A great blurb and back page layout can make all of the difference in convincing your reader to buy the book and take it home with them, but what goes into a great back page and what information should you place there?
This will of course depend upon the genre of book and whether it’s fictional or nonfictional, there will be three main elements that are common upon most books and those are information about the book/story, bio for the author and testimonials saying how wonderful the book actually is (there are other elements too which we’ll come on to later).
One key factor to take into account is the time and focus you give to your back page, it has the job of promotion and sales for you and should be taken seriously, we’ve seen authors who’ve taken several weeks before they’re happy with their back page copy, it really is that important!
For fiction the most common layout includes just the blurb regarding the story itself, this will be a piece of copy between 250 to 350 words in length and give the reader a good idea as to what the book is about. The blurb does have the job of hooking the reader by giving details which will entice but at the same time not give too much away (you do not want to let slip any important twists to your story).
The author’s bio can sometimes be used upon the back page of fictional books and can also include a portrait photo too, however, one thing to remember is the size of your page, for most fiction books the standard trim size is anything up to 6” x 9”, if you try to place too much information then the page becomes way too busy for the reader.
This isn’t to say that you can’t have your author’s bio upon the back page, it can really help your reader connect with you as an author, you just need to ensure that your blurb is around 200 to 250 words and your bio around 100 words.
Testimonials are a great way of grabbing the attention of your reader, they can be included upon fictional books but are more commonly seen in works of nonfiction, they add a certain element of confidence to your buyer that this book is worth reading. But in both fiction and nonfiction you will normally find them placed towards the top of the layout to grab the reader’s attention immediately.
For nonfiction it’s very common to find a piece about the book itself (250 to 300 words) and a bio, again, the piece regarding the book needs to hook the buyer and sell the book to them, the bio adds validity as to why you’re the right person to have written this book, you are selling yourself as the expert more so than with a fictional book, an author’s portrait photo helps too.
It is also very common to find a greater use of testimonials being used within nonfiction, again, these are placed at the top of the page and add weight to your book and its professionalism.
Additional elements that can be added to both nonfiction and fiction back pages are contact details (such as email addresses), social media pages and author’s websites. It can be a great way of getting your readers to find out more about you and your up and coming books. You’ll also see details of your publisher, logos and of course the barcode and its white box.
So the common elements to any back page are as follows:
1) Blub – 250 to 350 words
2) Bio – 100 words selling yourself as the right person to have written this book
3) Testimonials – four or five short punchy quotes (along with the giver’s name and other details such as job title etc. giving them validity in making the actual quote)
4) Contact details – social media, Email, websites (it’s advisable not to put phone numbers however).
5) Keep it concise – too much detail and you run the risk of putting your reader off
6) Take your time – it needs to help sell your book, so get it right before you publish
7) Simple is good – if you only have enough room for two elements, then just ensure you keep the blurb and either the bio or quotes, having a clean and professional back page with well thought out copy will speak volumes to your readers.
Book cover designers.