J … is for Jacket

J[1]  is for jacket.

The jacket of a paperback book is the outer covering, and on a hardback; it is the loose cover around the actual book.

An eBook does not by the nature of its publication have a physical jacket, but it must have the pertinent information found on traditional books. This is known as the ‘blurb’, or jacket blurb. It is that aspect of the jacket that I’ll look at today.

The blurb on the jacket is a follow up to the title and front cover. Just as those two items are important in attracting a reader’s attention, so too is the jacket blurb. On a physical book it will be on the back, but for an eBook, it appears on the screen, usually slightly further down than the cover graphic.

What should be included on the jacket information?

On physical books, on the front, we will have a title, perhaps a sub-title, author’s name, and a graphic of some description. On the spine we would expect to see; title, author’s name, publisher, and perhaps a miniaturised graphic. On the back cover we would find the jacket blurb, a price and a barcode. On occasion the graphic may be continued around the entire jacket, including the spine.

How much information will we find within the jacket blurb?

This depends on a variety of things. Publishers will have guidelines. The story will have one or more key characters and a plot to describe. The key is to give enough to interest a reader, but not tell them the entire story in brief. I aim for between 100 – 150 words. That may not sound like much, but any more than 150 words feels long when it’s being perused.

Rather than include my own jacket blurbs here, I will provide links, and then you my dear readers may, if you wish; check them out. My romance, “Ten Days in Panama” contains 158 words of jacket blurb. My thriller, ‘Beyond The Law’, contains 97 words of jacket blurb.

I’m about to head out on my blog patrol, but before I go, I’d like to thank you for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on … ‘K’

5 thoughts on “J … is for Jacket

  1. Julia Lund

    I think writing a synopsis is almost harder than writing the novel. To then get it down to a blurb is beyond a challenge! I recently had to write blurb for ‘Strong as Death’ of less than three hundred characters (incl spaces), which equated to forty seven words! Took me ages. But what a good exercise, distilling the essence of your story into the hint of a taste that will tantalise those reading taste buds!


    1. Thank you for dropping in again Julia. I’ve just tried a quick fix on the intro of your comment, so we’ll find out in a minute if it worked. My blog has been doing some mysterious things today.
      Anyway, your comment. I have to agree with you. When I first write a jacket blurb, it’s almost like a prologue, and it does take work to bring it down to a teaser.


  2. Sorry for taking awhile to get back to your post here. Yes, I think a good blurb is essential for a book, not just as a teaser, but sometimes as a word of explanation where (as in ‘Beyond The Law’) perhaps there is a change of tempo or direction and setting following the opening chapter.

    Thanks for this post, it covers a topic I’m actually quite dreading having to address when the time comes…


    Ps, thanks to you both again for those heart warming comments on my ‘Spectre’ post…


  3. One day I’ll get the blurb ready.. Got to edit edit edit those drafts first. So about your next H post 😉 I think you were thinking about your blog patrol which you did very well. Thanks for all the comments.


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