Your book’s back cover can give readers a sneak peek into the book’s content, author bio, and at times, endorsements by some well-known personalities or words of appreciation from other authors. These are some considerations that can guide readers to purchase the book.
In the present day, it is a primary ad that helps the author present the soul of the story. Interestingly, in this digital era, the back cover text serves other purposes. You can creatively reword and rewrite matter and use it for your online book descriptions (on several e-commerce websites), press releases, or media pitches.
So, let’s discover the thought process behind creating this page:
- Before you embark on this writing journey, you need to know what the book is about. A thorough understanding of the main topics, subject, and motive will help you connect with the right audience.
- Make sure it is just a mini explanation that piques your potential readers’ interests to invest in the book and excites them to flip the pages over to find out the full-blown version. It is important to drape the back cover with an element of suspense so that the readers cannot resist the temptation of diving into the meat of the book. Once they do, they should not discover a predictable storyline. Look at it as a tasting menu that leaves the readers craving for more.
- Since you have a limited count of words (say 150–200 words), that is your only window to prospective readers. So, choose your words carefully. The words should elicit feelings and images and help the reader visualize the pulse of the book. In a nutshell, it should create the desired impact on the readers’ minds to want more.
Here are some steps that can guide you in writing a successful back cover.
- Try to start on a fiery note that will grab attention. Follow it with some information in the middle and the conclusion that will leave your audience gasping for more. In addition to talking about what the book is all about, try to include the benefits of reading your book. Always remember that once you have created a need in your readers’ minds, you can rest assured the battle is half won. Some might go ahead and purchase the book almost instantaneously, while others might continue to ponder and procrastinate their purchasing decision.
- Make sure your back flap matches the theme of the book. If it is a nature book or a kids’ book, make sure the cover reflects it. Set your readers’ expectations accordingly.
- It is good to be famous, but avoid assumptions. Make sure you spell out your name and the book title perfectly. This is your first introduction to the reader. Be generous! Include your professional photograph, with no one but you in the picture.
- Your choice of words should be in tune with what you mean. Avoid leaving the readers guessing. Another thing to avoid is using puffed-up vocabulary. If the readers find it hard to follow, there is a good chance they may feel the book is beyond their intellectual competence, and they might not proceed any further. I am confident such vocabulary is not worth it!
- Brevity, usage of active language, and avoiding generalizations are vital to writing the perfect back cover. While the average word count of the back cover should be anywhere between 150–200, you may want to exercise special care and have an adult book back flap word count between 175–225 words. Restrict this to 100 words for children’s books.
- Give people a reason to read your book. Show them their takeaway. They should be compelled to read your book rather than place it back on the shelf.
- Correct grammar is yet another key to writing an effective back-page cover. Use the right tense. Unless it is a memoir, past tense will not work. Avoid first-person and “to be” verbs. The present tense is the need of the hour. So, stick to it!
- Be clear-cut. Judicious usage of strong adjective and noun pairings will help you follow the traditional writing convention of “show, don’t tell.”
- If your book is meant to address a certain group of professionals like management or finance, choose the appropriate keywords. You can also work backward and imagine words people may search for to get a hold of these kinds of books.
- If it is fiction, make sure the account ends at a point that will captivate the reader on the book’s premise or the protagonist’s dilemma. No details, please!
- If it is a self-help book, stick to bullets to tell the reader what the book will do for them or what they are going to learn from it. To create the desired effect, the bullets should be consistent. For instance, if you use participles, stick with it. If you start with clauses, just maintain clauses. Speak directly to the readers and give them reasons to trust what you are saying.
The above checklist will guide you in writing your book back cover copy. I highly recommend studying the back covers of other books of similar genres and seeing how their copies read. Looking at different back cover samples may bring the above checklist to life.
The back cover is your show window to communicate to the world. So, be humble and state the facts and benefits of the book so that you can win over intrigued readers to buy your book.