Effective Back Cover Copy
Even if you have never written the words on the back of a book cover, I bet you have purchased a few books after reading those words. I know I have done it. What draws you to certain books and not to others? Do you ever stop and think about it? The answers may help you put your own book together in a more effective fashion.
As a publisher, I’m involved in this aspect of creating the words on the back covers of books. It is not my first brush with this craft.
Years ago when operating my freelance business in Colorado Springs, I connected with the editorial director at Moody Press. As we talked, he told me that he needed someone to regularly write back covers for his books. I was looking for regular work so the relationship seemed like a perfect match to me.
The publisher would send a manuscript and give me a week to read some of it and write the back cover copy. I wrote dozens of back covers, delivered them on time and received $50 for each book and a printed copy of the book.
For this writer, the experience provided fabulous training and fulfilled my book habit all in one smooth operation. It is somewhat creative since you have to write words which draw the reader to the book, yet also a bit formulaic since there are elements which are expected on each book cover.
Recently for my work at Intermedia working with authors, I returned to this discipline of writing back cover copy. Searching for a tool to train authors, I found this article from Dan Poynter, self-publishing guru. I love that he explains the different elements on a back cover—plus includes a “work sheet” for you. I recommend you save this article on your computer and use it for every book that you write.
Why? You may question the need for writing back cover copy. Even if your book is published through a traditional house, your editor will appreciate your effort to put together this information. In these days of publishing where editorial staffs have been reduced, authors who write their own marketing materials such as back covers and press releases will be receive appreciation from the staff. The editor will still tweak your words and I suspect you will be happier with the finished product.
Learn to appreciate words that sell books. Then look for ways to incorporate those words into your book publishing.