Your manuscript is finished, you’re ready to roll forward with formatting and cover design. But wait, are you forgetting something? What about that back cover book blurb?
For a lot of people, the back cover blurb ends up being an afterthought. You (or your designer) is laying out the cover and suddenly you realize, damn, I need something to go on the back of this thing! So, you may rattle a blurb out off the top of your head just to fill that blank space.
Stop for a second. Take your hands off the keyboard and have a think. As much as the front of your cover is all about first impressions, so is the back. Think about it, what is the first thing you do after picking up a book whose cover snagged your attention?
You turn it over to see what the book’s about. Or you look on the inside flap if it’s a hardcover. The back cover blurb is your second chance to make an impression.
Writing a back cover blurb isn’t so different from writing a query letter to a publisher or agent. Enticement in as few words as possible is the name of the game, all the while not giving away the whole juicy story. It’s not easy and takes as much thought as the story you spent months/years writing.
The Main Player(s). Who’s in this story? Start off with the main character. Who is he/she? What is this character facing? Take for example our newest release, Uncivil Wars:
For the last six months, Diego Beauchamp had been the rock-solid pillar of support for the Morgan Foundation’s newest Pack. His strong leadership brought Regina and Harry through the most difficult time of their lives and now, he had to do the same for Cole.
Bam. Tells you right off the bat who’s involved and what’s going on.
The Challenge. What kind of challenge is your character facing? Well, let’s see:
Their trip to Portland, Maine was supposed to be nothing more than routine and protocol. Diego had gone through it a few times before with other fledglings. Cole would go before the Council and present his case, and the Council would release him to the Foundation’s custody for further training. Case closed.
Okay, sounds simple enough. But wait, there’s more…
The Stakes. Every story has some stakes involved. Without them, there’s no conflict, and without conflict, you’ve got nothing. And so, we raise the stakes and give the reader an idea of what Diego and his Pack are in for:
But this time everything goes horribly wrong, jeopardizing the very core of the Pack and threatening to expose Diego’s painstakingly protected secrets and the past he has so carefully tried to forget.
Are you hooked yet? Do you want to know more? We certainly hope so.
Keep It Simple. Don’t list every single character, every plot twist, or become bogged down in the story’s full details. Little highlights and tastes are what’s needed.
Watch Out for the Editorials. Writing things like “a rollicking adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat”, or other phrases that sound like they belong more in a book review than a story summary are best left alone, unless you have actual reviews to add. Other than that, leave the reviews for the reviewers. Let the readers discover how much fun your story is for themselves.
No Wimps Allowed. Watch the passive language, too. Strong, confident words generate excitement.
Have you got a back cover blurb you’re working on or already have on your book? Share it in the comments section and we’ll give you some feedback.