While we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, who actually doesn’t read the cover contents before buying one? In a world that’s growing more competitive daily, book authors no longer have the luxury of underestimating the power of an exemplary back cover.
The back of a book is called a back cover. It contains writings that describe the content of the book to potential readers. These writings are referred to as ‘blurb’ or ‘synopsis.’ They serve as a sales pitch; hence, they should be intriguing for prospective readers to buy the book.
While the front book cover grabs a potential buyer’s attention, the back magnifies it. In the rest of this article, I’ll focus on why it’s essential to have a catchy blurb and the tips for coming up with one.
Components of a Book’s Back Cover
Below are the components of a book’s back cover:
The Synopsis or Blurb
This is a paragraph that briefly narrates what occurs in a book. While you shouldn’t give the entire story away, you should be able to create curiosity in the reader to urge them to purchase the book. So, what should you include in the blurb? Let’s consider the following essential features:
The hook is the section that allures the reader – just as it sounds. It is usually the first line or two of the summary. A good hook should be dramatic enough to catch readers’ attention and make them itch to read the rest of the blurb. When writing the hook of your book, think about what makes the story unique.
The Main Character
The main character is another crucial narrative element that should entice people into reading the book. Remember that characters become a part of our imaginary world, and we get attached to them.
Therefore, the summary is a great place to sell your book’s lead character. However, do it in a manner that leaves room for curiosity. You can do this by intimating the character’s personality or lifestyle.
Take a look at the synopsis of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It is centered around Nick Dune, the main protagonist. The author leaves us wanting to know whether or not he has a hand in his wife’s disappearance. We can immediately tell that the story will be eventful and interesting.
The blurb’s first two lines are also great bait for readers to want to know more. And as we read on, the main character and the conflict he is in are made known, which brings us to the next component…
Stories are boring without some drama. In writing, a conflict is a tribulation the main character faces. It could be a stressful ordeal or a specific issue that keeps them from achieving a certain goal.
To present the conflict on your book’s back cover, you only need to highlight the main conflict and set the stakes without providing the solution. Think of it like a thousand-foot view of your story – just don’t spill the beans!
Before we proceed to the second component, here’s how to come up with a killer blurb.
A headshot is a section that contains the author’s bio and credentials. An author bio is a short statement about the author; where they grew up and schooled, currently live, their hobbies, other books they’ve authored, and what they are currently working on. It humanizes the author, making the reader associate with them more personally. This is a selling point for the book.
Author credentials, on the other hand, refer to the achievements and awards won by the author. Including your credentials as an author is crucial for readers to ascertain your credibility.
Perhaps a renowned author, celebrity, actor, or any other public figure endorsed your book. Squeezing their testimonials onto the back cover will help your book sell better.
Just as the name suggests, a testimonial is a statement that testifies your book’s worthiness and suitability as an author. It is an influential element that applauds your book, indirectly persuading others to purchase it.
As an author who’s thinking of including reviews on the back cover, consider gathering them prior to publishing your book. This will save you the time and energy used to republish your manuscript.
International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
The ISBN is a unique numeric code that serves as a commercial identifier for a physical book. It is usually positioned on the lower right side of a book’s back cover, atop the bar code.
If you are looking to sell your book, it is crucial to apply for an ISBN. This is because the code enables buyers to single out and order the exact copy. Booksellers, on the other hand, use it to track sales. If you publish an eBook for sale, however, you do not need an ISBN.
Why Should Authors Not Overlook a Book’s Back Cover?
Each book section is crucial, and that applies to the cover too. Readers love to read through a book’s back cover to get a hint of what is contained inside.
As a writer, try viewing this through a reader’s eyes. Imagine yourself browsing through an online bookstore, searching for the next read. You’ll certainly come across a list of titles to choose from.
Outrightly, the front cover of a specific book will attract you because of its interesting title and eye-catching artwork. It’s the blurb, however, that will prompt you to purchase the book. If it isn’t fascinating enough, you’ll most likely not buy it.
Well, the blurb is a marketing tool because it has the potential to convert a curious reader into a buyer. Therefore, when designing the back cover, you must treat it as an opportunity to convince potential readers to spend their money, time, and energy on your book.
It may sound simple, but a book’s back cover is crucial to its performance in the market. You should, therefore, make it attractive, easy to read, and intriguing.
If you are designing one for yourself, consider making it simple to encourage readability. Lastly, I can’t emphasize this enough – avoid spoilers. Do not give the whole story away in the blurb. Leave some room for imagination.