NOW WHAT? Series - Back Cover Edition!
As promised, this week we're talking about your back cover and what you should include on it.
There are 3 main components to a back cover.
A synopsis is what readers look at when they turn your book over (or what goes on Amazon if it's an ebook). It's a short overview of what your book is about, but it should always leave a question in your reader's mind that makes them want to read the story.
A synopsis is different from a blurb in that it's a bit more detailed. Blurbs tend to be short and sweet, and are typically used for promotional purposes.
Most of the time the synopsis is the hardest part for authors to write. You want to tell what the story is about, without giving away the good parts, but sometimes, as authors, we're too close to our work to separate the details. So what should you include in your synopsis?
-Your main character.
-Your main conflict.
-Any important supporting characters.
For the synopsis above there are two main characters. In that instance, you should mention the conflict for both characters, and if they work together or clash in trying to resolve the conflict. This synopsis ends with a question, but it doesn't always have to. You just need a hook that will grab your reader and make them want to turn that first page.
2. Your ISBN and Barcode
Your ISBN is the identifier that will help readers find your book. Every book needs an ISBN to be available to be sold.
Some companies, like Amazon/Createspace, will issue you an ISBN, but there is more to ISBNs which I won't discuss here. If you would like to read more, check out this post.
You can also include your publisher imprint (if you're self-published).
3. An Author Blurb or Testimonial
Depending on if you have testimonials or not, those are always a great thing to include. They usually will talk about the merits of your book, and will help convince the reader. If the testimonial is by someone who is recognizable (i.e. JRR Tolkien) then it is a good idea to include their name. If it was written by your Grannie, just put it in quotes.
If you don't have testimonials to include, an author blurb is always an option. It tells the reader a little about you, and is a great place to talk about who you are and why you are an expert on the topic you've written about. Readers love to relate to authors, so make yourself seem like somebody they'd want to hang out with.
What else can you include on your covers?
You can include a blurb, but blurbs are better for advertisements. They should be short, two sentences or less, and should be exciting. You want to grab the reader with your setting and your conflict quickly (think elevator speech).
You can also include a tag line. A tag line is one sentence, usually a shorter, succinct sentence, that tells the conflict or asks a question. It typically appears on the front cover, although it can also appear on the back.
So now that you know what to include, sit down and start writing your synopsis, blurbs, and tag lines! And don't worry if you have to write several, they can be challenging. If you're struggling, tell your story to someone and try to be as succinct as possible. Remember, you have a small amount of time and space on your cover to hook your reader, so make your words as exciting as possible!
Stay tuned for next week's installment of NOW WHAT?