“Until you can put what your book is about on the back of a business card and have that thoroughly memorized and internalized, you don’t know what your book is about or why someone would want to read it and you’re not ready to pitch it” I was once told by a wise friend with far more writing and publishing experience than I had in 2003.
For this kind of reading collection, it’s not easy to answer the question directly. What’s a volume of an encyclopedia “about”, or an almanac?
I can tell someone on the elevator why I wrote the book. I can tell them what they will find in it and what I hope they will bring from the reading of it. But the question as it comes most commonly from browsers at a book fair table is “What’s it ABOUT?”
I know with Slow Road Home, I learned more of what the book was about from my editors and readers who didn’t stand so close to it as I had for so long. Their perspective from a distance helped me see patterns in it all that I had missed–the ground under my own feet I was not able to see.
* This back cover blurb has morphed since I threw this in-concept version together–lost the bounding box, changed the font, justification and what it says in some small ways. Constant motion–until the blessed moment when it is out of my hands and in the printer’s. Soon.