A Tool for Writers: Write the Back Cover Copy for your Book-In-Progress

When you pick a book off the shelf, you’ll probably notice the writing on the back of the book that is meant to draw you to it. That is known as back cover copy. Erudite readers examine the enticing words of the back cover copy before deciding whether the book fits their interests or not.

To a writer, paying attention to the nature of a back cover copy may benefit his or her own writing. Someday when I am finished with my novel, I will be pitching my book to an editor with the dreams of a contract and seeing my book in print. One strategy to get prepared for that moment is to imagine the back cover copy for the novel I am working on. This helps me maintain focus and be able to pitch the key selling points to the editor when the time comes. Of course, I may want to explain more about the plot. It helps me understand what are the main selling points and what makes my novel distinctive. That makes the pitching process easier when the time comes.

Secondly, writing a back cover copy ahead of time helps me keep my novel focused and is a tool for myself. Writing a novel is truly a test of endurance and it is important to keep the focus when writing and editing subsequent drafts. It served as reminder of the mood, writing style, main conflict, and theme.

I’m still writing my first draft, and I’m somewhere in the beginning chapters. It is hard spending lots of time writing with a job. I manage to sneak time in to write during weekends and some evenings. I’m also thankful for my other writing friends who continually encourage me to write or write with me.

Today, when I was writing, I decided to take a break and write a back cover copy for my novel-in-progress. It is still untitled but in the right time and situation, I will find a suitable title. Here is my back cover copy:

Meet Nina Menon, the “scholarship girl” with straight As and known for her artistic talents, witty, outspoken nature and attractiveness. She is quite sophisticated and her family is well known among the local Indian-American community of Leichester and Seattle. Wherever this family travels, the light of prosperity follows. However, veiled underneath the appearances of family prestige, alcoholism and domestic violence ravages the family. The legacy left for Nina when she goes off to college is a troubled mind and an obsessive dark passion that could potentially destroy her.

Nina undergoes a redemptive journey of a series of life changing events that takes her from London, her family’s village in Kerala, Seattle, a small Western town in Arizona, and to Singapore before arriving “home.” Only through the many distinct situations, she encounters different people—friends, lovers, long lost family members—who bring a piece to the entire picture. Ultimately, it is up to Nina to take charge of her own life and find the freedom to break free from the demons of her past. 

I’m sure this needs work. As a writer, it is very typical to change the plot over and over again. I’m sure I may change a few things as I continue to write. I feel satisfied with this back cover copy. It allowed me to step back and take a look at my  novel as a “big picture” or globally.


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