Attract attention by adding ‘shout line’ to cover

When designing your book cover, consider adding a shout line.

A shout line is a compelling phrase or sentence that aims to intrigue the reader. Some good examples include: “When obsession takes over”; “I thought he was harmless. I was wrong”; and “In space, no one can hear you scream”. While the shout line alone may not sell the book, it hopefully will get potential buyers to read the full blurb or a few pages from the story.

Shout lines tend to be short and are in some way linked to the story’s central problem or major conflict. Often they appear as a question. A great shout line sticks with the reader.

As most of today’s book sales are online, simplicity rules in book cover design. Hence, many self-published authors eschew the shout line. Still, a shout line works well when the book is printed as a paperback and sold in bookstores. In any case, a good book cover designer should be able to fit in a shout line even on books sold only online where covers often appear as thumbnails.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.