Think about your book’s cover as its packaging, the outer wrapping used to help market and sell a product like any other. The package — your book cover — not only contains the content within but must also be attractive and enticing to the consumer. Authors may mistakenly assume that the front cover is all that really matters in cover design, but that negates how book marketing actually works.
A book’s back cover functions as an important marketing tool that helps persuade a prospective customer to buy your book. When authors craft a carefully worded blurb for the back of their book, they can pique just enough interest to compel the shopper to hit the ‘Add to Cart’ button. Continue reading to learn the ins and outs of writing amazing back cover copy.
Elements of a Good Book Back Cover
When designing your book’s back cover you should plan to provide real estate for the following featured elements:
- Headline. A headline is a one-line snippet that is designed to grab the reader’s attention. It is usually italicized or bolded and can ask a provocative question or be a riveting line from the book.
- Blurb. The blurb should be written in third person, not exceed 200 words, and should include short, finely-honed paragraphs that convey what the consumer can look forward to experiencing while reading your book. For non-fiction, this can include bullet points of how the reader will benefit from reading the book.
- Hook. At the end of the blurb, adding a hook will motivate the reader to discover the treasures your book has to offer. It could be a challenge, a promise, a quote, or a question.
- Words of Praise. If you have received a review or endorsement for the book, go ahead and include that in the back cover design.
- Author Bio. A brief bio citing the author’s credentials, with or without a photo, is often added to the back cover. If it is a cover jacket design, the author bio appears inside the back cover flap.
- Barcode. The book’s ISBN and price appear in the lower portion of the back cover design.
How to Write Back Cover Copy
Writing a compelling blurb for the back cover is more challenging than one might initially think. Authors are wired to tell stories or disseminate information but are not necessarily adept at pitching their book to consumers. Consider these tips to aid you in the process of writing back cover copy:
- Start with a punch. Begin the blurb with a strong headline or opening sentence, as it is essential to grab the reader’s attention right from the start. Remember that the back cover copy is a marketing tool, so give that first sentence the time and effort it deserves.
- Introduce only one or two characters in your blurb. Remember that you only have about 200 words to provide an enticing nugget that includes a bit about the setting, the period, the premise, and the conflict. Introducing too many characters in this short blurb only muddies the waters.
- Write short paragraphs. Write the summary in short, digestible chunks versus long-form paragraphs. This helps the blurb be quickly and easily scanned.
- Hold back a bit. Remember that the blurb is not the same as a synopsis of the book. Keeping this in mind, give the reader just enough intriguing information to rouse their curiosity, but do not provide any reveals.
- It’s all about the reader experience. Never forget that your back book cover content is designed to engage the reader’s emotions and prepare them for the experience they can expect while reading your story.
- A strong headline. The headline should provide a concise one-line statement defining the main selling point of the book — the problem to be solved.
- Demonstrate the solution. Frame the problem that the book promises to solve, and then provide a list of the benefits the reader will gain from your book.
- Explain the reward. Close the blurb with a strong statement, assuring the reader about how the book can improve some aspect of their life.
Awesome Book Back Cover Examples
When attempting to grasp exactly what a great book back cover involves, sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words. Consider these back cover examples:
Interesting Book Back Covers
Vince Flynn’s Enemy at the Gates makes interesting use of the back cover by splitting the space between a self-portrait and reviews for the new thriller.
John Grisham’s latest, The Judge’s List, boasts a clean, simple back cover that uses the space for just one thing — an interesting excerpt from the book.
Funny Book Back Covers
The back cover of For Once in My Life by Colleen Coleman paints a comical picture of her life as a columnist at her local newspaper.
Brain Farts EWW Edition! by Murphy Sawyer is a book for kids that any parent can see by its back cover will be greatly enjoyed by their prodigy.
Compelling Book Back Covers
The back book cover for When the Apricots Bloom by Gina Wilkinson stirs a sense of curiosity about this story based in Baghdad.
Devoted by Dean Koontz has an intriguing back cover. He introduces a dog named Kipp, and his instincts to thwart evil and protect a boy and his mother.
Non-Fiction Book Back Covers
Napoleon Hill’s How to Think and Grow Rich was first published in 1937. The current back cover conveys in clear, concise language exactly what the book offers the reader.
The back cover space of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant is filled with quotes of praise by notable people.
Get Your Book in Perfect Shape from Cover to Cover
When embarking on the self-publishing journey, authors can benefit immensely by enlisting the professional help of a self-publishing partner like Gatekeeper Press. Reach out to us today for all the support you need to shape and polish your manuscript and get your book ready for publication. Give us a call at (866) 535-0913 or contact us online.