Simply Scrumptious Cupcakes recipe book by Liz Berwick

Self-publishing tips

How to write a winning back cover blurb for your book

You’ve done the hard work. You’ve written the book you always wanted to, and now your publisher (which might very well be us if you’ve chosen to work with Panda Press) is pestering you to provide them with a winning description to place on the back cover.
The trouble is, you haven’t got much room to work with. Why? A back cover blurb should be around 200 words at most. Any more text than that and it begins to look crowded. The trick is to keep it short but sweet – and that’s not always easy to achieve in the space available.

Fiction books

After the front cover design, the next most important factor in helping a reader to decide whether or not to go any further is the back cover description.
It’s a good idea to introduce your genre, setting and central character – but try and avoid giving away too many plot spoilers. Remember that this is your opportunity to sell the story inside so you’ll want to create a sense of intrigue and suspense. Pose questions and hint at the conflict within – but never reveal the answers.
This might also be a good opportunity to include a short and focused ‘About the Author’ section. If you’re going to use a photograph, use a professionally-taken head shot for a more polished look.

Non-fiction books

Just like a fiction book, it’s the job of the back cover to really sell the contents inside.

However, in non-fiction it’s more common to directly address the intended audience. Whether it’s a pet owner looking for top tips on dog training or a home baker in search of recipe inspiration, then make it clear why your book will provide the answers to all their questions.

You might want to include a list of bullet points so the reader can quickly understand what’s on offer. Think along the lines of:

‘After reading this book you will understand:

  • How to train your dog like a professional
  • Techniques to improve motivation and learning’

Readers always want to know what’s in it for them so be sure to spell it out. Don’t waste space on a lengthy biography, although you could mention some relevant credentials. Instead, a few, well-chosen words should suffice.

What to avoid:

  • Fuzzy, blurred author photographs (we always ask for a hi-res image or we can arrange a photographer if you’d prefer)
  • Heaping praise on yourself (review quotes from relevant third parties never go amiss but these should be used sparingly)

Panda Press has years of experience helping fiction and non-fiction writers transfer their ideas into print. To speak to us about your next self-publishing project, just get in touch on 01785 815110 or email sales@pandapress.net

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