Jul 22, 2022 • 43M

Your Jacket Copy is Your Promise to the Reader: Blueprint for a Book Step 4

Episode 325

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Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

How do we make our ideal reader say Oh—THIS is the book for me?

In our first two episodes, we dug down into why we write and how to share that why with the reader. In the last episode, we hung a quick right and got really practical about that reader and how to reach her–in other words, we talked about the market and why it’s important to understand where your book will sit on the shelf if you want the right readers to find it.

In this episode, we’re going to talk about what happens when one of those potential readers picks your book up off that shelf–and turns it over. That means we’re talking jacket copy! You might have heard writing advice that basically says, quit daydreaming about what your cover will look like before you’ve written your book–but we’re not talking about the cover art. Jacket copy is important and drafting it now will help you find your story. It’s the promise you make to the reader–so the sooner you write it, the harder you can focus on keeping it–or changing it. Plus, it’s useful in a whole lot of ways.

Like your point, your jacket copy is probably something you will come back to again and again as you write your book—but every time, it will help you hone your mission and clarify why you’re still sitting in that chair, typing away.

This is the fourth episode in the 10-part Blueprint for a Book Series. Start with Step 1, do the work (we’ll give you an assignment every week), and in 10 weeks, you’ll have a solid foundation for a first draft or revision of your project that will help you push through to “the end”. For the details on the challenge, and to sign up for weekly encouragement, bonuses and the chance to win a blueprint critique, head to authoraccelerator.com/amwritingblueprintchallenge


Write jacket copy for the book you want to write. Study the jacket copy of the comp titles you found in Step 3 to get a feel for how it should sound. Make it no more than 250 words.

(Note: We suggest you download a Blueprint answer workbook to keep track of your 10 assignments. That will make it easier to revise, review and come back to your work. Click to grab yours for fiction or nonfiction. If you are writing narrative memoir (a story), use the fiction workbook and assignments. If you are writing self-help/memoir, use the nonfiction workbook and assignments. Prefer paper? Tape the assignment into your journal and make a nice big heading so you know: This is Step 4. This is Jacket Copy.)


The Bohemians, Jasmin Darznik

Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert

We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth, Jennifer Risher

Making Numbers Count, Karla Starr & Chip Heath

Made to Stick, Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Miss Independent, Nicole Lapin

The Shit No One Tells You About Writing Podcast

Blueprint for a Book (Fiction and Memoir)

Blueprint for a Nonfiction Book


Michelle Cox loves helping women in midlife and people in recovery tell their truths through fiction and nonfiction. She’s an Author Accelerator certified book coach, having undergone the rigorous training needed to become certified in fiction and nonfiction. She’s also the creator of Addicts to Authors “You Should Write a Book: Let’s Find Your Story©” program and the Fearless Midlife Writers Book-coaching© program. She has nearly three decades of experience as a professional writer, editor, journalist and writing coach. You can find her at bookcoachingworks.com.

For more from KJ, subscribe to her newsletter: Read. Eat. Listen. Or grab one of her novels, In Her Boots and The Chicken Sisters, wherever books are sold. Wondering about KJ as a book coach? Her current offerings are HERE

For more from Jennie, subscribe to her weekly newsletter. Or grab one of her Blueprint books, wherever books are sold. You can learn about getting matched with an Author Accelerator book coach or becoming a book coach at authoraccelerator.com

This summer is all about starting a project, but if you already have a novel or memoir manuscript and you’re ready to go ALL IN, you’re going to want to do Author Accelerator’s Manuscript Incubator. Registration is open for the intensive, 7-month coaching opportunity that offers one-on-one support and guidance for novelists and memoirists planning to have a submission-ready project by early 2023—and includes the opportunity to have that project reviewed by a group of agents and editors when it’s ready. For more information, head to authoraccelerator.com/manuscript-incubator.