Design a back cover that sells your book

While the front cover may catch a potential reader’s attention, it hardly guarantees a sell. If the reader is interested, she’ll probably turn the book over and read the back cover.

Your goal now: Get them to realize via some fantastic back cover salesmanship that this is a book they can’t pass up.

Almost certainly the focus of your attention ought to be on the blurb. This typically is a quick synopsis of the book, like an advertisement for an upcoming television program. It doesn’t give away the book’s ending but typically tells about the story’s major conflicts. Usually it appears at the top of the back cover. The blurb is so important, that we’ll dedicate a future entry to this.

A bit less important is the author’s bio. In two or three sentences you want to tell a little about yourself, focusing on why you’re qualified to write this book, especially if you’ve penned a nonfiction tome. It usually appears near the bottom of the back cover. A picture of the author often accompanies the bio. Many mainstream publishers leave off the pic as superfluous or an added expense, but since you’re self-publishing, why not indulge yourself? Indeed, many readers have a positive response to such photos (as in, “Wow, he’s important enough to have his picture on the cover!”).

If you have a website or a blog that promotes the book or you as an author, be sure to include that as well. There’s no reason to print the http:// portion of the web address, though; just start with the www (The exception is if there’s no www. in the address). This also can boost the credibility of your authorship.

If you’ve created your own publishing company, include its name on the back cover as well. Adding the city where the company is located also is a nice touch. Doing so helps dismiss the impression that your book is self-published, which for some people – though that number is a minority – causes you to lose credibility.

Whatever you do, do not forget the price. While this may not seem like a big deal if using print on demand, sometimes your books will be carried by local booksellers, especially if you are doing a book reading there. Potential buyers of your book will want to know how much they need to pay, often a factor in their decision of which of two books to buy.

Almost no reader cares about the barcode or ISBN, but you’ll need both of them on the back cover if you plan to distribute your book. An ISBN is required by law on books you sell, and with the barcode is used by your distributor to track the book from printer to warehouse to shipping route to sale online or brick and mortar store. Tuck these two items at the bottom of the back cover where they won’t distract a potential buyer (Indeed, many self-publishing companies require that it appear in the back cover’s lower right corner).