The Old Coot pans book jackets

If you are a reader like me, or if you buy books for others, you are confronted with the old adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Although I’m forced to admit that a good cover catches your eye. Lures you in to have a look. There is usually a blurb (sales pitch) about the author. Often with a mug shot, to pull you in further.

Inside the front cover is an intro to the story line. The back cover is “Blurb City.” Highly enticing adjectives – “Suspenseful!” – “A mystery that will have you gasping!”  – “The first time the secrets to a successful Internet business are revealed!” – “Funny!” – “Hilarious!” – “You’ll fall out of your chair laughing!”

This overzealous promotion is followed by a collection of positive comments from famous authors, Stephen King for example. He wades in on horror books. I’ve never found his comments to match what I experienced when I followed his recommendation.

You get less of a sales pitch when you shop on-line for an eBook or Kindle. Eventually, it dawns on you; those positive blurbs don’t hold up any more than a politician’s promise. Or Big Pharma’s promise of great health, if you just open wide and swallow, first the sales pitch, and then the pill.

I chuckle at all this hoop-la when I look for a book. But, even I’m guilty of it. I published a novella (short novel) a few years back, “Mystery on South Mountain.” It was on sale at Riverow Bookshop in Owego, N.Y. until the supply sold out. It’s only available now on Kindle, priced at $2.99.

I checked the listing after I wrote the first draft of this article to see if I was as guilty as other writers. I was. My blurb claims the storyline is comparable to the movie, “Stand by Me” (which, incidentally, was based on Stephen King’s short story, “The Body”). My promotion is somewhat of an exaggeration; especially since I sent a copy to Rob Riener, the producer of “Stand by Me,” and haven’t heard a thing. Don’t expect it to open in a theater near you anytime soon. 

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