Flap Copy Case Study


Second Most Important Sales Tool: Flap Copy

come sunday by isla morley
Flap copy is the advertising copy on the inside covers of a book. According to a recent Publishing Trends article, it is the second most important selling point for books, especially fiction.

Yet, often, it is an editorial assistant who writes the copy.

In this interesting series of articles Publishing Trends reports on a case study of an FSG adult debut novel, Come Sunday by Isla Morley.

Some interesting conclusions:

  • Character & Promo. For readers under 18, focus on character details and brief promotional statements or quotes. Don’t make them work hard to figure out what the book is about; “cut to the chase.”
  • Catalog v. Flap Copy. FSG editor Sarah Crichton distinguishes between catalog copy and flap copy: “The catalogue copy has to appeal to potential reviewers and booksellers, whereas with the flap copy, this is your one chance to speak directly to the buyers and readers.”
  • No Magic Formula. Peter Hildick-Smith, of the Codex Group who conducted the study said, its still hard to predict which copy will do better. “Part of that is the crucial interplay between title/cover and copy, and part of it is the fact that one person can’t perceive anothers’ intuitive response to a creative message.”


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  • Anna
    May 12, 2009

    What can be done if the flap copy the editor shows you is truly terrible?

  • Darcy Pattison
    May 13, 2009


    That IS the question, isn’t it?
    Start by opening a dialogue with your editor, saying that you’re not sure this is the best flap copy. Then, listen to the reasons why s/he thinks it does work. Indeed, there may be good reasons for writing the flap copy in a particular way, reasons that you haven’t thought of. Offer to make some revisions. Discuss!


  • Anna
    May 13, 2009

    Thank you, that’s helpful. Sometimes when you are new, it’s difficult to know when it’s possible to discuss. :-)

  • Laura
    May 15, 2009

    Hi! I’m Laura, the editor of Publishing Trends and the person who wrote these articles. Anna, have you asked your editor if she’d let you try writing your own jacket copy? The editors we spoke with said that that is often the best way to do it–you know your book better than anyone else.