The text on the back of your book or the blurb that publishers put in ads or promotions for your book can influence people to buy...or not.
In a mailing I received today I found a couple of examples of blurbs that leave a lot to be desired. Surprisingly, the books are by successful authors, published by a major publisher (HarperCollins). Here's one, for Born Bad by Marnie Riches:
Manchester’s criminal underworld is shaken to the core when gang leader Paddy O’Brien is found bleeding by the poolside of his sprawling Bramshott mansion. So begins a fierce battle for the South Side, with the leading Manchester gangsters taking the law into their own hands - even when they have to play dirty to win...
Wait a minute, isn't taking the law into their own hands what gangsters do all the time? And is it rare for them to play dirty? I'm sure the book is better than this description.
Here's another one, for The Secret of Orchard Cottage by Alex Brown:
April Wilson is hoping to piece herself together after the loss of her husband with a visit to her elderly great aunt, Edith. Arriving in the rural idyll of Tindledale, Edith seems to have lost interest in her home and the surrounding orchard completely, desperate to find out what happened to her sister who disappeared during WWII.
As April begins to unravel the mystery of the missing Winnie with the help of the enigmatic Matt, she slowly feels things coming to life again - but can Orchard Cottage work its magic on her too?
The second sentence makes it sound like Edith, not Alex, arrives in the rural idyll of Tindlledale. It seems strange that Edith is just now getting around to wanting to find out what happened to her sister, who disappeared during WWII. Finally, if Orchard Cottage is where Edith lives, its magic hasn't worked very well, since the old lady has lost interest in everything. And if Orchard Cottage isn't where Edith lives, where is it?
I'm sure the book explains all of these, but if the blurb is confusing we probably won't bother to buy.
It's likely that these blurbs were written by a junior staffer, but I hope the authors are paying attention and make some changes.