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The secrets to writing back page blurbs that sell books

13 July 2018

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The back page of your book is the first place readers go to discover what hidden gems lie within.

Whether you have written a tantalising ‘who-done-it’ thriller or a romance novel that will melt even the iciest of hearts, if you don’t sum it up on the back cover, you’ll lose readers you might otherwise have gained.

Writing back page blurb is an art form in itself. Too short and you won’t get the best stuff across, too long and you will lose anyone who bothers to read it. You might be able to write a novel without breaking sweat, but when it comes to succinct summaries that really sell, it can feel like a whole different ball game.

In this blog, we look at some of the secrets to writing successful back covers for your book.

1. Entice the reader with your headline

This is not a hard sell opportunity and you definitely don’t want to fill your headline with hyperbole. But, what you do want to do is to draw the reader in.

Less is often more in this instance, and a simple statement or question is often best. Some examples are:

“Learn how to unlock your secret potential in a few short months”

“Who killed John Doe, and what does an empty office in Manhattan have to do with his murder?”

2. Find the right voice

If you book is a gripping thriller or a period drama, your best bet is to keep the same tone in your back page blurb.

Depending on the style of your writing and given topic, you should emulate that tone of voice as much as possible in your blurb. Keep it light where it needs to be, or as dark as the story contained within, and add emotion to entice the reader to choose your book over the competition.

3. Evoke emotion

Boring bullet points aren’t welcome on back page blurbs.

You want to evoke enough emotion in the reader to leave them desperate for more. Describe the benefits your readers will derive from the book and focus on which of their emotions you want to stir up.

Once you have identified how you want your potential readers to feel when they read your blurb, you can go ahead and target that emotion.

4. Tell them what the book is about - not what happens

Motivate your readers to buy the book by not giving too much away.

After all, if you put every detail on the back cover, there’ll be nothing for them to discover inside. Start strong and introduce your storyline, but finish up with questions rather than answers.

5. Make it easy to read

A significant chunk of your blurb might be informative, but make sure it’s easy to read!

Don’t make the reader have to work hard to find out what your book is about. Instead, use short paragraphs, ask questions and keep the headline punchy.

6. Always leave them wanting more

However you do it, always be sure to seduce the reader with your back cover blurb. Conclude your writing in a way that makes them want to rush to the counter, buy your book and start reading it right away!

Go forth and write blurb that sells!

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