Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Anatomy of Great Back Cover Copy

Sex, Drugs, Murder!
"As Pete walked into the door's shadows, he paused. He thought he was either walking through the doors of hell or entering the next phase of his life."
Welcome to rehab, a place where addicts come to get clean and sober, or in this case ... die!
The Abused is a psychological thriller about nine addicts whose poisonous drug use has destroyed lives, including their own. One after another, each addict arrives to face their demons. One after another, each addict is getting killed.
The Abused invites readers into the world of rehab where everyone, including the therapists, have issues. What happens when someone's "issues" become murderous? 
Nine go in ... who comes out?
Let's do the anatomy of what I did to create this effective back-cover copy.
Tip 1 - It's a marketing piece not a part of the book and not necessarily a summary. Your no. #1 goal without question is to sell books. The back-cover copy is the SECOND sales tool in your arsenal. Which is the first? The cover, of course.
Tip 2 - Create a PITHY headline! Short, snappy and mind-blowing is a winner. The headline needs to distill in 3-4 words the gist of your book. It shouldn't be a sentence. It shouldn't be longer than 4 words. It should be provocative - something to make people stop and wonder. It can be a fun play on words (mine is). It can be something just mind-blowing and interesting. Whatever it does it should capture the reader's attention. My headline plays off Sex, Drugs and Rock'n'Roll... which in any case many addicts come from that mindset, too.
Tip 3 (optional) - Use a sentence or a brief excerpt from the actual book. I don't always take this approach, but when you find a sentence that conveys the essence of the book and is throught-provoking, then use that trick.
Tip 4: The first paragraph should be a brief 100-150 words summation of the book's story line. It's really hard to distill an entire book down, but you can do it. Remember you only have about 300 words in total for your back cover, so try and keep it short. This paragraph gives you some specifics about the story.
Tip 5: The second paragraph is the "sizzle" description. It should be sexy and tell the reader essentially why the book is the one to buy! Is the book scary, a page-turner, sexy, funny, action-packed, romantic? Then tell your readers those things about it. Don't be afraid you're tooting your own horn. Nobody will read it that way. Again, your only goal is to sell books! So SELL them.
Tip 6: Brief endorsements can go here, too. Make sure they're only a sentence though - you don't have enough room. Even two-word endorsements by a big name will do just fine.

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