Back Cover Blurbs and Internal Extras
For all my author friends out there, I thought I’d say a few words about the bane of our existence. No, not editing…. the other bane. The back-cover blurb. You spend all that time pouring your heart and soul into writing your current best-seller (hopefully) only to be reminded that you have to come up with the snippet that goes on the back of the book. So, basically you have to find a way to give a teaser covering what you just spent months creating. And…even better…. You get to figure out how to put into two to three paragraphs. Yeah, no sweat.
Honestly, I hate writing the back-cover blurb. But, ultimately, what choice do we have? You can’t farm it out because unless you have a beta reader who is also a writer, you might not have a choice. I don’t think publishers will do it for you. At least, none of the ones I’ve worked with. Nope, that thing falls right squarely back into your lap. Best be dusting off the old thinking cap and figure out how to make a concise teaser that not only highlights the subject of the book but provides enough tantalizing details to make someone what to read what’s inside. It’s a real balancing act.
I’ve seen otherwise good book covers ruined by a lousy back-cover blurb. Also, a bad blurb can turn off readers and hurt sales. Let’s face it, the old saying “Never judge a book by it’s cover” is pure bovine excrement. We all do it. Whether we want to admit it or not, a bad book cover will turn us away from the book. Author’s, it happens. Be prepared. Don’t let your sister’s twelve-year-old who’s kinda good at drawing do your cover…. unless they’re really good, then use your best judgement. Best advice, choose your cover art wisely.
Another bit of advice. And this holds true if you self-publish or work with a conventional publisher. Have your interior pages ready prior to submission. If you’re lucky enough to have your manuscript accepted by a publisher, don’t make them wait for your interior information. Do a decent Author Bio. Keep it short-ish. Generally, a few paragraphs to a page at the most should suffice. Also include a good quality author photo, most-likely in black and white. For goodness sake, don’t use a selfie as an author photo. You want to look like a pro, not someone clowning around. Now, I don’t recommend the cliché photo of an author with a tweed jacket with patches on the shoulders holding a pipe. Do something original and something that truly represents you, just make sure it’s a good high-quality picture taken in high resolution.
Another thing to have at the end of the Author Bio is all of your links. Your social media contacts, websites, YouTube Channel, Amazon Author Page or anything else that will lead readers to you and therefore your work. There are ways to link your various social media pages. Facebook will allow you to link your Twitter and your Snap Chat directly to your personal page or your Author Page. This is a godsend, as it will cut down the amount of time you spend posting links and updates. Also, there are programs out there like Hootsuite that will allow you to schedule posts across multiple platforms. Do a bit of Googling and see the choices and find the one that works for you.
Other interior content you should have ready is the dedication page, if you have one. I do sometimes and sometimes I don’t. It depends. If you want an Author’s Note page, write it out and have it ready for the submission. A forward should be the same way. Have them ready for the formatting because they directly affect page count and therefore spine width of the final cover. The cover artist will need the final page count to get the sizing correct for printing. Believe me, final page count is a critical piece of information to have.
Anything else put in will likely be up to the publisher. Advertisements at the back of the book are usually at their discretion. Unless you have one put together to profile other works in your list of releases. I try to make sure I include a link to my Amazon Author Page on my bio so they can reach everything I have in print in one click. Anything that helps drive sales.
Once you have all of that material created and ready, make a file for it and have it ready for the next book. Some of it can be re-used, like the Bio, Author photo, links and advertisements. Each thing you can have ready for the next time will give you more time to focus on the truly important part. The actual writing of new projects.
The back-cover blurb is more time consuming than difficult. There are any number of “how-to’s” and tutorials on the internet that can help you. If you have questions, talk to another writer or someone you know that’s been published before. If you don’t know anyone, shoot me a message online or an email. I’m not hard to find and I’m always more than happy to help. I can’t write it for you, but I can offer my opinion and insight. I’d be happy to take a look at what you’ve got and offer suggestions. The point is, have someone you know who knows what they’re doing take a look at it before you slap it on the back of your book. You’ll be glad you did.
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