Writing Back Cover Copy

I’ve been working on my back cover copy for Shadow Queene, and thought I would share a few tips with you.

Writing back cover copy (or flap copy or jacket copy) has a lot to do with keywords and less to do with specifics. The best back cover copy draws you in and gets you hooked — leaves you wanting more. 

A formula I see a lot is:
Sentence 1: Hook
Sentence 2: A little about character and plot
Sentence 3: Big problem or question
Sentence 4: Boom!

The beginning needs to bring us in. The second sentence gets us interested. The third sentence gets us concerned, curious, and wondering. The final sentence leaves us with a KAPOW feeling. Like, I really want to buy this book. 

From the shelf next to me:

First line from Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic.

  • We are immediately drawn in. What happened to the magic? Where did it go? 
  • We also get the setting and the main character immediately. 

Last line from Susan Hill Long’s The Magic Mirror: In this twisty-turny tale of mistaken identities, missed connections, and loves lost and found, the wanderers and more will meet Maggie on her journey to heal herself…and her kingdom. 

  • She’s got everything you need to know about the book in that final line. 
  • She leaves you wanting more, and lands with a Boom!

Clearly, this copy can also spread over more than 4 sentences, but the idea is the same. Bring them in, get them wondering, and get them excited. 

Here are a few articles that say it more eloquently than me. Take a look, and then do some research of your own to see how authors and publishers are writing jacket copy. Interesting note, a lot of times, that copy actually comes directly from your query letter!

How to write successful back cover copy

Compelling back cover copy

Writing your book’s back cover copy

Happy writing!