Many editors advise authors:
“Don’t write the back cover copy for your own book.”
Because you’re too close to your content, and it’s hard for you to write objectively.
Case in point (from actual, unretouched back cover copy):
The author’s fertile imagination, coupled with his considerable knowledge and research, take you into an arena of conflict and holds you there, unable to extricate yourself until the end.
In addition to subject-verb agreement and sentence structure issues, this copy has two major problems:
1. It focuses on the author, not on the book’s content.
Note the phrases, “author’s fertile imagination” (how pretentious!), “considerable knowledge and research” (ditto).
Readers assume every author has a fertile imagination, considerable knowledge about the subject matter, and a knack for researching. When you tell us how great you are, it makes you sound amateurish.
2. The copy uses hundred dollar words.
- “arena of conflict” (I feel like a Roman gladiator preparing to fight for my life)
- “unable to extricate yourself” (…from my gladiator costume, perhaps?)
Instead of crucifying his copy with hoity-toity phrases, the author should have enticed us with a description of his book’s major conflict.
Here are 6 must-do tips for brainstorming back cover copy:
- Visit a bookstore or library and read the back covers of best-selling books in your genre. There’s a reason why these books are best-sellers – back cover copy is the second thing book buyers look at to help them make a buying decision (the front cover is first).
- Note words and phrases that grab your attention – that make you want to buy the book.
- Note what information is included… and what isn’t.
- Count the number of words on the back cover. Notice how few words there are?
- Note how the words are arranged (several short paragraphs, bullet points, sound bites).
- Note whether the copy includes an excerpt from a review, or an endorsement from a well-known person.
Speaking of book covers…
You can write the best book in the world, but if it has an ugly cover, people won’t buy it.
If it has a provocative, professional cover, readers are more likely to open their pocketbooks.
Whether you need a front cover design, or spine and back cover as well, our experienced graphic designer (who is also an author) will design a cover that meets your specifications and delivers that all-important “wow” factor.
We can also help you with the writing, editing, and proofreading of your cover copy.