FCTB: Book Descriptions

Blog Post 34 FCTB Back-of-book textYou’ve been working on pulling together everything that you need to do to get ready to publish your book.  You’ve got your title.  You’ve got a knockout tagline.  Now, you come to what will be one of the final hooks to reel your reader in:  the book description

There’s both an art and a science to writing this text.  The science of it comes in preparing the basis for it, which is the elevator pitch you may use to woo agents and editors.  The art comes in taking that and refining it to be something that both intrigues the reader and makes them want to pick up the novel and read it.

The following steps show the way I recommend developing the book description.

  1. Develop your elevator pitch. This may seem truly daunting. It’s not. In his book, How to Make a Living as a Writer, James Scott Bell comes up with a three-sentence system that helps phrase an elevator pitch. I highly recommend reading his approach to it. In a very small nutshell, you define your lead character, then the situation that gets them into trouble, and the “death” that overhangs them, which doesn’t necessarily have to be physical death. See his book for more details. When drafting it, use a notepad and pen to ignite your creativity.
  2. Refine your elevator pitch. Do you think you have your pitch? Rewrite it. Again, and again, and again. Why? Each time, you’ll hone in on what you truly want to say.  Be rigorous about it until you’re satisfied.
  3. Read the book description for other novels. Are you having problems translating the pitch into something that might fit onto a book? Pull the books of some of your favorite authors and see how they write it. Count the number of words too. That will give you an idea of how long you should make your own text.
  4. Embellish. Take your elevator text and embellish it. Maybe you have another character that’s almost like the second to the lead in terms of importance. Explain who this character is. Add anything else that may further interest the reader. Remember not to get too long. If you do, you may run into trouble with this text filling up your cover and leaving no room for any other text. Put the first draft or two on paper.
  5. Refine. Take the time to once more refine. This time, it’s okay to use a computer so you can quickly gauge your word count. Keep revising until you’re happy with it and have a word count of approximately 150 words. It may take a few tries, but that’s okay. It’s part of the creative process.

Now you have your book description.  Are you ready for cover design?  Almost.  You have a couple of more steps to go.

Next up:  The etcetera text.

I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Get in on the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

No Comments