I’m going to start lesson two with more grunt work. Now that you have the cover picture for your book (or are at least mulling your options after the last lesson), you need to work on the back of your book.
Having a cover picture which is attractive and has some bearing on your content is very important, but the back of the picture is almost as or actually is as important as the front. Here is where you not only sum up 100,000 words in 250 words or less, but you do it in such an attractive way that it makes people want to read your book.
The blurb on the back of my book comes directly from my query letter (who said searching for an agent wasn’t useful?). Mind you, that query letter was my fourth major revision over the course of a year or more. So, needless to say, your blurb isn’t something you should casually toss out.
I strongly recommend picking up some of your favorite books and reading the blurbs on the back. What sort of information do they contain? How much do they reveal, versus how much of the plot do they keep secret? How do they start it? How do they end it? (The first sentence and the last are harder to create than all the sentences in the middle, combined.)
Write your blurb. Rewrite it. Let it set for a few days (or weeks). Rewrite it again. Proofread it. Let someone else proofread it (if you can, let someone who has read your book and someone who hasn’t read it both read your blurb). Revise based on their suggestions. Let it sit for a few more days. Proofread it again.
Then, maybe, you will be ready to put your blurb on the back of your book.
Now that you have a picture chosen for the front, pull out some books that use similar sorts of pictures (you may need to go to a library to mull over a larger selection of books). As my cover features a historic painting, I pulled out some of my historical romances that also feature historic paintings. (Note that I shopped from the historical romance section, even though my book is urban fantasy; what is important is not the content of your book, but the style of pictures used.)
After looking at several books, I decided that I liked A Lady Raised High the best. I felt it was attractive, while being simple enough for me to replicate.
The light purple at the top and bottom–including the decorative edge–wraps around the spine and back, but the image in the middle is replaced with a deep purple swatch that matches the purple of the title’s letters.
You may not find a single book that appeals to you. You may like the artistic treatment of the photo on one cover, but like the way another is trimmed and titled. Or you may prefer the cover of one and the back of another. That’s fine, as long as you find something to give you a starting point.
Extended Imagery sells book covers (they are currently running a sale on pre-made book covers for $150 each), and they have a wide selection that you can look at for inspiration (or, if you pull your hair out over the process, you may decide that $150 to be money well spent).
You will have to use your own skills with the filters on Adobe to alter your cover picture, if necessary. In our next lesson, we will assume that all of our elements have been selected and are ready to be put together.