Don’t treat it as an afterthought: the blurb on the back must persuade readers to buy—and it must do it in around 200 words.
I have a confession to make: I loathe writing the back blurb for my books. I put it off and put it off and put it off until my cover designer starts sending up smoke signals. In fact, it’s such an unfavourite job of mine, I even forgot to write about it in my new book when I wrote my first draft.
It’s kind of crucial, though, so here we go.
The blurb on the back is the third most important part of the cover after the front cover design and the title. Why?
Think about what you do when you’re considering buying a new book. The cover catches your eye, so you read the title and subtitle. They hook you and pique your interest, so… you flip the book over and read the back, right?
Then you decide if you want to buy it.
Your back cover blurb isn’t a synopsis (a detailed outline of the book).
It’s not a “celebrity blurb” (a short endorsement by a celebrity or someone prominent in your industry which goes on the front cover).
It’s not a review.
And it’s not a book description (although it may form part of the description you put on Amazon and other sales sites).
The back cover blurb is a sales pitch for your book, so it must be persuasive, captivating, and make the reader want to read on. And it must do all that in around 200 words.
I would have loved a step-by-step instruction manual for writing my back blurbs, but there wasn’t one. So I swore a lot, struggled, hated it, then I made my own guide. Here it is.
In short, your back blurb should set out the question, challenge, or problem your reader faces. It should promise answers. And it should let your reader know what they’ll get if they read the book.
If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.
Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she's not doing that, she's hanging from a trapeze by her feet.
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