Updated: Dec 6, 2019
If you read Tuesday’s introduction to back cover blurbs, you may remember this line:
A back cover blurb normally consists of one or two stand-apart lines up at the top and then two or three paragraphs of description after that.
Today, we’re going to be talking about those one or two stand-apart lines. Here are just a few for starters…
The (online) opening of David Baldacci’s A Minute to Midnight – “FBI Agent Atlee Pine returns to her Georgia hometown to investigate her twin sister's abduction, only to encounter a serial killer in this page-turning thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.”
The (online) opening of Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money – “Meet Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. In Stephanie’s opinion, toxic waste, rabid drivers, armed schizophrenics, and August heat, humidity, and hydrocarbons are all part of the great adventure of living in Jersey.”
And here’s one more just for kicks and giggles. It’s a novel by Colleen Hoover called It Ends With Us – “Sometimes the one who loves you is the one who hurts you the most.”
Incidentally, none of those are endorsements from me. So please don’t take them as such.
They’re just examples to help you get a good feel for what you’re going to be working with.
Now, the descriptions above may or may not work for you depending on your taste in novels. But they do work for some people.
In the first two cases, they work for lots and lots of people, since they’re both on the New York Times Bestseller’s list. In the third, the author has over 4,000 five-star ratings as of December 4.
Not too shabby.
Admittedly, name recognition can be a huge part of book marketing. But even if you have none whatsoever, you can still learn a lesson or two from the alleged greats.
Or at least the ones who sell really, really well.
Create a killer first sentence for your book’s back cover blurb.
No pressure or anything, but that first sentence or two in your back cover blurb is a big deal. So don’t think you can effectively slack off on it. It needs to pop just as much as your cover does, which means you need to think about what your ideal reader wants once again.
You already promised action, adventure, romance, magic, depth, or some other form of emotional, psychological or intellectual gratification with the images and fonts you chose for the front. Now your back has to sell it.
But again… No pressure whatsoever.
I actually really don’t mean to freak you out with any of that information. I simply want you to treat this segment of your presentation with the consideration it deserves.
That way, you have a much better chance of getting the sales you deserve.
With that hope in mind, here’s how you put together the beginning of your very own back cover blurb:
1. Know your genre – Yes, this is repetitive information at this point, but that doesn’t mean it’s not extremely important. 2. Know your front cover – Do you have an object such as a key on it? Feel free to make a play on words in that regard.
Is the title something along the lines of “Untamed Beauty”? In that case, go ahead and use words that evoke absolute freedom… or the lack thereof. 3. Know your next two or three paragraphs – I’m not saying you have to actually have them written out beforehand. (Though I’m also not saying you shouldn’t.) But make sure that whatever that critical first line or two says, it’s going to flow effortlessly into whatever comes next.
Summed up, those initial words are meant to build off of your genre-savvy front cover and then build into your actual tease.
Which is our next topic to tackle.