Is the Back Cover of My Book Important: A Breakdown of Back Cover Elements

blogicon

1106 Design

July 18, 2023

We’ve talked a lot about cover design, especially as it relates to the front cover, but what about the back cover? You may have a lot of questions regarding this part of your book, such as . . .

“Does the back cover of my book really matter?”

“Is the back cover just as important as the front cover?”

“What purpose does a book’s back cover serve?”

The back cover may not attract readers to a book like the front cover, but it’s still important to the success of a book. Most people are drawn to a book because of the front cover, and then the next place they look is often the back cover.

The purpose of the back cover is informational. Usually, this is where you tell readers what your story is about, or how reading your book will benefit them. This is also where you can share your expertise and convince people why they should value your opinion, knowledge, or advice.

Below, we’ll take a look at a few questions regarding components of the back cover and what will make each element a successful part of marketing your book.

 

What Is the Blurb?

The blurb is also often referred to as the summary or the synopsis. Don’t be confused. Those terms are often considered interchangeable because they all share what the book is about, but they actually have separate definitions and purposes. We’ll just focus on the blurb for this article.

The blurb is where you pitch your book to your readers, and it needs to be as short, concise, and enticing as possible. The sweet spot is between 100-200 words, but it certainly shouldn’t be longer than 250 words.

For fiction books, the blurb should include a condensed overview of part of the plot, usually up to the inciting incident. For nonfiction books, in general, the blurb should explain what information the book provides and/or what value it can have for the reader.

 

Do I Need an Author Bio?

Yes. The author bio is where you show off the education, experience, and skills that qualify you to write your book. It’s a good idea to briefly share a bit about your hobbies and interests, as well, to help readers connect with you, but the main purpose of the bio is to pitch yourself to readers. This is especially true with nonfiction books.

The author bio should be no longer than 100 words. Remember that the author bio combined with the blurb should be a total of 300 words or less to allow for optimal spacing. Anything longer will make the back cover look cramped and hard to read.

 

Should I Include Endorsements and Reviews?

These are optional. If there’s enough space, it could be a good idea to include endorsements from other industry experts and review blurbs, primarily if these professionals or services are held in high esteem. For instance, a review blurb from Kirkus would definitely hold some weight. Sharing these endorsements and reviews can show readers what others think of your work and encourage them to make the purchase.

These should be no longer than one to two short sentences. So, even if you have a long review praising your work, only take what you need from it. If there’s not enough room on the back cover for this information, you can include it in the front matter. This is where having a dust jacket becomes especially useful, as you will be able to use the inside flaps as well as the back cover.

 

Are Quotes Helpful on the Back Cover?

Again, if you have the space for it, you can share a brief quote from your book that will grab readers’ attention and pique their curiosity. This isn’t necessary, but it can give readers a taste of what’s to come and hopefully make them want more. As with endorsements and reviews, the shorter the better. You want each section to stand out, not be swallowed up in a wall of text.

 

Should I Share My Picture?

Including an author picture beside your bio can help people see you as an actual person, and it’s possible it may help them connect with you. On the other hand, it opens the door for readers to judge your book based on your appearance rather than the book’s actual merit, which is unfair but also inevitable.

Should you decide to include a headshot, you’ll have to decide whether you want it to be color or grayscale. Color images are typically more engaging and look more modern, while grayscale images often look more professional and are less likely to clash with most color schemes. Ultimately, the decision boils down to author preference.

 

Should I Share My Website or Social Media Links?

You can include your social profile taglines/links under your author bio, but only if doing so won’t result in the back cover looking crowded. Usually, you won’t be able to get away with this unless you have a dust jacket. You can also include such contact information in an Author Note or somewhere in the front or back matter.

Just a warning: Be very careful about what contact information you share. We recommend not sharing anything personal, like your home or cell number, your address, or your personal email addresses. You should create separate social media profiles and email addresses that are dedicated to your author business. This is much safer, and it also helps you stay more organized.

 

How Can I Best Use My Dust Jacket?

As we mentioned above, having a dust jacket comes with many advantages, not the least of which is extra space for promotional information. Include only that which can help sell you and your book to readers. This includes review blurbs from trusted sources, endorsements from experts in your field, and/or enticing quotes from your book. You may also have room for an author image. Books with dust jackets often use the inside flaps for the blurb and author bio, then use the back cover for extra information.

 

Does This Information Still Apply to eBooks?

It does. eBooks may still have back matter or back “covers.” More importantly, however, the information you would normally share on the back cover should be featured on your Amazon book page, as well as other places where your book is sold or promoted–regardless of whether you have an eBook or not.

While you may not always have the space restraints that come with print publishing, you should still keep your text as concise as possible. Doing so will help people skim the page more easily and better hold their attention.

With all of our cover design plans, we offer a free eBook cover.

 

What About the Bar Code?

The barcode is, of course, necessary. Most legit designers include the bar code for free when creating the full cover design. At 1106 Design, we offer a free bar code as well as assistance setting up your ISBNs through Bowker.

 

When in doubt, you should take a look at the back covers (and inside flaps for books with dust jackets) of popular, current books to get an idea of what works. Take a look at best sellers in your genre that have been published within the past year. Get a feel for their full cover design and how all the elements work together to sell the book.

This can help you determine what will work for your book and what won’t, and if you’re working with a designer (which we recommend), it will help you determine their expertise and whether they’re right for you.

At 1106 Design, we have plenty of full cover design plans to choose from. We’re here to help every step of the way. We’ll answer all your questions and work with you to create the best possible cover. You can read testimonials from our clients here. Contact us to learn more.

You may like these

Author Story: Mark Graban

Author Story: Mark Graban

The Mistakes that Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation is one of several books authored by Mark Graban, who found inspiration in the idea of helping others learn from their mistakes and in the stories and insights shared by guests on his podcast...

read more
The Value of Full-Service Project Management Teams

The Value of Full-Service Project Management Teams

The term “self-publishing” is often associated with the vision of an author struggling to do everything—from editing to marketing—on their own. It’s true that self-publishers wear many hats, but that doesn’t mean they’re doomed to do everything without help. If you’re...

read more
What Is the Best Bookbinding Option?

What Is the Best Bookbinding Option?

We recently discussed how print books are still a viable option for authors and how it’s important to offer as many versions of your book as possible. If you decide that producing a print book is right for you, you’ll be faced with many bookbinding options. How your...

Are Print Books Becoming Obsolete?

Are Print Books Becoming Obsolete?

It may seem that print books will be pushed out of the running as the world becomes increasingly tech-driven. We disagree. You may have heard that print sales declined in 2023, but it was only by about 2.6% (take a look at the stats on Publishers Weekly). There will...

Should You Publish Multiple Formats of Your Book?

Should You Publish Multiple Formats of Your Book?

So many authors ask us about the value of publishing in multiple formats vs. just one or two. Often the debate is between eBooks and print books in general, as more and more people think print books are going by the wayside. Some people are so bent on the print vs....