Five facts about the back cover you probably didn’t know

Important tips for your non-fiction book

Many authors only write the back cover text when their book is finished. This is a missed opportunity! The 5 facts below will change how you look at back covers forever.

1. The back cover is the most important page of your book

What do you do when you browse through a bookstore? You select books with interesting titles and covers and then read the back covers, correct? When buying online on websites like Amazon.com, you will also read the blurb (the text of the back cover) first. And what is the executive summary of your book that you send to a publisher to see if he is interested? Indeed; your back cover text. This is the elevator pitch of your book and your marketing material.

2. The author writes the blurb, not the publisher

I had no idea about this! I had barely started writing my first book when my publisher asked me to supply the back cover text for the autumn brochure. Apparently, bookstores buy their stock based on a brochure with cover photos and back covers of books to be released months later. Based on my text and the cover that the publisher had made, the bookstores decided to buy the book – that was not even finished yet! That’s how I first learned that you can use the back cover for the presale of your book.

3. Your back cover leads to the table of contents and gives you the structure for your book

The back cover is not only your main sales page but also shows the structure of your book and gives you the framework for your writing process. How will you fulfill the promise you make to your readers on the back cover of your book? Make sure the content of your book meets expectations. So write your back cover first. It prevents you from getting stuck later in the writing process.

4. It is a test of whether your book idea is viable

Before you put a lot of time into writing your book, you can use your back cover to see if there is any interest at all in your book, and your approach to your subject. Post your back cover on social media, send it to friends and practice your elevator pitch whenever possible. Ask for feedback to make your blurb even better. Do you keep getting the same questions? Then include the answers in your back cover blurb. Only when you get a lot of positive responses, you start writing the book. Who knows, you might even get some pre-orders while you’re still writing!

5. Say as much as possible in no more than 250 words

There is limited space on the back cover. Your text must be legible, and there should also be space for the author photo and a barcode. So you have room for a maximum of 250-300 words, including the piece about the author (which you write in 3rd person of course). I consider the back cover as a kind of puzzle, where you have to make sure that all the important pieces are included and that they fit together properly. It’s worth paying extra attention to this most important page of your book. There is so much to say about the back cover that in my book ‘Reverse Writing’ I devote an entire chapter to it, with examples, common mistakes, and tips on how to avoid them.

Are you serious about writing your book?

Don't reinvent the wheel, like I did. As the author and co-author of more than 30 books, writing coach for hundreds of people and organizer of 20 writing retreats, I have finally found the best system for writing a good book: the 'Reverse Writing' method. If you begin at the end and create a good structure before you start writing, you will be able to follow your energy, instead of the page numbers.

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