Back Cover is Important by Lea Schizas
Your book is finished. Awesome! That’s one huge accomplishment so make sure to treat yourself to something special, even though you know there’s more to do right after penning THE END. There’s the editing stage, getting a cover designed, preparing the formats to publish or to submit to an agent and/or publisher. But there is another area where quite a few writers hate to get to because it stumps them: the back cover blurb.
In my career, I’ve read many blurbs from new writers and have to admit I cringed. They had everything but the kitchen sink mentioned. In a lot of cases, there was no need to read the book because it was easy to puzzle out the outcome.
The back cover blurb is meant to entice readers to the point to want to purchase your book, just the way a cover is meant to draw their attention. You have about 100-150 words or so to use and rope them in. Think of it as your billboard advertisement.
Study some of the bestselling authors you read and analyze their back cover blurbs. What pulled you in?
Now, I mentioned earlier how some writers pen everything including the kitchen sink in their blurbs. The back cover is simply a brief summary and a trick is to use the first 20 pages of your book to give the inciting incident, main character, obstacle to face found within those pages. No need to have every single character mentioned. No need to add every single sub-plot or what the main character will face in chapter thirty. Leave some suspense to the reader.
Here’s an example to one of my upcoming novels, The Sword of Reckoning.
One incident pushed Savannah Flowers to pursue a career as a homicide detective. Fifteen years ago, she attended a party unaware dangerous creatures existed and eager for her demise. Savannah and best friend, Jenna, were attacked by something she calls ‘a red-eyed freakzoid’. An unknown savior comes to Savannah’s rescue.
Leonidas Laskos has a secret that directly involves the pretty detective he’s been guarding from afar all these years…actually centuries of pure patience and love. He is prevented from interfering directly, ordered not to disclose any information that may help Savannah figure out who she truly is. If he does, he risks losing her forever.
Fifteen years later, Savannah is still wracked with guilt over failing to save Jenna. Until a new case drastically changes her life and places her partner, Noah Virgil, in grave danger. Forced into a combat zone of unknown enemies, Savannah’s past and present life will soon be revealed.
The information found in the above 154 word back cover blurb are things that occur within the first 20 pages. I introduce the two main characters, Savannah and Leonidas, secondary character Noah, hint of an incident from fifteen years ago and how that occurrence shaped the career she’s embarked on, but also imply a secret is about to come forth about Savannah.
There are tons more that will occur after the 20 pages naturally, more characters, more obstacles, more sub-plots, but the main goal of a back cover blurb is to draw a reader’s interest enough so they purchase the book. Also, the above is the first draft and will be improved once the book is in the editing stages. However, it offers enough information to give the genre, hint of paranormal and romance.
If you’re lucky enough to have a few endorsements/testimonials by published authors, by all means, add a short snippet of a few at the back as well.
To finish this article, I just want to stress that the amount of diligence you displayed while writing and editing your novel should be the same when writing your back cover blurb. Don’t put something together because you’re anxious to get it over with, because you’re tired writing and editing this book already, because because because because…it’s your book. Give your all for every single aspect needed to finalize that manuscript to its entirety, from cover to editing to back cover blurb. Give your readers the best you have to offer.