Your manuscript is complete and you’ve designed the perfect cover — but before you get too far ahead of yourself, it’s time to draft effective cover copy that will hook your potential buyers. Your book is almost ready to hit the press. But there’s one last step to take, and it’s critical. I’m speaking, of course, about your jacket copy.
Imagine walking through your favorite bookstore. A certain book catches your eye, its artwork and design and color palette speaking to you just so. You go to the shelf, pick it up, and then what?
You flip it over and read the copy.
Those 150 words decide whether you put the book back on the shelf or take it home with you. Ideally, those words function like a bridge leading from your cover to a sale. It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of engaging cover copy, so let’s take a look at a few strategies that will move your book from the shelf and into your readers’ hands.
Hook the Reader
Begin with a powerful hook that ignites curiosity or poses a question. Entice the reader immediately. Make them stop and wonder, and intrigue them enough that they keep reading.
Express Theme and Genre
Just like your cover design, your copy should reflect the theme and genre of your book. Express the essence of your story, be it mystery, romance, adventure, or fantasy. If your cover copy is misleading, readers will be disappointed no matter how brilliant your story is.
Use evocative language to elicit emotion. Whether it’s excitement, nostalgia, or intrigue, your copy should resonate on a visceral level. Think of it as a prelude — your copy should spark the same emotions that your story ignites.
Tease the central conflict or dilemma your characters face. Conflict is the crux of any story, and your copy should reflect this.
Set the tone by creating an atmospheric description that reflects the world of your story. A hard-boiled detective novel needs appropriately gritty jacket copy, just as the copy for a light-hearted romance needs to be comfy and coy.
When composing effective cover copy, shorter is always better. Never exceed 200 words; in fact, aim for 150. Anything longer than that and readers will move on. This may seem tricky at first, but working within these limitations will help you suss out the most crucial elements of your story.
At Presto Page, we understand the power of words to captivate and compel. If you’re ready to take the next step on your publication journey, reach out to us for a personalized consultation today!