Even the greatest story on the shelf can’t sell itself without solid packaging. That is a sad truth in book sales. Book marketing is big business. Most publishing companies have staff devoted to book design above and beyond the editorial team, including graphic designers, cover artists, and copywriters.

Typically, a copywriter crafts the text that appears on the book jacket or paperback cover. A copywriter may be on the staff at the publishing house or the publisher may outsource to freelance copywriters. Either way, it’s the job of the copywriter to craft a paragraph or two about your book that will sell.

Otherwise, and this occurs more often within larger publishing houses, an overworked and underpaid editorial assistant may be tasked with crafting your book jacket copy. It is often viewed as an onerous task, which is, of course, less than ideal. Editors are useful in helping to shape and enhance your story. However, they may not have the necessary sales writing skills to entice the reader to purchase your book.

Writing a Book Jacket Cover

While most of the time you may not be writing your book jacket copy, it’s still important for any writer to be able to do so. Here’s why:

  1. It allows you the opportunity to summarize your book and revisit the story succinctly. It’s like going through a copy edit of the plot.
  2. It allows you to make sure you’ve been writing towards your target audience. Or it can help you to determine the destination audience for your book.
  3. If you’re sending query letters out to publishers with hopes of selling your manuscript, you’ll essentially have to write a paragraph to pitch your idea anyway.

Finally, once your dream publisher has picked up your book, you’ll be able to ensure that the copy your book jacket receives is the copy it deserves. Next week I’ll discuss tips on how to craft top-notch book jacket copy that will have readers grabbing your books off the shelves.

While you may try to design and format your book jacket cover on your own, know that there are professional editors who can do it for you. An experienced professional editor, such as the editors at FirstEditing, will create a professionally written book jacket cover that can capture your audience’s attention. It is short, succinct copy that sends a strong message about your writing.

Originally posted 4/4/2010 and happily updated 11/14/2017. Thanks for reading!

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