Just now on Twitter I came across possibly the most perfect line of copy I’ve ever seen: the revamped cover from Atheneum/S&S Children’s of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret contains the tagline “Growing up is tough. Period.”
If you’re not familiar with the book you probably weren’t a preteen girl post 1970 and you also might not know that this, perhaps the most perfect book I read in all of elementary school, is about a girl trying to figure out her religious identity while facing the many struggles of puberty. (I read it young enough that it was my first introduction to what was coming my way, and I remember having to ask a lot of questions, including interrupting a roomful of people to loudly ask my mother what a sanitary napkin was.) The copy is coy enough to not offend, except perhaps those who already try to get the book banned for being honest about complicated things, and you can hardly market to that crowd. It cleverly alludes to the contents for those of us who grew up with it and might need to go snag some Judy Blumes on the way home to re-read this weekend or give to any preteens we know. And it’s smart since it gets people talking—when I googled it to find the cover image, I saw that the sites that covered it when the new editions were revealed all acknowledged it.
Writing any kind of marketing copy is hard. As agents, we have to draft it for our pitches to publishers when trying to sell books, and as rights director I often have to write it for foreign or audio submissions (either because it’s too early for publisher-generated copy or because different markets will need a different approach). It’s one of the toughest things about a query letter or a sales pitch.
So when it’s just right, well, I think we should all give kudos where they are due. Congratulations, Atheneum, because that’s a stroke of genius.
Ever seen any book copy that made you sit back and take notice? Share the brilliance with the rest of us below, please!