E2A 059: The Importance of Back Cover Content 

 July 18, 2023

By  Scott A. MacMillan

After your cover and title, the back cover content (or online description) is almost always the very next thing your reader will experience as they traverse what we call the Book Consideration Funnel (or BCF) en route to buying and ultimately reading your book.

In this episode of The Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, your host Scott MacMillan shares what needs to go into this all important content and gives you some tips about how to craft it.





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Episode Transcript

Please note: The transcript is produced by a third-party company from an audio recording and may include transcription errors.

Scott MacMillan:

You're listening to the Entrepreneur to Author podcast.


Welcome to the Entrepreneur to Author podcast, the podcast that brings you practical strategies for building authority and growing your business. And now, here's your host, Scott MacMillan.


After your cover and title, the back cover content or online description is almost always the very next thing your reader will experience as they traverse what I call the book consideration funnel, or BCF, en route to buying and ultimately reading your book.

But many authors struggle with what to include in their book description for their back cover. Or worse yet, don't even think about it until the last minute. And then rush. to pull something moderately coherent together. Fear not.

In this episode of the Entrepreneur to Author podcast, I'll share what needs to go in to this all-important content and give you some tips about how to craft it.

Ready? Let's jump in.

Your book description is a critical part of your always-on marketing of your book, for a variety of reasons.

It helps you attract the right audience of readers for your book.

It showcases your expertise as the author, teasing what the reader can expect in the book's pages.

It allows you to highlight what's unique about your book compared to others on the same topic. search engine optimization to help your book get found.

And it also helps set readers' expectations so that they're not disappointed in what you share if they were expecting something different.

For all these reasons, it's well worth your time and effort to craft and hone a compelling description for your book and for the online For all these reasons, it's well worth your time and effort to craft and hone a compelling description for your book's back cover and online book listing.

But let's start first with length. How long should your book description be?

Real estate on your online book listing isn't as limited as it is on your book's back cover, but readers' attention spans are, especially when they've not yet committed to your book. For this reason, I recommend keeping your descriptions short and pithy, and the back cover serves as a good constraint on wordy descriptions.

In my experience, 150 to 250 words is a good length for your book description. anything longer than that is gonna start to drag.

Okay, so that's all good, but what do you need to include in your book description? 

Writing an engaging back cover description for an expertise-based nonfiction book involves highlighting the book's main points, what's unique about it, and the benefits to the reader. Here are some basic guidelines about what to include.

Start with a captivating hook.

Creating a compelling hook for a nonfiction book description involves distilling the essence powerful statement or question that immediately grabs your reader's attention. Here are a couple of strategies.

You might start with a question. Pose a question that your book answers. This can be a problem your potential readers are facing or a curiosity they might have about your topic. This question should be thought-provoking and pique their curiosity. For example, if your book is about productivity, you might ask Ever wondered why you can't seem to get everything done, no matter how hard you try?

Or you can present a shocking fact or statistic. If there are surprising or compelling facts or statistics related to your topic, these can make a great hook too. They can immediately draw the reader in and make them want to learn more. For instance, if your book's about climate change, you might start with, did you know that we have just 12 years to limit a climate change catastrophe?

Challenge a common belief. If your book challenges conventional wisdom or common misconceptions, stating this upfront can draw readers in. For instance, if your book's about dieting, you might start with, contrary to popular belief, eating more, not less, could be the key to sustainable weight loss.

Or promise a transformation. People read non-fiction to learn and grow. If your book promises to help the reader achieve a significant change, stating that promise upfront can be a great hook. For example, if your book is about personal finance, you could start with, imagine living a life free from financial worry.

In any case, the hook should be compelling, concise, and relevant to the content of your book. It should pique the reader's curiosity and make them want to read on to find out more. So make it count.

Next, give an overview of your book's content. Provide a brief overview of what the book covers. This should not be a detailed table of contents, but rather a high-level summary of the main themes or topics. Aim for three to five one-sentence bullet points, and be sure to convey why these points are important.

You should also include your book's unique value proposition. The unique value proposition, or UVP, of your book articulates why it's different or superior to others in the same field, and why a potential reader should choose your book over others. Crafting a compelling UVP. Crafting a compelling UVP for your book's back cover description requires a clear understanding of your target audience, your book's content, and the existing competition. This could be a novel perspective on the topic, exclusive research, a unique approach or method or a combination of these. Be clear about what differentiates your book. If your book provides a new methodology for managing stress, you might state, Unlike traditional self-help guides, this book introduces a groundbreaking, scientifically proven technique for stress management.

Mention the benefits readers can expect from your book. Clearly state what the reader will gain from reading your book. This might include new skills, insights, or knowledge. Ideally, you want to show that reading your book will solve a problem or meet a need for your target audience. And you might even spend a sentence or two describing the problem that your ideal reader is likely experiencing that your book will help address.

Finally, include a call to action. Call to action, or CTA, is the part at the end of your book description that urges the reader to take a specific action, typically to purchase or read the book. To craft an effective CTA for an expertise-based nonfiction book, be direct. The most effective CTAs are clear and straightforward. Tell your reader exactly what action you want them to take. This is typically something like, buy this book today, or start reading now. Reiterate the benefit. Remind your reader of the value they will gain from reading your book. You could say something like, don't miss this opportunity to boost your productivity. Or take the first step towards better health today. Make it personal. Address the reader directly using words like you or your. This can make the CTA more engaging and persuasive.

The back cover description is essentially a sales pitch for your book. It should be compelling, engaging, and persuasive, and make a potential reader want to know more. The tone and style should match the content of the book. and it should be professionally written and free of errors.

So that's the description. But another important part of your back cover content is a short author bio.

Your author bio should be between 40 and 60 words, which is not a lot of space. And it's your chance to highlight your expertise. What credentials or experiences make you a trustworthy and unique source of information on your topic? If you have a unique set of qualifications, or a distinct perspective due to your experiences, make sure to highlight that. What type of clients have you worked with and what outcomes have you helped them achieve?

Here's an example of how this all might come together.

Gina Joshi is a leading psychologist with over two decades of experience in corporate stress management. She works with high-profile, C-suite executives of global pharmaceutical and health care organizations in both the public and private sector, providing practical, evidence-based strategies that deliver tangible bottom-line results.

Your back cover content is a vital part of your marketing for your book, so be sure to allot sufficient time to get it right. And include it with your manuscript when you submit it to your publisher or editor, so that it can be reviewed and edited at the same time as your manuscript itself.

And remember this.

Now is the time. Time to write, time to publish, and time to grow.

I'm Scott McMillan. Until next time.

Scott A. MacMillan

Scott A. MacMillan is a speaker, international best-selling author, entrepreneur, and the President and Executive Publisher at Grammar Factory Publishing. He and his team help expert entrepreneurs write and publish books that build their authority and grow their business.

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