Importance of Book Cover Copy in Self-Publishing

Readers really do judge books by their covers. That is what your cover is designed to do – communicate the value of all of the great material in between. Keep this in mind when developing your back cover copy and make sure it’s professionally drafted by your self-publishing provider – this is marketing writing; artistic writing.

The BACK COVER COPY is restricted by the size of the book’s back cover.   Ideally, the size of the cover should be taken into account when composing the back cover copy to ensure the ultimate balance between font size and aesthetics. You don’t want too much copy so as to require an illegibly small font. You also don’t want too little copy, leaving big empty spaces on the back cover.   There are three main components to the back cover copy: 1) the headline, 2) the synopsis or marketing copy, and 3) the author biography.  There may also be quotes, cover blurbs, or other testimonials about either the book or the author. In some cases, these cover blurbs may justify more exposure than the summary of the book. Ultimately, the entire back copy should be composed with the goal of getting a browser to become a buyer.  Bullet point and numbered lists are good, effective elements of back cover copy for non-fiction books.  Cover copy for fiction books should demonstrate highly effective prose.

Have fun and keep writing.

– Karl Schroeder

Tips on Annotation for the Self-Publishing Author

Last week we discussed the book marketing value of professional cover scribing. Annotation provides an avenue to use that externally to enhance that marketing online.

ANNOTATION is used by Ingram during the distribution process. When the book is listed on Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s website, it’s the annotation that fills the PRODUCT DESCRIPTION/OVERVIEW section.   The ANNOTATION is also restricted in length, although very often can be substantially longer than the Back Cover Copy.  Ideally, the ANNOTATION should be as long and as detailed as possible, perhaps requiring multiple headings to separate elements of the ANNOTATION.  The total character count, including spaces, should be as close to 4000 as possible without exceeding it.   It’s okay to include the author biography again in the ANNOTATION, provided a separate heading (Like “About the Author”) separates the content. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have the capability of understanding basic HTML formatting tags, so judicious use of several tags can help an ANNOTATION really stand out.  Two specific tags that should be used are the <b>BOLD</b> tags and the <em>italics</em> tags, both of which can help draw a reader’s attention to specific words and phrases within the ANNOTATION. Bullet point and numbered lists are good here, too.

Whew. Have fun. Keep writing.

– Karl Schroeder