Tracy Lee Curtis

Judging a book by its Christmas cover

This year I put out a holiday gift book called “Holidazed.” And I could write a book about this book. Starting with the fact that, for several days, my little Christmas book was stuck in Bethlehem (Pa.), and that UPS joked it was late because they were delivering it by camel. True.

Also laughable was that I was told I need blurbs – which are endorsements from fellow writers or celebrities who sing the praises of a book’s author on the cover of the book. Which means I have to get people who are better than me to say something nice about a book they won’t even be able to read, because it’s strapped to a camel somewhere between Bethlehem and Charlotte.

And what would they say anyway? This isn’t “The Iliad,” it’s a gift book. And it’s certainly not blurb-worthy, because blurbs use words like “compelling,” “luminous” and “stunning” – all of which this book is not. Unless, of course, somebody gets the picture of me unloading it off the back of a camel. But what are the chances a neighbor will be getting their paper the very moment the camel clomps up my driveway?

So I decide to write my own blurbs. And then attribute them to Christmas characters. For instance, “Holidazed leaves Christmas perfection out in the cold where it belongs!” – Frosty the Snowman. And “A book that sheds a bright light on the chaos of Christmas.” – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

And my favorite, a quote from the ill-tempered ruler of Sombertown in “Santa Clause Is Comin’ to Town” – “Christmas is no laughing matter!” – Burgermeister Meisterburger. Brilliant. It gets the point of the book across, but doesn’t take this blurb thing too seriously.

But then my editor calls and tells me these people are trademarked. And that I’ll get sued. Huh? I’m gonna get sued by Burgermeister Meisterburger? Doesn’t he know he’s not real? Who’s his attorney, Ebenezer Scrooge?

I can just see it. Being hauled into federal court, shackled in an orange jumpsuit and brought before the judge. …

“Do you fully understand the charges against you?”

“Not really, they’re cartoons and …”

“Objection!” Santa Claus yells from across the room.

“Order in the courtroom,” the judge fires back. “The court finds the defendant guilty of trademark infringement, false attribution and ruining Christmas. And is that your camel out front?”

Oh well. Luckily, Jack Frost, The Three Wise Men and The Nutcracker are all public domain. So I was able to quote them. But if I ever do write a book about the book, I would have to call it “The Odyssey.”

In which case, it really could be promoted as “stunning.”

“Holidazed” is available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com; see www.tracyleecurtis.com for other options. tracy@tracyleecurtis.com

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