In five steps to write back cover copy for your book, I acknowledged that most writers struggle producing compelling back cover copy. I also encouraged you to write two versions and to save unused copy, content you didn’t use, and your brainstorming session. Here’s why:
You also need to write promotional material for your book. Yes, if you’re going with a traditional publisher, they may do this for you, but you know your book better than they do and have the most at stake. At the least, you can offer them copy to tweak and be part of the process—or you may opt to do it yourself anyway. And if you’re self-publishing, you need to write this or pay someone else to.
We’ll need to have promotional copy for email marketing, social media posts, online book listings, and other advertising opportunities. The length of the copy depends on the medium, so create multiple versions of different lengths. While back cover copy varies from 150 to 300 words, promotional copy is shorter, usually 100 words or less. I advise four different lengths: 100 words, 75 words, 50 words, and 25 words.
Then, there’s one last item. Make a tweetable version of less than 140 characters, preferably fewer than 120, so followers can retweet it with their comment.
Starting with your back cover copy, try editing it down to fit these different lengths. Do this with both versions Sometimes back cover copy doesn’t scale nicely to shorter lengths. If this happens, return to versions you didn’t use or your brainstorming session. Often these will work nicely for short marketing blurbs even though they didn’t work for a longer back cover copy.
Ideally, you should end up with a couple of versions of each length; they may be similar in concept or completely different. The goal is that any time you, or someone else, wants a promotional copy of a specific length, you have it ready. In some cases, it may need tweaking for the particular application, in which case, make the edits and add the result to your cache of marketing blurbs.
Now you have created a great arsenal of book promotional material. Make sure you do this ahead of time, so you’re not rushed to meet a last-minute request and provide them with less than ideal copy.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.