Mystery Monday: Connie Johnson Hambley on Book Marketing From the Other Side

This week on Mystery Mondays, we have author Connie Johnson Hambley here to talk about marketing your book – but from a different perspective. She’s here with super helpful advice on a topic that as authors we many not think about…

Marketing Your Book? Watch Your Back

by Connie Johnson Hambley

We’ve all heard the advice about creating the best cover for your book. Read the majority of posts regarding book covers, and you quickly realize all the buzz in on the front cover.

My advice? Watch your back.

Getting the best quality design and format for your front cover is essential, but most authors neglect the importance of a compelling back cover. Don’t let a frontal focus limit you from creating the best back cover you can.

I can hear you thinking, “Um, eBooks don’t have back covers. Why bother?”

Simple. Even if your book will not be released in paperback or hard cover, having a back cover image in a jpeg, png, gif or other format adds another level to your marketing efforts. Social media loves pictures that convey information quickly. Back cover images that combine words and pictures give your potential readers more reasons to buy your book.

The back cover is an open canvas for content. The best covers may contain the following elements:

  1. The compelling question your book answers or hook.

“What if your very existence threatened an empire?”

Gosh! I never thought of that before! My first book, The Charity, answered that question for my trilogy’s main character, Jessica Wyeth. The question itself leads the prospective book buyer deeper into your world. A good hook does the same thing. For mystery The Charity - Cover_new.inddlovers, there’s nothing like hinting someone is recently dead or going to die that peaks interest.

  1. Blurbs and excerpted reviews.

Readers want to know their money is going to something good. They want to see a stamp of approval for the book from authors they may be familiar with or organizations they trust.

  1. Book Summary

A good summary contains a snapshot of the main characters, setting, goal, obstacles, and conflict. Leaving the reader at a cliff-hanger is a great way for them to understand the context for the compelling question. The summary provides insight into the world you created in your story in no more than two hundred words.

  1. Images

This is the fun stuff. Settings? Main characters? Cool technology? Murder weapons? Sure!

THE WAKE - BACK COVERThis is where the back cover can be more powerful that the front. Select three or more images that highlight something your reader is going to care about. I write mainstream thrillers with a world-class equestrian as the main character. Readers who enjoy the world horses inhabit (think thoroughbred racing, rodeo, stadium jumping, cattle roping. . . you get the idea), are quick to have more interest in my books when they see a horse on the back cover.

For the third book in my trilogy, The Wake, the top image of a horse and a wheelchair provides a strong hint that something goes very wrong. That image combined with a positive blurb from the CEO of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (horse-based physical and emotional therapies) begins to inform readers of a storyline they didn’t see coming. The bottom picture of Cumann n mBan, a female member of the IRA, ties the books to the Irelands and is a powerful image for today’s readers.

  1. Series Continuity

Informing readers a book is a part of a series is an essential part of marketing. I’ve used my back covers to show continuity as well as content. Taken as a whole, a reader can see the trajectory of the storyline.

  1. ISBN and Barcode

If you go to the trouble of making a back cover, be sure to allow for barcode placement in the lower right-hand corner. A quick search will provide you with the information you need for dimensions and proper placement. 

The Charity: Witness to a gang-style slaying, a young woman is hunted to stop her from exposing the money and the people behind a Boston-based terrorist cell.

The Troubles: Deceived by her family, a rebellious woman seeks to unearth how Northern Ireland’s Troubles are buried in her mother’s secret past.


The Wake: A shattered heiress’ family secret is exploited by her spurned lover to blackmail her into engaging in international terrorism.


THE WAKE answers the question, “Is a terrorist born or made?”

World-class equestrian, Jessica Wyeth, is thrust into the middle of a game of geopolitical warfare. Reeling from revelations of her connection to the violent struggles to expunge Britain from Northern Ireland, she’s blocked by unseen forces from returning to the United States.

The facts of Jessica’s birth become her deepest secret. Her late mother was considered by Northern Ireland to be a terrorist and her father is a key negotiator between violent Irish Republican Army (IRA) factions in Belfast and the British Government.

Jessica vows to keep her father’s identity hidden at all costs.

Only one man knows Jessica’s truth. Michael Connaught, heir to an international crime family who profits from political uprisings, struggles with his own legacy. He is torn between protecting the woman he loves or using her secrets as a catalyst for inciting global unrest.

When a terrorist bomb rips through the crowd at the Atlanta-based Summer Olympic Games, Jessica is forced to fight for her life in ways she never dreamed.

The Wake is available for pre-order on Amazon.



Hambley Business HeadshotCONNIE JOHNSON HAMBLEY embraces the changes in the publishing world by being both traditionally and independently published. Growing up on a dairy farm in New York meant she had plenty of space to ride one of her six horses, and all would have been idyllic if a pesky arsonist hadn’t burned her family’s barn down. Bucolic bubble burst, she began to steadfastly plot her revenge against all bad guys, real and imagined. After receiving her law degree, she moved to Boston and wrote for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Nature and other wonky outlets as she honed her skills of reaching readers at a deep emotional level. Her high-concept thrillers feature remarkable women entangled in modern-day crimes and walk the reader on the razor’s edge between good and evil. Connie delights in creating worlds where the good guys win–eventually. Her short story, Giving Voice, won acceptance in the award-winning New England’s Best Crime Stories: Windward, published by Level Best Books. The Troubles, is a 2016 Best Fiction winner at the EQUUS Film Festival in New York City.

Connie keeps horses in her life by volunteering as a horse handler at a therapeutic riding center. Look for updates and information on and follow her on Twitter at @conniehambley.




24 thoughts on “Mystery Monday: Connie Johnson Hambley on Book Marketing From the Other Side

    1. Hi Jacqueline! Thanks for stopping by! Back covers are also a great place to provide more information on the author. Readers always want to know the WHO behind the WHAT. A good brief bio tells the reader why YOU were the right person to write that book!

      Liked by 1 person

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