What to Feature on Your Book’s Back Cover
You might be tempted to overlook the back cover of your book. After all, the front is the exciting part—you can’t even see the back of a displayed book without intentionally picking it up and turning it over.
The front cover is indeed important for catching the eye of a potential reader. However, the back cover is a crucial marketing tool as well. Think about it: What’s the first thing people do once they’ve picked up a book? They flip it over and read what’s on the back! Your front cover piques their interest, and then your back cover steps in to drive the sale home. This is when purchasing decisions are made.
There’s an art to creating the back cover of a book. You have limited space—room for perhaps 250 words at the most. With such finite real estate, every word that lands there needs to count. We’ve put together a list of tips so you can create a back cover that will entice readers.
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Elements to include on your book’s back cover
These are quotes from reviewers, publications, or other authors, essentially endorsing your book. Since they serve as third-party verifications of its quality, they can be extremely powerful, especially when coming from influential sources.
Given that you have limited space, use only your best testimonials—two or three of them. These will be the best-written or the ones from the most well-known authors or publications. If you’re releasing a non-fiction book, have a testimonial from an expert in the field. If you can’t decide which ones to include, ask friends, family, and other people which give them the best impression.
2. Book description
The description on the back is not a full summary or a detailed account of your book’s content. It’s your “elevator pitch”: a short and snappy one to two paragraphs. It’s just enough to paint a basic picture of the theme and introduce enough intrigue to prompt readers to buy the book.
A work of fiction will need a hook to compel people to pick it up. A non-fiction book will present the problem and main topics, and it will need to state clearly what the reader will learn. Whatever kind of book you’ve written, these few short paragraphs on the back cover need to be powerful enough to convince readers to part with their hard-earned money.
Check out other books in your genre to see what descriptions work for your intended audience. While you don’t want to emulate them directly, they can serve as great inspiration.
3. Information about the author
Include your author bio and picture. This isn’t the focus of the back cover, so it’s normally kept near the bottom. After all, the reader probably doesn’t know you and is more interested in what the book is about, so the description takes priority. Even if you are a well-known author, prominently displaying your name on the front cover is enough—save most of the space on the back for this particular story.
Keep the bio as short as possible—just a couple of sentences about you. With non-fiction books, make sure to include whatever credentials and expertise make you an authority on the subject. With fiction books, you can include any literary awards you’ve received or previous bestsellers you’ve published, as well as anything that ties you to the theme of the book.
As for your picture, a professional headshot will give your book a stamp of quality. Readers will be more likely to buy a book if they feel confident it’s a professional endeavor. So, dress nicely and hire a professional photographer—a selfie won’t cut it here.
While there are many ways to design a back cover, the elements listed above make up the classic format that has everything a book buyer may want to know. Just remember that however you decide to design your book’s back cover, you need to keep it balanced—you don’t want a back cover that’s cluttered or uses a tiny font to fit everything in. Be compelling and brief. Instead of cramming various elements onto your back cover, go with a few and make them powerful.
If you’re looking for a professional touch, have us design your book cover for you.