Captivating Customers with Well-Crafted Back Cover Copy: Part I: Nonfiction Titles

May 2003
by Robin Quinn

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(Note: This article is primarily about writing copy for nonfiction titles. Part II will look at the differences in creating back cover copy for fiction.)

The World of Words is a magical place, where kingdoms and characters are produced simply by tapping the computer keyboard. Likewise, the words on a book’s back cover magically take the reader on a quick tour of what’s inside. That is, if the combination of ingredients in this word potion does its trick and keeps a shopper spellbound.

Let’s say you’re a savvy publisher who understands how essential it is to hire talented designers to create the right looks for the covers of your books. At a bookstore, the front cover of one of your nonfiction titles has, in fact, just made an impact, intriguing a potential customer to linger with the book for at least eight seconds (the average time spent scrutinizing the front cover according to The Wall Street Journal). Once this shopper flips the book over, will your back cover copy work its magic to strengthen interest and trigger the “I must buy this book” impulse?

Here are some tips for making it do just that.

Use an alluring beginning. If you did your homework, the top of your back cover listed one to three subject categories so the bookstore employees were certain where to place your book and, as a result, it showed up in the shopper’s area of interest. Now the shopper is glancing at the back c…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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