About that Back of Book Copy…


Getting a novel written is a huge milestone. But, there are at least a dozen additional steps that an indie author has to undertake before they can call their book truly ready for publication. The next major step in the publishing process to get NightWind ready to be unleashed on the world is writing sale and back-of-book copy.

Now, I’ve spent the past 8 months writing and rewriting a novel that is 70,000 words long. But, summing up that book in less than 200 words is probably one of the hardest parts of the entire publishing process.

Why is back of book copy so hard? Is it simply because we writers are so closely tied to our projects? That’s a possibility, I suppose. I think the real issue, though, is that a novel is so complicated with several plot lines that swirl around and enhance the main concept of the story that it becomes difficult to choose the best pieces of the story to highlight that feature the book in the correct light and will draw readers to want to purchase and read it.

As I sit down to write the back of book copy for NightWind, I know I need to include the following in the description: Who the main character is, what it is she desires and what stands in her way. Remembering this will help me pull away from the subplots for the moment and hopefully allow me to focus and create copy that feels like it ties more closely to the essence of the story.

Another tough part of the story summing up process is creating that clever tagline or headline that creates and interesting duality or dynamic that showcases the author’s ability to create clever play on words. My first book, The Green Lady was summed up thusly: Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder. Withered World‘s line was: No feast. Just famine. For NightWind, I’m not sure what direction to go yet as the one-liner will have to tie in to the back of book copy to a certain extent.

For some reason, the trend of a catchy one-liner has become huge in the publishing world. It certainly captures my attention when I come across a particularly noteworthy one. A couple of my favorites are: A boy with no name. A girl with too many. (That one is from my friend J.R. Boles’ urban Fantasy novel Shadow Knight); For Queen, Country and the perfect pot of tea. (This one comes from Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series).

Getting your story to stand out in a crowded genre/marketplace is harder than ever before. It seems like everyone wants to write fantasy or a post-apocalyptic story. Anything you can do to get your story to stand out could mean the difference between a completed transaction and being abandoned in the shopping cart. Your back of book copy is one of two ways to get people to pick your book up off the shelf and encourage them to read more.

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3 thoughts on “About that Back of Book Copy…

  1. On your marketing plan you covered in your blog post,
    August 9, 2017 by Sara
    Getting the Word Out,
    I’m sorry if I missed your update on that, but how are things going?
    Did your cover designers read your works to get an idea of what visuals they wanted to create for the story, or did you describe to them in depth what you wanted the covers to convey?

    1. Thanks for asking! I think I likely forgot to go back and do an update. I’m selling more books at a local shop here in KC, but I do sell some on ocasion. The best thing I did for my books was to have a free ebook weekend over Memorial Day weekend this past summer. Take a look at my post: My Free Ebook Weekend for specifics about it.

      Based on your questions, I think I should do a post about working with cover designers. I’ll put it on my list and will write about that when I start working with the designer for my current project. But, just so I don’t leave you hanging, in my experience, cover designers don’t have the time to read your full work. But, the good ones will have a detailed questionnaire for you to fill out where they will ask for the most important details of your story, plot, symbols and main characters. They will work with you if you have a specific idea in mind for your cover, or they are happy to come to the table with their own ideas. Thanks for reading along and for checking up on me. I apologize for forgetting to come back and do an update about the marketing 🙂

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