But the second-most viewed part of a book is the back cover. Shoppers in a bookstore will pick up your book, flip it over, and then glance down the back cover in search of reasons to be interested in the book.
On average, they’ll spend no more than seven seconds to decide if they’ll open the book to thumb through the pages.
Back cover text is perhaps the most critical part of a book for drawing in readers, and too many self-published authors miss this golden opportunity when they book publish.
Book Publish Common Sense
A retired electrical engineer recently had an interest in communism and decided to write a book on it. She also wrote a book on grammar. On the back cover of those books were long 500-word paragraphs praising her career and expertise as an electrical engineer.
Does anyone beside the author’s family want to read a book on communism or grammar written by an engineer? Why should they?
Self-publishers who book publish should follow these simple guidelines for a gripping and riveting back-cover text:
- First, grab the reader’s attention with a thought-provoking statement, headline, fact or question. People won’t buy your book because your photo looks outstanding, unless you’re an established spokesperson for the cause about which you’re writing. They’ll pick up your book only if their interest is piqued.
- Second, answer the obvious questions raised with your headline or statement. Craft a clever introduction of about 150 words. It’s okay to give away a freebie and tell the reader some tantalizing tidbits—and then promise that MORE is available inside the book. Assure the readers that great value is awaiting them inside these book covers. Do so with factual statements, not shallow promises.
- Third, establish your credentials. In the “About the Author” paragraph, typically on the back cover, give reasons why you are the world’s best resource for the subject matter being presented. Don’t distract with ancillary details.
As noted above, an electrical engineer writing about communism and grammar doesn’t sell the reader on credibility unless the author was an electrical engineer under Premier Khrushchev at the height of the cold war, and also taught grammar at Moscow University under the watchful care of Comrade Solzhenitsyn before he died.
Keep this section to about 100 words, which is the limit of most book pursuer’s interest and patience. Keep in mind that hardback covers lend a little more space for description (utilizing the tucked-in flaps).
- Fourth, seek out professional reviews for short, pithy quotes. Let a third party declare to the world all of those glowing things you’d love to say about you yourself and your book. This gives credibility to both author and book. Izzard Ink publishing managers can steer you to reviewers who can help in this area.
- Fifth, send out your back-cover text to friends, family, peer reviewers, and experts on the subject matter of your book. Ask for feedback and incorporate it as best you can. Two to three good quotes is a great help to new authors.
A book’s back cover can make or break a potential best seller. Those who patiently work through the details of a well-crafted presentation on the back cover are those who see their books sell.