Picture this: you’re breezing through your favorite bookstore when suddenly a book with an amazing cover practically leaps of the shelf and into your hands. What’s your next move?
That’s right: you’re going to flip it over and read the back cover content to see if the book’s description gels with what caught your eye in the first place. The cover is the bait, but the back cover content is the true hook - one that turns a reader’s curiosity into action.
With so much content vying for attention everywhere in daily life, you need to find a way to stand out, to break through the noise and ensure your voice rises above the din. Here are eight tips that will help you do just that:
1. Determine who your reader is and write for them.
The first step you can take in understanding your target market is to identify the group of readers who are most likely to connect with the content of your book. This process requires research and is not as simple as saying “men and women between 18 and 100 in English speaking countries”. That narrows it down to about 400 million people. Be as specific as you can. What other books might they read? What are their favourite songs and movies? Who would they like to be? There are a number of great resources that can help you ask the right questions to determine who your readers are.
Once you have a better understanding of your readers, write for them. This might be our most important insight: don’t just write content that appeals to you, write content that appeals to your readers. Understand what they’re looking for and show them how your book delivers.
2. Have objective readers edit your content.
Writing your back cover content should be done with patience, deliberation and a lot of thought. Once your drafts are ready, have a minimum of five colleagues, editors or professionals read your content and give you feedback. The more objective the reader, the better. They are more likely to give you honest constructive feedback.
3. Keep it short.
Too much text crammed onto the back of your book can dissuade potential buyers from bothering to read it. That’s a massive missed sales opportunity. Aim for around 200-250 words, as this will allow room for a short quote, an author image, or simply open space.
4. Be authentic: make use of your assets and don't oversell.
If your book is fiction, include the most important plot hooks to intrigue the reader without giving too much away. This should be all you need to leave a lasting impression and lure the reader.
If you have written a non-fiction book, consider how your career, accomplishments or relevant experience contributes to the credibility of your work. Modesty can lead to missed opportunities when it comes to your back cover content. [Tweet this!] If your book is educational or business based, highlight how the book will solve the readers problem or identify what topics the reader can expect to learn more about.
5. Edit everything.
Whether you are writing a blog post, putting together your sales kit, or writing your back cover content, ensure you get your text edited. Errors are easy to avoid and will have a significant negative impact with your readers if they are missed.
6. Understand where else your write up will be used.
The content you use on your book cover will be used in just about every promotional activity you do moving forward. The about the book description will show up on book retail sites, will be converted into content in your media release and sales kit, included in advertisements and used to introduce your book at book signings. Try to find the balance between telling your story, hooking the reader and making a sales pitch.
Also: consider what your reader will take away if they are given no other information about your book. Can your back cover content stand on its own and remain effective?
7. Use a professionally taken photo.
Regardless of whether you are only writing one book or will be publishing many, your author picture should look professional. A picture says a thousand words and you want to make sure your author picture is speaking eloquently to readers. Knowledgeable, creative, inspirational, authoritative, educated, approachable, fun loving - you have the opportunity to choose what tone suits your book, your brand, and appeals to your readers.
8. Make use of reviews.
Using a review of your book is a great way to hook your reader. It is important that the review is from a credible source that will positively reinforce what you have written in the book and on the back cover. Avoid including a review from a friend or family member and ensure the reviewers accreditation is included. A review is not mandatory, but is a great option.
Back cover copywriting is a foundational piece of any book marketing strategy, and it never hurts to enlist the help of professionals. At FriesenPress, we support you in developing the best back cover content to sell your book and, most importantly, connect with your readers.
Written by Hannah Monteith, FriesenPress Book Promotion Specialist
Edited by Christian Fink-Jensen, FriesenPress Marketing Manager