Guidelines for Placing Your Book Cover’s Byline

When designing your book cover, you’ll need a byline. The byline is the author’s name. 

Generally, the byline is in smaller type than the title and often is in the same font and color. There are plenty of exceptions to this rule, though. If you’re a big name author, the byline may be equal in size and appear in a prominent position on the cover. Sometimes for design reasons, you may not want it to be in the same font or coloring. This is especially true if you’re using a unique font intended to convey a mood, such as lettering made to appear like dripping blood on a horror book. In that case, using the same font and color for the byline may be overkill (no pun intended) and actually distract from the novelty of the title’s appearance.

The byline typically appears somewhere below the title. The bottom of the cover is a good spot. Again, there are exceptions. Sometimes the author’s name sell the book not the title, so in such cases the byline appears above the title.

As placing the byline on the page, make sure it is readable. As with the title, you don’t want stray lines from the artwork intersecting letters so that they are unreadable or could be easily confused with another letter. Finding a spot that is monochrome on the bottom of the artwork is an ideal location for the byline.

Lastly always leave “by” off the cover. The only name that ought to appear on the cover is the author’s, so why place “by” before it? Besides adding clutter to the page, it looks amateurish. If you’ve written a children’s book, include wording such as “Illustrated by” or “Pictures by” before the illustrator’s name to clarify she is not the author.


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.