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Paperback Back Cover Copy/About the Book

The Back Cover Copy is a brief overview of the book that entices reader to browse and buy the book. The back-cover text is ideally 150 to 200 words and at least 3 or 4 sentences long. This part should not be a detailed description of the book but does not tell the whole story.

For nonfiction books, the back-cover text should state what the book is about and how it’s different, and why a potential reader should buy it.

For fiction books, the back-cover text should state the setting and main characters of the book and something about a conflict they face.

In all marketing copy (back cover copy, author bio, and keynote), the following guidelines apply:

Use the book title, set in italics, instead. Do not refer to the book as “the book.”

Let the text speak for itself. Avoid underlining words or using all caps.

Avoid referring to your audience as “the reader” or “readers.” Instead write in a manner that incites the reader to act. For example, instead of “Readers will learn how to improve their focus,” write, “Learn how to improve your focus.”

Write in third person and refer to yourself by name preceded with author. For example, Author Clark Wayne tells the harrowing story of his trip to Africa.

Break up the book descriptions instead of including a dense paragraph of text. Break it up into short paragraphs that are easy to read.

Use bulleted lists to help tell the reader what is in the book especially if your book is nonfiction

Make sure your bulleted lists use parallel construction for each item list. For example, “create, learn, motivate” instead of “create, learning, motivation.”

Avoid clichés such as a “must-read” or “This book will change your life.” Keep in mind that the back-cover copy is a preview and not a book review.

Be consistent with the tense of your language.

Include advance praise, if it’s from a notable. Include short excerpts with a credit line of the person who gave you the endorsement. It’s best to use endorsements from people or periodicals that relate to your book in some way.

You may also check other books that compare and compete with your title and read the book description. That should give you an idea of what readers will expect to see on your back cover.

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