At Wise Ink, we believe that one of the most important things we do is help indie authors put their best foot forward when marketing and selling their book. So far, we’ve blogged about how to discover your book’s brand, how to craft a professional author bio, how to hook people you talk to on the concept of your book, and even how to become a marketing expert in just a few steps.
The posts I just mention all have one common thread running through them: the importance of distilling information about your product (and this includes you and your book!) down to attention-catching details and leaving the audience wanting more.
Now think about what happens when you walk into a bookstore: oftentimes, you walk in with a purpose, quickly looking up the book that was recommended by a friend or has been sitting in your GoodReads queue for ages. But what do you do when you’re done finding what you’re searching for? You browse. And out of the hundreds of books at your fingertips, it is the back cover copy (BCC) that helps you decide whether or not a specific book is for you.
If you’re planning on selling your book in print form, a good BCC will boost your sales without any effort at all. In fact, The New York Times has found that two-thirds of people who buy books at brick-and-mortar stores choose their books by browsing the shelves. That’a a lot of buying potential just waiting to be claimed by a snappy back cover!
And even if you’re planning on only selling through online retailers, BCC is still incredibly useful; it’s just shifted from the back of the book to the summary/synopsis field on your book’s page!
So what are the keys to writing kick-butt BCC?
You want your BCC to be about 150 words, and most definitely no more than 200.
Make sure you keep your paragraphs short, so it’s easy to skim and read quickly. In 150 words, aim for 2-3 paragraphs. You don’t want to clutter the page with one big glob of text!
Browsing goes a long way to getting someone to buy your book, but if your BCC includes an endorsement, then you also have a recommendation built-in! And readers love getting recommendations.
When spoken of in broad terms, a lot of books sound like they have the same plot and/or subject: girl-meets-boy, orphan saves the word, how to live your life the best you can…but by adding fun little details, like a character’s ability to eat fire, your book will stick in the minds of your readers.
BCC is NOT a a synopsis or a summary. It’s a sales tactic. You want to tell the reader what’s going on in general, but hold back. Keep them guessing. You know how some movie trailers show clips from the last scene, or tell all funniest jokes, and then you are disappointed when you actually watch the movie? Don’t let your BCC become a bad movie trailer.
So how do you avoid sharing too much? Ask a question in your last line. For example: Will Lassie be able to get Timmy out of the well before it’s too late? I don’t know, but I sure want to find out!
Readers, what’s the BCC on your book?