If you’re an author and want to write a book description for your book’s back cover, I have some advice for you. The book description needs to be short and compelling – so why not start with the blurb?
The back cover blurb (also called a logline) is a quick summary (typically 2-3 lines long) of what happens in your book. It could be written by someone other than the author and should include keywords to help people find your book when they search on Amazon or Google Books. So what do those back cover blurbs look like then? Here is a great example:
A lonely man seeks revenge against his unfaithful wife’s lover – and finds himself framed as her killer instead.
However, the book description is usually longer (1-2 paragraphs) written by the author. A blurb is often used to describe the plot of the book, while the description will go into more detail about the story, characters, and writing style.
In this blog, you will learn to write an excellent description for your thriller novel.
Write a catchy title that will draw in readers
Your title is your leading hook – so make it good!
Knowing your target audience will help you focus on what’s most essential and make sure that your marketing efforts reach the right people.
The front cover of your book is the first thing people look at, and the back cover is the last thing they see before they buy it. That’s why writing a great back cover is essential if you want lots of sales and high ratings on Amazon.
As an example, here is my title and blurb
The title of my first novel is The Price of Silence.
The back cover description starts with this blurb:
A young woman struggles to ensure her safety when her ex-fiancé steals her life’s savings and disappears
—forcing the killers he’s fleeing to come after her.
Introduce the main character and what they want to accomplish
The main character drives your story, so you need to let the reader know who they are and what’s at stake for them. What is their back story? Where are they from? Why do people care about this character?
Your protagonist needs a goal that will influence your entire plot, so make sure it matters!
Example back story
Jennifer grew up in Vancouver’s West End, watching her father on the phone, giving directions, and telling people what to do. She worshipped her mother; thought her to be the most beautiful woman. But her parents barely knew she existed. The two of them were always going places. Feeling miserable, Jennifer took it out on her nannies. Many came and went. She was the kid from hell.
By the age of thirteen, she’d become a head-turner. Things changed. It seemed as if her parents suddenly discovered her. They started to meddle in everything she did, insisted she wear dresses instead of jeans, interfered with her choice of friends, and referred to anyone with darker skin as “those people.”
By that point, Jennifer didn’t want their attention. She tried to keep her distance, but they always found a way to haul her back, seeing that as a sign of their love and compassion. And that is how it continued.
Her father lent her money to help start up a beauty salon, and with that, he expected to be informed about every step she took in her business. To discourage him, she told him that she preferred not to talk business when they met to socialize. He felt betrayed when she paid off the loan in record time.
Show how the protagonist’s life is changed by an event or decision
The events in your protagonist’s life get your story moving, so you need to explain how these events changed the protagonist’s life.
The event or decision should be something major, but not too big since this book description is only a few lines long! For example, if there were an explosion at their home, leaving them homeless, that would be too big.
Example of a significant event and decision
Jennifer fell in love and got engaged. Things were good at first, but her fiancé started to ask her for money a few months later. When she told him she didn’t have any extra money after paying off her loan from her father, her fiancé started to abuse her verbally.
Soon his verbal abuse turned to physical abuse. When that escalated, leading to her losing her baby, she walked out on him to start a new life.
She knew she needed to change her relationship values, both romantic and familial. This need became so critical to her she felt her life depended on a successful outcome.
Jennifer thought about her cousin begging her to come on a kayaking trip with her friends. She had declined. Her cousin and her friends were at least two years younger than she was. She barely knew them and didn’t feel like spending a whole week with them. Jennifer loved her cousin, but she could be somewhat draining.
Now she decided that her first step to change was to reconcile with her cousin after years of ignoring her. Then she would tell her she’d be happy to go on the kayaking trip with her.
Describe the antagonist, their motives, and why they’re trying to stop the protagonist from accomplishing their goal
The antagonist is the person or thing that is trying to stop your protagonist from reaching their goal. Your back cover should also include why this person wants to stop them and what will happen if they fail.
Unbeknownst to Jennifer, her ex-fiancé has made enemies with members of Vancouver’s most notorious drug gang and is running for his life. He’s in desperate need of cash to get out of the country and is plotting to make Jennifer give it to him. So he sets an elaborate trap, lures her away from her kayaking friends, abducts her at gunpoint, and forces her to empty her business bank account.
Then he leaves her in a derelict hunting cabin deep in the woods, warns her not to tell anyone about their “encounter” or the thugs chasing him will come after her to find him, which means they’ll both get shot.
Add a line from one of your favorite reviews or quotes about the book
If you have obtained advanced reviews or quotes, it’s good to add them here.
A quote: “The excitement of this terrific suspense novel blends perfectly with an elegant style, memorable characters, and deeply felt emotions.”
–Bob Van Laerhoven, award-winning author of Baudelaire’s Revenge.
A review: “The Price of Silence is a psychological thriller that is frighteningly real but also a balanced tale, refraining from immature rants and gratuitous recriminations. Hakanson had the writer’s craft to take me to a deeper level at the same time I burned speedily through the pages.”
–Mark Fine, award-winning author of The Zebra Affaire: An Apartheid Saga.
Loglines are fun to read and write. However, writing them can also help you understand your book better! I hope this blog has helped you with that or sparked some ideas on how to do so yourself. If not, feel free to leave a comment below for questions and feedback.
If you’re working on your first novel and are looking for more help with your writing, please check out my other articles at https://ullahakanson.com/blog/