buy the book – but I really don’t read too many contemporary novels – I’m used to the sci fi flaps that really grab you with action and mystery paragraphs.
sorry I think it seemed long too. Mostly just John’s paragraph. It was the third paragraph that grabbed my attention. that’s the one that got me interested.
This sounds like a very good book that I’d like to read. Ju8st have to wait til little New Zealand gets it.
I know I’ll probably come off as a snob by saying it, but I think most people won’t know what the word bellicose means. Perhaps a replacement is in order? I know they’re not exactly the same but what about belligerent? People know belligerent. Quarrelsome? Argumentative?
I would suggest experimenting with changing the tense from present to past simple.
Finally, I’m not quite sure if I should say it because it does stray into the realm of the nitpicky and I’ve already reached my quota–but I think the first paragraph contains the word she’s too much.
Well, after that flap, I’m sure that I will buy it! Even staying current with your blog, I really wasn’t sure what the book was about so now I can’t wait!
Are you sorry you asked?
Norma — not sorry at all. Really what I needed to know is if the idea of the story interests y’all as readers, and I got a good sense of that.
As far as the length is concerned == as many of you mentioned it — I was following the model I was given. If you saw what I started with, you’d see how far this version has come.
Suggestions about lexical choice, etc (bellicose, for example) are all useful.
Rosina, it sounds like fun, something I’d want to buy and read. I’ve already got plans of hot cocoa by the window (in pajamas) reading this story.
I’ll just echo a few of the other’s comments by saying that it interested me in the story more than anything else I’d previously read. The story and characters sounds really great, and it has that essence of “chick-lit” that I’m always looking for. I would definitely grab it off the shelf.
Having said that, I did have to push myslef to read it through, only because it seemed a bit wordy for a blurb. Seems like it could be edited to be a bit more spare yet keep the punchiness.
I would hate for you to lose potential readers just because the cover flap blurb was too long…
I loved the content. Wanted to move to Lambert Square right away and shop at Cocoon and the store with collectible pens.
And any small town that you wan wander around in your pjs gets my vote!!!
Synopsis was very intriguing and I’m voting that John ends up staying in the town with Julia – enough wandering – the town sounds so wonderful.
Was not confused by Cocoon being the shop’s name.
Can’t wait for the book!!
I especially like the first and last paragraphs, but I don’t find the cover particularly compelling. The top is interesting, but pillows seem tame.
November 4, 2007
The book sounds wonderful and reading what I just did has made me very desirous of obtaining the book as soon as it comes out. Good Luck, I have been telling all my friends about your books.
I agree with other commenters that the blurb seems a bit too long. My attention wavered at the lack of intriguing action. As fun and quirky as the town sounds, my sense is that those are the details that could be trimmed out. I’ll read the story because I’m interested in John and Julia. You can always get somebody to comment on your book for the back cover (something like, “set in the quirky town of Lambert Square, where such-and-such quirky thing happens, Pajama Girls is full of intriguing characters.”). Also, I wasn’t confused about Cocoon. Can’t wait to read the book, Rosina.
Hi Rosina, I saw your book reviewed in this week’s Pub Weekly. When your book comes out, I’d love to have you on my blog, The Pajama Gardener. Seems like we might have some things in common: I live in pajamas and my novel, Orange Mint and Honey, also comes out in February.
Carleen — thanks so much for the heads up, I didn’t realize the PW review was already in print.
I’ll have a look for your novel. Great title, by the way.