First, you all have persuaded me that this is a perfectly okay title. Thank you all! Second, let me make another try at back cover copy.
Here’s the original attempt:
Ryo inGara has always been willing to fight and die for his family and his people. Now that trouble has engulfed the borderlands between the winter lands and the summer country, he thought that death might come to him soon. But he expected to die in battle, not fall into the hands of a powerful enemy warleader. Now he faces more complicated choices, and the fate of both countries may depend on his decisions…
I didn’t like anything much about this and just wrote it so I could have something to enter in the “description” box for KDP so I could get to the part where I uploaded the manuscript and looked at the page count.
Sometimes I think I more or less do a pretty decent job with back cover description, even, or especially, when I just dash it off without thinking too much about it. But as I said, I didn’t think much of this attempt, and your comments certainly reinforced that opinion.
So, let me try again.
The basic idea when you’re writing back cover copy is to stuff your book into this format:
When OPENING CONFLICT happens to CHARACTER(s), they have OVERCOME CONFLICT to COMPLETE QUEST.
I got that years ago from Nathan Bransford and I do think it’s a good basic model for how to write cover copy. Then you add whatever you think is catchy for about seven lines and you’re done. Again I agree with Nathan there: there’s no point to long, drawn out description that goes on and on. That’s just going to turn off a reader, imo.
Worse still if the back cover reveals plot points that ought to come as surprises to the reader, or even shocking reveals. A startling number of book descriptions do that; I don’t know why and wish they would stop. In TUYO, there is a reveal, and definitely one I’m trying to hide, though an astute reader with a suspicious mind might pick it up earlier than someone who’s zipping fast through the story without thinking too much about what might be coming up.
So let me try again, taking all your helpful comments into account:
Raised a warrior by a warrior people, Ryo inGara has always been willing to die for his family, and for the people of the winter lands. Now that war has erupted between his people and the summer country, the prospect of death in battle seemed imminent. But when his warleader leaves Ryo to die at the hands of their enemies, he faces a fate he never imagined.
Ryo’s captor, a lord of the summer country, may be an enemy . . . but far worse enemies are moving, with the current war nothing but the opening moves in a hidden game Ryo barely glimpses, a game in which all his people may be merely pawns. Should Ryo give his loyalty to the man who holds him prisoner, the only man who may be able to defeat their greater enemy? And even if he does, can he persuade his people to do the same?
A little longer than I might like, and, eh, there are some things here I don’t much care for. But I do think this is a much better job than my first try. What do you all think?