You must write compelling back cover copy if you want to sell books. It’s your elevator speech, your sales pitch. It’s the brief 200 words snapshot telling your potential reader all the exciting things your books contain. It’s a short couple of paragraphs, along with your book cover, that motivates someone to click the buy button.
Along with your book cover your back blurb will help your book stand out from the millions out there. Your book can be the absolute best in the world, but if people don’t see it, pick it up (virtually) and flip it over to read what it’s about, they probably won’t buy it.
I’ve found a lot of authors don’t like, and will admit they aren’t good at, writing their book blurbs. I would be one of those people. If my back blurb could be 1500 words, maybe I’d be better at it. Though to be honest, probably not. It’s not my strength to write sales copy.
You might think not being able to write a good back cover copy seems weird. After all, we call ourselves writers because we write. So shouldn’t we be able to write a measly 200 words?
In theory, it sounds easy. But it’s not as easy as you might think until you’ve tried to write one.
Writing a book blurb is different than writing an 80k novel. The book blurb is a marketing piece not a story. It’s a different type of writing and just because you’re good at one doesn’t mean you’re good at another.
I mean I can add 2 + 2, but you certainly wouldn’t want me to be your accountant.
Are you an author struggling with writing your blurbs?
Are you getting frustrated because they aren’t reaching the mark? Stop worrying. It’s ok. It’s just another skill you need to learn to effectively run your author business.
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Also, you always have the option to outsource your blurb, which many people do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I always say do what you do best and outsource the rest. You will spend far more of your time trying to do something you’re not skilled at than what you would pay someone to do for you.
But I get it. If you don’t have cash and all you have is sweat equity, then you need to learn how to do for yourself.
Know with practice, you can do it.
It does take a different mindset so here are a few tips to get you going to make the best kick-ass blurb that will sell you millions of books.
Think of your book blurb as your movie trailer. We all know we go see movies based on how good the trailer looks and how excited we become to find out the rest of the story.
First, make sure to do your research. Read the blurbs for books that you like. Identify the ones that compel you to buy a book and break it down. What is it that grabbed you and why?
List the elements of what the back matter contains so you have ideas for your structure. Break down the blurb so you can recreate a blurb of your own with the same points.
Side note – it’s a helpful process for improving your writing too. Break down someone else’s book and learn from it. I wouldn’t have thought of doing this until I was in one of my MFA classes and it was an assignment. One of the best assignments out of the entire program. I learned so much.
You want to get the reader immediately invested in the characters. Introduce your main characters and maybe an important secondary one. Like one who may cause the most drama. Or the villain, so the reader knows what the MC is up against. These tidbits will get the reader excited to find out what happens.
Give your reader enough information to hook them. Think of it as speed dating. You want to share enough about yourself to get the person interested, so they want to meet you again and find out more. You don’t want to spill your guts in the first 5 minutes.
You want to touch on the conflict that will happen in the book. The reader wants to know if the main character is in search of her prince charming or trying to solve a murder. Drop hints of what might happen, or what the characters are struggling with. Show the reader a glimpse of the big explosion scene that leaves you wondering if the hero is still alive and they have to buy the book to find out.
Use exciting language that will incite emotion and make the reader feel something. In the actual book, hyperbole can be annoying. But in this short copy, you want to build up the excitement!! Let’s face it!! Question marks and exclamation points with sentences like:
“And what will happen next?!”
“She isn’t sure he is alive!!”
“Will she win the heart of the man of her dreams or will she choose what’s safe?”
“Is the million dollars going to be hers?”
These short, exciting sentences can have a lot of impact.
When you’ve finished writing your book blurb have people read it and get their honest feedback. Would they buy the book based on the copy?
Why or why not?
It will take several drafts before you get one that sticks. Keep in mind you can change your book blurb easily for an ebook, although it’s not as easy for a paperback. So if your book isn’t selling a bad blurb might be one of the reasons why. Change it up. Maybe try out a few different ones when you’re running ads and track which works best.
I’d love to hear your feedback so please share in the comments about your experiences or any questions you may have.
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