You are soon-to-be published. Congratulations. If you are a new – or fairly new – author, here are some reminders.
Your back cover is one of your best marketing tools. Use it wisely by considering the points below:
1. Bio/Statement: Let potential readers know who you are and what made you write this book; i.e., a brief bio and perhaps an “artist’s statement.” The bio should be in the third person and list your career and/or some accomplishments and activities, particularly if they relate to your book. This is especially important if you’re writing non-fiction. If your book is on a topic unrelated your job or experience, then a first-person point of view artist’s statement comes in handy in the next paragraph, in a different font such as italics, or enclosed within double quotation marks. Make sure your statement is clear and makes a connection to the story. Ensure your reader will want to know more about your book.
2. Photograph: Your photo should be head-and-shoulders or head-to-waist. Contrary to what most people think, you don’t have to be smiling and staring into the camera. Depending on your topic and your brand, you may want to appear reading, looking out of the window, making eye contact with a non-smiling but intelligent and friendly face, or perhaps an image with dramatic lighting in which some of your face is in the shadows. Be creative, but stay within the brand of You.
3. Endorsements: Try to get at least two endorsements by credible readers, who will explain what they enjoyed as well as discuss your writing style and a hint of the story; e.g., something intriguing without giving the game away – a teaser. Send them your manuscript to read. You can make suggestions to your reviewers as to what you hope they’ll mention, or else offer to make it easy for them by writing a draft review that they can edit and make their own. Busy people may appreciate this. If you don’t know any published writers to approach, ask other credible sources, such as acknowledged authorities in your field – perhaps an English or History scholar if you are writing literary fiction or non-fiction, or else a company director, a religious leader, a college professor, etc., depending on your subject. Ensure their titles are listed on the back cover under their names and reviews. Potential customers do pay attention to reviewers, particularly when they are reliable sources, and these comments can be what makes or breaks their desire to buy the book. It’s very important that there is some kind of synopsis, either woven into your reviews or else close to your bio. Another place to add a (tiny) teaser is on the front cover under the title, but this should be no more than half-a-dozen words, maximum: a sort of sub-title or a classic quote from your book’s body text.
Another marketing possibility, depending on your topic and preference, is to create a new email address specifically for responding to readers’ comments and questions. Invite them, on your back cover, to buy the book and to feel free to email you with comments after reading it. Some readers like this kind of personal touch and you will appear reachable and sincere. This is not a requirement for any author, but some do this and achieve good results. Others invite readers to check out their blog. These are ways to gain a following, in readiness for your next book.
Good luck…and keep writing.
Image: By Tomwsulcer (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons