The 3 Ps of Writing Back Cover Copy

by Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

Stand in Barnes & Noble and watch what prospective buyers do. Note: It’s probably best not to wear a trench coat and definitely lose the sunglasses. What were you thinking, you big creeper? Now that we’ve got that straightened out, what do you see?

First, a potential buyer pulls off a book with a jazzy front cover. Yeah, pictures are indeed worth a thousand words. Two seconds later, if the cover grabs him, it’s time for the big flip. He turns the book over in his hands, scans the back copy, and:

A.) Zingo! His eyes widen. He’s hooked. He reaches for his wallet and races to the nearest cashier.


B.) Yawn. Book goes back on shelf. End of story and any royalties for the author.

What made the difference? The back cover copy. Trust me, writing that copy is not as easy as it looks, folks. But never fear, I have a handy-dandy list-o-rama to help.


  1. Pack a punch with power words.

If you’ve only got a limited amount of words to use, then use those that are powerful. Emotional. Shocking. Controversial or evocative. Those are the kinds of words that make a reader curious and leave them drooling for more. Examples: daunting, courage, beguile

The Essential Scenes in every best-seller

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Create a powerful story with these essential scenes!

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  1. Paint a picture.

Use your sweet writing skills to create a vivid image in the reader’s mind. Give them a taste of what’s in store for them if they purchase the book. Leave them with a teaser, a big question as to what will happen.

  1. Pithy is perfect.

Nowadays everyone’s got ADD, especially on the internet. Chances are your book will be sold on Amazon, so that means you’ve got to be short and sweet, baby. Make your description as easy to understand and as pared down as possible.

It also helps if you read examples of back cover copy from books that are out there on today’s shelves. That’s not stealing. That’s smart detective work.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.

How to Keep Your Reader Turning Pages

by Rondi Bauer Olson, @rondiolson

I know authors aren’t supposed to read reviews for their own books, but, confession time, I do. Especially the negative reviews, as they are always the most enlightening. In general, if a number of people say you didn’t get something right, you probably didn’t. Fortunately the opposite is also true. If most reviewers agree you did something well, you probably did.

Help! My Plot is Twisting

by Ane Mulligan, @AneMulligan, +AneMulligan

I’m working on the plotline for a new novel. It’s the second in a series of Depression era books. While the time period is different, the story has my brand elements of an ensemble cast of strong Southern women helping each other through life.

I’ve been doing character interviews and the backstory for about two weeks now. But today,

It Only Takes A Spark. . . Or Does It?

by Rachel Hauck, @RachelHauck 

Ideas come and go. I’ve learned over the years the initial spark is just that, a spark, not a roaring fire that will burn long enough to write an entire book.

Let me give an example. When I  first started writing what turned out to be Lost In NashVegas (now Nashville Dreams), I came up with a story of a country girl who owned a fishing shack in central Florida.

Why Writing Fiction Is So Hard

by James L. Rubart, @jameslrubart

Why is writing fiction so hard? The short answer: it just is.

The longer answer: Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.”He probably could have said, “In this world, when you try to write a novel, you will have trouble.”

From my experience, this has proven to be true. I sent in my latest manuscript to my publisher a few days ago and felt like I’d just finished a marathon.