From Jessi Rita Hoffman: What Novelists Should Say
If you are a novelist, your back cover should provide a short summary of what your book is about. Write only a paragraph or two, and include the hooks—the story’s most engaging plot points. If you queried agents or editors at any point, you might be able to start with the hook from your query letter.
Here is an example of back-cover copy for Loving Legit, a novel by my client Serena King:
Black businesswoman Monica Walker knows all about success. She’s transformed herself from broken-home victim to New York–magazine super-editor, and she’s only thirty at that. What she doesn’t know about is how to get a good man, a legit man who’ll put that ring on her finger. Her love life has been a series of romantic train wrecks. What disaster will her too-trusting heart lure her into next?
Monica wants to find just one good guy who will respect and love her the way she deserves—but is he out there? What’s she doing wrong, she constantly wonders. Finally, it looks like wedded bliss is just around the corner. But has Monica found true love at last or just made another mistake?
It often works well if the description ends on an intriguing question or a point of tension—something that will hook the reader on the book’s premise or the character’s central dilemma. The back cover isn’t the place to get bogged down in arcane plot details; rather, you want to sell readers on the big-picture narrative arc.
Your Picture and a Bit about You
Besides those carefully chosen few words, your back cover should include a professional-looking photograph of you, the author. This should be a clear close-up photo of your face, and no one but you should be in the picture. You may have a cute spouse, kid, or pet, but this is not the place to show them off unless they are actually a part of the book.
Then, write a brief bio. For nonfiction authors, you should include two or three points to establish that you are an expert, with the training and/or experience that qualifies you to write about your topic.
What you say on your back cover about yourself will not take the place of your formal author bio, which should appear on a page inside the book near the back. You can go into some detail about your background there—but don’t do it on your back cover.
From Penny Sansevieri: Sometimes the right media exposure can really propel a book’s success.
It is more like the key to author marketing is finding the right audience.
The right media outreach and book promotion to your goals and market.