UPDATED: Would this Silent Sorority book description (distilled with reader input) lead you to pick up the book and crack open the spine? And is the book something you might pass along or refer to relatives or friends who are not steeped in the infertility experience?
Silent Sorority explores a topic that has been virtually overlooked since the dawn of the infertility industry (now $3 billion in the U.S. alone): what happens when miraculous conception and delivery do not occur. For 7.4 million Americans infertility will thwart their attempts at parenthood. The narrative is based on the author’s experience arriving at the little discussed and difficult fourth path out of infertility. While three of the four well-trod paths — successful fertility treatments, adoption, and donor eggs or sperm — have been covered at length, the journey that ends child free is no less easy to navigate. This outcome has been obscured further by the most recent books published under the “infertility banner” (Embryo Culture, Waiting for Daisy, The Baby Business), all of which have been authored, paradoxically, by mothers.
The book relates how a couple who did not allow family building to take a backseat to career motivations moves beyond the dogged pursuit, the go-for-broke efforts to try to make a baby driven by love-stoked primal urges and compounded by the seductive marketing of fertility clinics and the well-meaning but empty platitudes of friends and family. Their experience is further complicated by a pervasive and generally celebrated “cult of Mommy.” Through this book readers will see up close and personal infertility’s collateral damage. Nothing is ever the same once a couple learns their branch of the family tree ends with them. Relationships at all levels are thrown into turmoil and the fragile female and male egos shatter. It is only through the understanding, compassion and fellowship of women who are also in treatment that the author finally begins to come to terms with her condition.
Original post: Ah, the wonders of the Internet. With your valuable feedback and comments I see how I was giving my book the inadvertent shaft. I see my initial book jacket copy was too antiseptic in one way or abrasive to the other extreme. I had lost much of the personal aspect of the story. The very real drama didn’t come through. I’m going to take a page from MLO’s proposed punchier copy and go back to the drawing board. After devoting the past 26 months to getting the manuscript polished I don’t want to hamper it out of the box with the wrong synopsis language or tone.
As Beagle and others pointed out the audience outside of those in the infertility community is, in many ways, the more important one. I don’t want to alienate or give these important folks reason to pass on the topic. It’s their very understanding and interest in the topic that’s needed. I want them to want to learn more.
I have a very simple question associated with this post. I’m working on my book jacket copy as part of my efforts to pull together materials for agent representation. My objective is to reach a wide audience — those who don’t have any firsthand knowledge of infertility as well as those who do. Many thanks … I’m off to refine the jacket copy to better reflect the story.
January 26, 2008 4:57 pm
absolutely — very compelling. (of course a challenge will be selling something that doesn’t have the traditional societal “happy ending.”) I think this book is sorely needed not only in the i/f world but to open the eyes of others as well. bravo. ~luna
January 26, 2008 6:12 pm
I can’t speak for the non-infertiles or even former infertiles, but yes of course I would read it!!!
January 26, 2008 6:23 pm
I’m loving the name, it’s brilliant. Seriously. But while the copy’s very very good and definitely will pull some people in, it’d be more likely to pull me in if it was written a little more from the heart. I feel like I know you so I’d obviously buy it regardless, but I also feel like your posts are really from the heart and the copy’s a little too… ten thousand feet if you know what I mean? Sorry if this is hurtful, I don’t mean it to be, I just think you’re a fabulous writer cuz you not only write well, but you write from within. And the copy for me, doesn’t get the ‘within’ part as well as you do online:-)
January 26, 2008 7:20 pm
Not hurtful in the least! I value the honest feedback. The book definitely has the voice of the blog so I’ll work on getting that “within” sense that doesn’t come through in this particular blurb. Thanks very much for the recommendation…
I welcome any other blog reader perspective.
January 26, 2008 8:33 pm
I just recently found your blog and in the last couple of weeks read every single post of yours. What a brilliant writer you are. There were so many occasions I found my own experience and feelings in your posts and I can hardly say I could have expressed them better. And I thank you for that. I am in the same boat as many of you, but not quite finished the journey.
I read your book description. It is very informative and I am sure many people would find it interesting. But I must say I agree with chicklet. My mother tongue is not English, so my opinion might be biased… I even had to look into the dictionary to find out the meaning of word sorority 🙂 I found your copy a bit to – how to say – professional? Yes I would read it, because it might some day be my path. But I can’t find enough emotions in it… Emotions, your blog is full of…
I also wouldn’t mention other books (titles) as I think they are irrelevant unless you want to promote them.
I am sure the book will find way in many homes. A book like that should be a compulsory reading for all those who start to think about building a family. So yes, dear Pamela Jeanne, you are doing a great job, just polish it a bit more your way.
January 26, 2008 9:23 pm
You know I (and I’d have to say all of us) would read it. But what I’d really like to see it that *they* read it too. Do you have a way of polling people, with no personal interest in infertility, about what would compel them to read more on this topic?
I think it’s so crucial to reach that audience.
I think the copy sounds fine but I’m already biased. I’m also not a writer.
January 26, 2008 9:25 pm
Wanted to add, love the title.
January 26, 2008 9:53 pm
PJ, I’m so proud of you for doing this. Really. I don’t have anything but respect for the path you are on and the fact that you are placing your naked experiences out there will be invaluable for others. Way to go babe!
January 26, 2008 10:27 pm
I love the title!
I like what you are attempting to convey, but I suspect if I picked it up in a bookstore without knowing you, I would probably not be inspired to pick it up.
Part of that is because I have lived my own nightmare and tend not to want to read others, but I do think a bit more heartfelt and a bit shorter would work better for me.
January 26, 2008 10:48 pm
I would totally read it. Love the title alone!
January 26, 2008 11:13 pm
I used to do some marketing writing. I love the concept, but, I think it needs more punch for the jacket cover. May I suggest something like:
“What happens when a couple decides to step off of the infertility / adoption / mommy track and accept a childless life? Silent Sorority brings a unique perspective by bringing to light this denied grief and its aftermath
Society expects a couple – especially a woman – to use any means necessary to become a mom. What if, for whatever reason, she says “No more,” to the endless roller coaster of family building options? Silent Sorority examines this little acknowledged path and brings new light to the way the decision to remain childless affects everything in a couple’s life.
Relationships are never the same. Identity is shattered along with both the husband’s and wife’s egos which need to be slowly rebuilt. This is not childless by choice, this is childless by denial.”
Or something like that.
Sorry if I’m being presumptuous.
January 27, 2008 1:18 am
Dear MLO: You’re HIRED! 😉
January 27, 2008 12:22 am
Infertility is so hugely emotional, and I’m guessing that most of the people who pick this book up have dealt with it. I too think you should approach the book from a softer standpoint. Put more of you in there.
I would 100% pick up a copy of this book. Hats off to you for doing this! Oh, and love the title as well!
January 27, 2008 12:38 am
Hi practically published writer:
Well, I’d definitely read it – but I’m a bit biased. I think the use of “cult of Mommy” is provocative, so I think it might be perceived as adversarial. According to my friends, they might be more interested if they were invited to know what it would be like if they were infertile. (Like your experiment with what if they were suddenly infertile and we weren’t anymore.) People need to be invited on a very emotional journey through your heart as well as have their eyes opened to the statistics of infertility and the lure of fertility industry.
January 27, 2008 2:00 am
I’ve recently started identifying as infertile (no problem whatsoever conceiving, but keeping it past 7 weeks has thus far been impossible), and I have to say I found your jacket text a bit too abrasive. It feels confrontational and sensational, and in that regard I think it should be toned down a bit.
I would definitely be interested in reading the book, much as I’m loving the blog. I think MLO’s text is better.
(btw, I love your work. You’ve helped me see a life outside of a mommyhood i may never achieve. Thank you)
January 27, 2008 2:49 am
You have a TERRIFIC title and some excellent & catchy phrases (e.g. “cult of mommy”).
It does seem, however, that you are focusing more on the features of the book than the benefits. I like MLO’s ideas a lot.
After I read your blurb I wanted to know:
1. So how DOES one come to terms with a kid-free existence?
2. What are some Dos and Don’ts when dealing with someone who has chosen a child-free life over the other options?
3. What are some tips for living amidst the Mommyhood-Sisterhood when one is in the Silent Sorority?
I would/will buy it!
January 27, 2008 6:07 am
I liked the first paragraph, but MLO has a point about making it punchier. I was going to say the second paragraph is a bit waffly. I was going to say it more nicely than that, though 🙂
I was also going to say – as others have touched on – that you’re selling it here less as a story that people might want to read for entertainment (cf Waiting For Daisy) and more as something educational (cf that Grapes book, but for the IVF age). If that’s your intention and fits with the content of the book – great. But just so you know how it comes across.
January 27, 2008 9:53 am
I agree with the posters above, particularly MLO’s rewrite. One thing you should address in the jacket copy is WHY you weren’t willing to do donor/surrogacy options or adopt, since I think it’s a natural question for anyone who hasn’t read your blog or knows you. MLO’s copy hints at it, which I think is enough, but your original copy doesn’t mention it at all.
January 27, 2008 9:36 pm
My first thought was, do publishers really expect authors to write their own jacket copy??
I have to say I prefer MLO’s rewrite. Just a bit punchier. But I am definitely looking forward to the book!!
January 28, 2008 12:34 am
All right, I am clearly a little late to the party. I agree with the comments above and the update to your post. I anxiously await your new “blurb”.
January 28, 2008 3:22 pm
I can’t wait to see the new jacket :). (I love the title!)
January 28, 2008 6:58 pm
I like yours, but I do like some of MLO’s too.
I too love the title.