Write Effective Back Cover Sales Copy for Nonfiction Books

By Robert W. Lucas

As a nonfiction author who self publishes, one of the most important tasks that you will have to tackle is how to write effective back cover sales copy for nonfiction books. This cover content is one of the most important aspects of your new book. That is because after your title captures potential reader attention, the next thing that typically happens is that they flip to the back cover to learn why they might want to read what is inside. Similarly, on the internet, this information will help snag their attention in a similar manner.

Since there is very limited space on the back cover of your book, you must carefully and concisely describe the book, emphasize its value and what benefits the reader will derive and include crucial information like your barcode and ISBN. Another element that I like to add is a QR code that will drive readers to the book’s website where they can discover more information, preview content, and buy the book.

Once you write the internal book content, you are ready to start creating the text for the back cover. Before you do, I suggest that you pay a visit to your local store and scout out books in the same genre and topic area. Look to see how other authors have approached the copy on the back of their books to get your own book cover ideas. Identify key words, benefits and the format that they use. Note similarities between competing books and emulate those. There is no reason to recreate a process that might be working well for other authors and publishers. Pay particular attention to books produced by large or major publishers. These companies have been in the business for a long time and have a professional staff that creates their sales copy. Use this expertise as a guide for your own book.

When you are ready to write your back cover copy, consider how you will grab attention. You can do this in one of the following ways.

Ask a thought-provoking question related to your book topic. For example, for a book on  handling difficult customer situations, you might ask a question, such as, Have you ever dealt with a customer who were resistant to whatever recommendation that you made as a sales person?

Offer a statistic. For example, in a book for entrepreneurs who want to start a new small business, you might say something like, According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were ______ new small businesses started in the past year. Depending on the type of business you want to start, many of these companies will be your competitor.

Provide solutions to a problem.  Building on the last tip, you might add, If you are the type of person who is ready to take action on your dreams of starting your new company, you will find a step-by-step process for establishing a successful business that includes…

In addition to securing reader attention, you have a couple of more things that the back cover copy must provide:

List a short list of benefits that readers will gain from the book. Using the entrepreneur book idea above, you could include:

In this book, you will learn how to:

Identify important resources that can help make your business a success.

Create a business plan that will guide you through the establishment of your business and be used to approach potential investors and financial institutions to raise capital.

Select the right type of business structure for your situation.

Issue a call to action. Once your potential buyer has read the content of your cover, you need to persuade her or him to buy the book. Do this with a call to action. Here are a few possible approaches:

Ready to make your dream of owning a new company a reality? Buy this book today and get started!

In eight short chapters, this book can show you how to create a path to your own success – so what are you waiting for?

Don’t waste another minute – get started on the road to business ownership by buying this book now.

Additional Back Cover Elements

Two other elements that are often included on the back of a book include endorsements from well-known or successful people and a short author biography. Depending on the size of your book cover, there may also be room for a small photo of yourself. This helps readers put a name with your face. Doing so is important when you are working to develop a strong author’s platform and want to use the book as promotional material that can drive business to you or your company.

For additional ideas on how to effectively market your book once you publish it, check out Make Money Writing Books: Proven Profit Making Strategies for Authors.

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