Preparation of a different kind goes into the back cover. Here it’s mostly all about writing compelling copy. Some of the items, such as reviews, have to be planned far in advance. Once I have an advance reading copy (an ARC), I can send copies off to bookstores, reviewers, and friends in exchange for a review or short blurb to place on the cover. If I’m lucky I might convince a beta reader to contribute a line or two. The blurb is probably the most important piece of writing in connection with the book. It needs to draw the reader in and entice her to buy the book.
For my back cover I include an author photo and a short bio, which I continually update. For a mystery, this photo usually reflects the setting. My challenge while living in Des Moines, Iowa, was of finding a place that resembled a European castle for Sunflower Dungeon. (Salisbury House. Check.), and a barren landscape resembling a post-eruption Mount St. Helens. (Desolate field. Check.) I don’t even remember where it was located. My resourceful photographer found a barren site that appears on the back of Fireweed Glow.
My unique problem is that if I move before I finish my next book, I have to start the process all over again. My advice to other authors, to quote the law enforcement officers in my mysteries: “Don’t move!”