Day 6 of PREPtober

Today we’re going to follow my 7-Step Formula for Back Cover Copy and then we’ll use my 6-point audit list to make sure it’s the best it can be.


Hi, everyone and welcome to Day Six of PREPtober, where we are going to discuss how to draft the back cover copy for your novel. Now, doing so will accomplish two things.

First, when you enter NaNoWriMo, it’s going to ask you for the title of your book and a description so you can easily copy and paste what we’re going to create today into that spot.

Second, this is an excellent starting point for pitching to an agent or editor, because it’s punchy and quick and something that I think they will both appreciate.

I’m going to give you a seven-step formula for creating the perfect back cover copy. Now, keep in mind, back cover copy is short. It’s about 130 words, which breaks down to approximately seven sentences. That means you have one sentence to accomplish each step that I’m going to give you.

The first step is to write a really great hook. So, something to draw people in, because they’re gonna flip the book over and they’re going to look at your description and that first sentence is definitely going to draw them in or repel them away.

Second, you are doing a character transformation, so your second sentence should be about the character today and their every day life. So, it’s a little boring, but at least it sets everything up.

The third step is you should hint at how old the character is.

Fourth, you should talk about the visible goal of the hero. Now, this is what we talked about before that happens at the 25% mark. This is possibly a geographical change and that’s very easy to describe and something that sets the user … not the user … the hero or heroine up in a new spot, which leads to the next point, which is to show them living or struggling in that new everyday environment.

The sixth part is the But part. So, after you have described their new normal, you want to say, “But can they survive? But can they stop the bomb from going off? But can they save their family?”, something in there that is amplifying the huge high concept that you already hinted at in the beginning.

The seventh and the last is possibly ending on a question.

I want to give you six steps to audit your back cover copy and take a second look to make sure it is as great as it can be.

The first step is to make sure you’ve set the right tone, so if you’re writing a romantic comedy, then make sure it stays light and happy, but if you’re writing a deep and troubled thriller, then make sure it stays dark and menacing.

The second is to take a look at your hook or your headline and make sure it gives some sort of promise of the emotions that the characters will experience later on.

Third is make sure it’s at-a-glance friendly, which simply means that you are not going to have one big chunk of a paragraph. You’re going to split it up into sections.

Fourth, you should make sure it moves people quickly from one point to the next.

Fifth, a good way to do number four is to make sure you only describe what your book is about and not try to describe all of the events that occur within the book.

The last one is you want to make sure you make it as emotionally evocative as you possibly can, because people are going to read your book to see a character transformation and they want to experience all of the highs and lows and the loss and the love and the fears that your character does, so you need to hint at what those emotions are going to be and then amplify it in your back copy.

Remember, this is a who, what, when, where, not a synopsis of your novel.

I will see you guys back here for Day Seven where we are going to do a small audit to make sure you have a very original and never before seen idea, so we’ll do that tomorrow and we’ll also … and I didn’t put this in here … we’re going to put together our book binders, which means hopefully you’ve ordered everything from Day Two that was in the kit and we are going to put together our tabs, our dividers, and define what goes into each of those eight sections that I told you to get an eight-tab divider for. All right, see you then.


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