Book Design: Create the Best Back Cover Copy - article

After you have written and edited your book, you will probably turn to designing your book covers. You might want to start with the front cover. The beginning of the book might seem a logical place to start. You then might put all your time and energy into making the best front cover imaginable, because you think it will help sell the book. After it’s done, you turn your attention to the back and wonder what to do with this blank slate.

The back of a book is just as important as the front. In fact, it can tell the potential reader much more than the front cover. The front of a book includes the title, the author name, and some illustration or photo that is emblematic of your story. The back cover, however, can give some real insight into the contents. Perhaps, you’d like to include a brief synopsis of the story. You can do so on the back cover. Maybe you feel the need for another visual representation that illustrates another key moment in the story. Perhaps, your piece has received phenomenal reviews; you can add snippets of these critiques (at least a few of them) on the back. Or, you may feel that your front cover is reasonably comprehensive, but you want to show the reader what you look like. You can always put a headshot of yourself in this space. And, if you’re unsure of what to add, you can use a mixture of the items suggested above.

Some things should never be used on the back cover. Photos or drawings that don’t speak either to a book’s essence or to important scenes in a story would not be appropriate. Nor should you include unflattering images of yourself. Remember, whatever you put on your book’s cover will be there for all eternity for people to see. You want to be seen as a professional. In addition, don’t give too much away about the plot. Readers want to be surprised. For example, they want to find out for themselves in chapter 24, that the newcomer introduced in chapter three, was from the future. Remember, your goal is to put summarize your book in a positive way.

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  • Very good points. Thanks. One question... I have one small photo going on my back cover relating to the book. The publisher wants to know if I want an author photo as well. Is that a good idea if I already have one photo on the back? Or will they fight each other?
  • Very good points. Once I read a book which was not bad in the story, i mean the way of the author's writing, but the guy he put on the back cover, once with untruth ads saying the book had been sold for 270 million copies around the world and the second, he put his huge photo on one of his book looking like a Holiwood actor but he really was not as so nice looking as a movie actor but an old guy; I actually didn't believe in so much in his way of marketing. Thank you! Jings Chen
  • This is great advice for me, a "new-be." Thank you for your time and effort to inform those wanting to publish books!