Friday, June 24, 2011

Creating Ebook Covers - The Power of Back Cover Sales Copy

Profile #2:
"What's Great About This Ebook Cover?"

By Susan Kendrick 

My partner, Graham Van Dixhorn, and I are judges for the Ebook Cover Award category in Dan Poynter's Global Ebook Awards program. To give these authors and experts more visibility for their ebooks, and to use these covers to share the strategies we teach and use in our own work creating book covers, we're featuring many cover entries right here on our blog.

The Pathway to Love

Julie Orlov

Visit Julie Orlov's website. Her, ebook, book, Kindle edition, workbook, and audio guide are available on her Products Page. The Kindle edition is also available on Amazon.

Ebook "Back Cover" Sales Copy

I'm going to focus on Julie Orlov's back cover copy because she did such a good job on the cover itself and the way she uses this book marketing copy throughout her website. That is the great benefit of back cover sales copy, even for an ebook--it creates a powerful, brand consistent, at-a-glance marketing message that promotes your book or ebook wherever you use it. Here's what makes this ebook cover special:

Know What Your Audience Needs and Wants

If your book or ebook is a solution to a problem, you need to understand that problem. Julie Orlov handles this beautifully. The first paragraph of Julie's back cover starts with, "Discover the secrets to creating more understanding, acceptance, and love in your relationships."  She gets right to the point. She doesn't waste any time connecting with her reader and what they're looking for. You have about 10-15 seconds to get someone's attention and get them to see the value of what you book. Make every second count.

Show What's Unique About Your Solution

Julie then moves right into the second sentence, which shows exactly how her approach to relationships is unique: "Through the art of storytelling Julie Orlov reveals how relationships grow from fantasy to love in four phases." She uses storytelling and she reveals four phases.  ... What are those phases? Am I in one of those phases? Which one? ... This is the possible response from someone reading this copy. It does two things. It draws them in and gets them to keep reading.

Create a Sense of Abundance About What the Reader Gets From the Book

Next, Julie uses the "Not Only" copywriting technique to show the range of help available from her book. The third sentence reads, "The book not only empowers you to create the relationships you want but demonstrates how your relationships mirror what you need to see, thereby providing the perfect conditions to heal, grow, and transform."

Here is a simple but important point. Notice in the back cover copy the use of "you" and "your." Notice, too, how you can create energy and momentum with phrases ranging from "not only empowers you to create" to "providing the perfect conditions." This kind of language gets your prospective buyer excited about the possibilities in this book. And, that is exactly the role of the back cover, to get prospects interested enough to read the book and to buy it.
Use a Few Powerful Bullet Points to Seal the Deal

Great book covers use visual chunks of copy to draw in the reader. Bullets are the place to highlight the most compelling benefits of your book in an at-a-glance format. See the bullet points on The Pathway to Love when you click the image (right) from the softcover print version of The Pathway to Love.

On Julie's website home page, those three back cover bullets take center stage. As Julie has also done, you can then tweak your back cover copy to suit the needs of an individual website page-
-whether you are promoting your ebook, book, or overall brand and expertise. In this case, Julie added a fourth bullet that mentions "relationships at work," a significant part of her expertise and the kind of consulting and speaking she wants to attract more of. As you look at other pages on Julie's website, you will continue to see other parts of her back cover copy.

On a tactical note, bullet points should each start with an active verb to further continue the energy and momentum of your marketing message. Julie's bullets start with "Distinguish," "Understand," and "Transform,"  and on the website, "Enhance."

Get High-Profile Testimonials

The impact of testimonials is more about who is saying something about your book than what they are saying. Again, you want to create your back cover in various, high-visibility chunks. Testimonials do not need to be long to support your book, but they have to be by experts your audience recognizes, trusts, and respects. Julie has just two, but one of them is by Bernie Siegel, MD, and the other is from a highly credentialed expert in her field, an MD, PhD from UCLA and company president. See more in our article on how to get and select book cover testimonials.

Ebook Cover Design

There are many good things to say about Julie Orlov's ebook cover design. The main point is that from the color--the soft green, clean white, and bright spot of red in that heart--to the simple image of the orchid, and font style, it has been designed with Julie's core audience in mind. Women buy the vast majority of books. Even for books that are written for men, it is women that buy the books for the men in their lives--husbands, sons, fathers, partners, etc. 

As you can see in Julie's YouTube videos, men attended and spoke very highly about her  book launch event. But for books on relationships especially, women are the core audience of readers and buyers, and this cover reaches out to them on this topic with a sense of beauty, lightness, and promise. The marketing copy is fresh and authoritative. The overall effect is that Julie's book cover positions her as a trustworthy authority on her topic with a lot to offer her readers.

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Get Your Free Copy
"10 Steps to Ebook Covers That Sell" includes tips for creating book title and subtitles, back cover sales copy, and book cover design. It also serves as the judging criteria for the Ebook Cover Award. Request a complimentary copy by emailing us at

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Think about entering your ebook in Dan Poynter's Global Ebook Awards. There are dozens of award categories. Check out 10 Reasons to Enter on YouTube.

Subscribe to this blog and learn more about what goes into developing a great book cover. See examples, including those we develop for our clients, and get tips you can use throughout all your book marketing. For help developing your book cover, book website, personal or business brand, and more, contact us at

© 2011, Susan Kendrick, Write To Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Creating Ebook Covers: Less is More

Profile #1:
"What's Great About This Ebook Cover?"

By Susan Kendrick

My partner, Graham Van Dixhorn, and I are two of the judges for the Ebook Cover Award category in Dan Poynter's Global Ebook Awards competition. In addition to picking the best covers from those submitted--and being on the team that decides the ultimate winner--we will be featuring many covers right here on this blog with a brief "What's Great About This Ebook Cover?" write-up. We will use each ebook cover we feature to point out important ebook cover components and strategies. Think about entering your ebook. There are dozens of award categories. Check out 10 Reasons to Enter on YouTube.

Request a Copy

Participants in the Book Cover Award category receive our "10 Steps to Ebook Covers That Sell." It contains checklists for creating ebook/book titles and subtitles, back cover sales copy, and book cover design. Request a complimentary copy at

Selene of Alexandria 
A Novel by 
Faith L. Justice

There are many reasons we chose to feature Selene of Alexandria as an example of a successful ebook cover. Overall it has a highly professional look and feel, which seems simple but is often difficult to achieve. Here's what makes this cover special:

Visit author Faith L. Justice's website. The ebook is also available on Amazon.

Ebook Title

Short and Clear
Many book titles try to be clever at the expense of clarity, but there is power in simplicity. Selene of Alexandria also suggests a certain stature, that this is a story worth knowing.

There are no other books or ebooks on Amazon with the same title. This ebook cannot be confused with any other book, old or new, or in any way be diminished by sharing its name with other books, music, etc.

Search Engine Key Words
Selene of Alexandria is about a fictional character in a real place and time--the ancient city of Alexandria, Egypt, during the fifth century. For historical fiction, which has a large following, using the key word "Alexandria" helps lead readers to this period piece. A search for "Selene of Alexandia ebook" currently shows up as #3 in Google.

Ebook "Back Cover" Sales Copy
Click on the cover above to see larger images. 

The question comes up, "Does an ebook need a back cover?" The short answer is, yes. Ebooks should take advantage of all the book marketing opportunities available to print books, including buy-me-now, 10-second sales copy. Request the PDF above and see the introduction to the "Back Cover Sales Copy" section. See why your back cover text is the most important ad copy you will draft for your ebook and where you will use it.

Selene of Alexandria had already been published as a softcover in November 2009, so it had its back cover sales copy ready for use in marketing the ebook version. 

A headline can take many forms, one of which is a high-profile testimonial. In this case, praise comes from an award-winning author. This gives the book immediate credibility--we're willing to trust that an expert in the field thinks this is a great read. 

Clean, Crisp, Inviting Copy
Right away we get a feel for the setting and the conflicts in this story. The copy is energized by colorful language that reaches out in subtle ways to a wide reading audience.

Author Bio
Faith L. Justice's author bio is a refreshing counterpoint to the setting of her 5th century story. It starts with "a self-styled science geek and history junkie ..." It wraps up with her significant accomplishments and a call to action to engage prospective buyers in her other offerings, "Visit her website to read her award-winning short fiction, articles, interviews, and sample chapters of upcoming novels."

Ebook Cover Design

Available on Amazon
Here is where Faith L. Justice's Selene of Alexandria shines. Here are just a few of the ebook cover design criteria that this book embodies so well.

Make One Strong Visual Statement
She uses one powerful graphic image with a color and lighting that stands out against the black background. This cover looks good in any size, even as a thumbnail image, from iPads to smart phones.

Avoid Clutter
Imagine for a minute what could have happened to this cover. In addition to the sculpture it could have had a cityscape in the background to play up the Alexandria part of the title, or the added real image of a young woman. The classic sculpture all by itself gives this book the feeling of, well, a classic.

Title Is Easy to Read
It's big and easily readable. And, with a longer word like "Alexandria" in the mix, emphasizing "Selene" in larger type is a smart move. Trying to put the whole title in the same size font might have looked cramped or just made the whole title illegible. Again, this strategy will ensure the title stands out even in smaller viewing formats.

Author Name Is Big Enough to Read
Again, no fancy fonts, no special effects. Just the author's easily identifiable name.

Easy-To-Read Font
Interestingly, even with straightforward font choices, the name Selene is big, bold, and contemporary like a living, breathing character. By contrast, just like in the story, "Of Alexandria" evokes the time and place of the ancient setting.

A Few Strong Colors
Black, gold, and white create a strong, authoritative feel. This is a book you pay attention to and an author you take seriously. The quality of the cover image--color, lighting, resolution--all play a part in the high-quality feel of the entire cover. Choose any cover graphic and colors with great care.

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Subscribe to this blog to see all the ebook cover entries and comments we post as judges in Dan Poynter's Global Ebook Award. For one-on-one feedback on your project, contact Graham and me, Susan, at

© 2011, Susan Kendrick, Write To Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved.