What’s on Your Back Cover?

Everyone knows that a book’s back cover needs a bar code along with ISBN and price information, but once those are in place, new publishers often are unsure what to add to the back cover of their books. While there are many different views about what should be on a back cover, I believe the best use is to see the back of your book as a mini sales page, including four elements.

Everyone knows that a book's back cover needs a bar code along with ISBN and price information, but once those are in place, new publishers often are unsure what to add to the back cover of their books.

While there are many different views about what should be on a back cover, I believe the best use is to see the back of your book as a mini sales page, including four elements.

1) A headline. Your headline should not be the title of your book. Instead, make your headline a promise to your readers. Use it to communicate the main benefit reading your book will offer them.

2) A short blurb about your book. This is not a place for a book report. This is where you offer some brief information to prove to the reader that you will deliver on the benefits promised in the headline, and to further generate interest in your subject.

3) Testimonials. Take the time to get testimonials for your book. The more prominent the person you can quote on your cover the better. Testiminonials build trust in your book, offering further proof that you can deliver on your headline's promise. Between one and three testimonials should be more than enough in most cases.

4) An author blurb. Your author blurb on the back cover of your book should not be extensive. You can save the detailed biography for an "About The Author" page inside the book. A few sentences about the author on the cover should be used to further convince the prospective reader that you can deliver what they're looking for. A photograph is not necessary, or even desirable, unless it contributes to this purpose.

Your graphic designer can help you place these elements to enhance their effect, and you can hone your back cover writing skills by studying traditional copywriting. You can keep tweaking until your back cover is your book's best salesman.

Wendy Woudstra

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