How do you write a captivating, informative, and concise back cover copy for a book?
I’m asking. Really, I need to know. Any ideas?
Punk Rock Saved My Ass is the third book I’ve published, so you’d think by now I’d have this figured out. But deciding what to write on the back of a book’s cover to entice a reader to buy the book is tricky. The information must tell the reader what the book is about in only a couple of sentences and show the reader WHY they need this book (as opposed to any other similar book) all while capturing the tone of the book overall. The process takes a lot of trial and error.
So here’s what I have so far:
Punk Rock Saved My Ass is an anthology of true life essays, interviews, poems, and photos about the ways Punk/DIY positively transformed a person’s life. The stories are funny, tragic, political, and lyric, from a diverse group of individuals who all love punk rock. The anthology shows the reader that not all punks are self-destructive and that the chaos of the movement can be life affirming and empowering.
Pretty boring. It’s just a collection of facts, lacking impact and completely ignoring the tone of the book.
So let’s bump up the energy of the words.
Think all Punks are junkies and criminals? Think again. This collection of diverse, unforgettable stories written by Punks from all over the world will challenge your assumptions about what being Punk stands for. Libertarian, Queer, men, women, Gen X and Gen Y, all share their vision of Punk and show how those ideals have evolved since the first wave of the 1970’s
Hmmmm… maybe. Still rough.
Maybe I should use quotes directly from the book.
“I realized at an early age that just because someone was older than me, or had more money than me, it didn’t make them better than me.” – Squallie Greenthumb
“…believe that what I do is right, even if it looks wrong, because at the very least I would be acting according to my own truths…” Silvia Escario
“That was one of my lessons; you don’t have to fly your colors to be a punk or have a punk attitude.” – Dick Wizmore
“The whole idea that punks are nonconformist is bullshit.” – James Stewart
“My big sister had a convict fiancee… but she also had a subscription to Creem magazine. That was the first place I read about the Ramones, Lou Reed, the Sex Pistols.” – Jennifer Blowdryer
“We’re the 1% that don’t fit and don’t care.” – Elie Falcon
“Everything that makes my life better is an offshoot or direct result of my having gotten into punk music.” – Chestnut
“Punk is the only music genre I know that consistently opens its mouth about taboo social and economic subjects in our society. Nothing is more honest or relevant to me than that.” – Mic Schenk
Yeah… I like it. Feels like I’m on the right track, but should I use them all? If not, which ones should I use?
So this is what developing the back copy looks like. It will take me several more tries before I find the right balance between informative and inspiring. Then I’ll write two or three versions and get feedback from the designer and the copy-editor, and from you all, if you wouldn’t mind, before I decide on the one we’ll use.
Hopefully I’ll decide by Monday.