How to Write Your Back Cover Copy for Your Romance Novel
Getting that back cover copy exactly right is an essential step in preparing your novel for publication. Don’t skimp on this. It is your biggest marketing tool. Think about it, do you ever buy a book without reading that bit on the back that tells you what you’ll find inside? If it doesn’t catch your attention, you’ll put it back on the rack and move on to the next book.
It’s important to describe the essence of your book in about two paragraphs at most, with about three sentences per paragraph. Make them powerful and punchy, and don’t waste space by asking obvious questions. The “Will these two ever get together?” type questions can be omitted. After all, this is a romance, so they’d BETTER get together, right? Use the space for something more relevant that makes your book stand out from the others.
In your first and Second paragraphs you need to introduce the hero and heroine and describe the conflict that keeps them apart. In a romance, this is typically an interior conflict (something emotional), but in more plot-driven romances, such as Romantic Suspense, there is often an exterior conflict that keeps them apart as well. The true journey in a romance novel is, however, the internal journey. How will she, with her baggage from the past, ever come to love and trust him? And how will he, with all his commitment issues/unresolved trust issues/ other baggage ever come to trust and commit to her? Those are the internal conflicts we need to address in our back cover copy.
Would You Like a Formula? Here’s a Formula for You!
A basic formula is:
Paragraph 1: Heroine, who has THIS internal conflict, has this goal.
Paragraph 2: Hero, who has this (probably CONFLICTING) internal conflict, has this (probably CONFLICTING) goal. (We need conflict here people, basic fundamental conflict.)
Paragraph 3: (There can be more variation here.) They are ATTRACTED to one another, but must first RESOLVE this difference. And this PLOT POINT gets in their way, complicating matters.
(Or perhaps they don’t want to be attracted to each other but are forced together by circumstances.)
One more thought:
If you’re selling an ebook on Amazon, the search spiders will pick up words from your description, so it is a good idea to add another paragraph or two which you will only post on the Amazon site. Make sure those paragraphs include key information that a reader might search on. If your book takes place in a certain locale, you might want to add it in these extra paragraphs.
When Amazon posts your back cover copy, those added paragraphs won’t initially be displayed. The reader can only see them by pressing the More button. So, make sure the first couple of paragraphs pack all of your punch.
Here’s an example from Gambling on a Scoundrel:
In 1861, lonely railroad heiress Tempy Bliss, a budding journalist, is elated that Charles Dickens wants her to write an article about gambling for his newspaper. But when casino owner Lucien Hamlin bans Tempy from his gambling palace once he learns of her profession, she begins to suspect a much bigger story is at hand. Lucien’s secretive behavior goads Tempy into uncovering the real story.
Lucien is a hard-driving businessman whose life is about to be upended by his unexpected inheritance of an earldom. It’s a fact he’d rather not have announced, and certainly not in newsprint, until after the sale of his casino.
With Tempy’s career goals progressing, as well as her dreams of becoming a part of her fiancé’s family, she refuses to accept defeat even when Ernest sends her a letter from Paris breaking their engagement and informing her he’s fallen in love with a Frenchwoman. Tempy resolves to win him back while simultaneously conducting her research at the sumptuous Hamlin House casino.
And the “below the fold” paragraphs only on the Amazon are:
When Ernest returns to London with his new fiancée, Tempy witnesses their open affection for one another and is heartbroken. This inspires her to transform herself into the kind of woman Ernest seems to want, and she makes a deal with Lucien Hamlin to help her. Tempy isn’t at all interested in a loner like Lucien, and Lucien wants to avoid the complications swirling around Tempy Bliss, the notorious “poor little rich girl.”
In Tempy’s quest to transform herself she learns to walk, talk, drink…and even to kiss like a courtesan. Her journey takes her from London to Bath and across Somerset County to the town of Porlock. She learns a great deal about the seedier side of casinos and gambling. She also continues to conduct research for her article, meets a reformed gambler, and works with both Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins.