Paperback cover consists of three major parts

An paperback cover – perhaps wrongly – tells the reader a lot about the pages that follow. A poor cover hints at unprofessional writing.

So invest a little time working on the full cover, even though you’re a writer. After all, you’re not a fashion designer, but you still wouldn’t dress your child in rags during her first public outing!

To begin, you’ll need to know that a paperback cover consists of three parts – the front cover, the back cover, and the spine that goes between them.

Most people will only see either your front cover or your spine when in a bookstore.

The front cover is usually what potential readers see when they spot your book online or at a bookstore. It in turn consists of four parts. The artwork consists of the photograph or illustration that dominates the front cover. The title of your book usually is the largest wording on the page. The byline, or the author’s name, typically is the next largest wording. A tag line usually is four or five words of something nice someone has said about your book (For example, a tag line for this book might say: “‘The ONLY complete guide out there.’ – Kyle Janison, Editor”)

If your front cover captured the reader’s attention in a bookstore or library, they probably will turn it over and read the back cover, which is the back side of your book. The back cover typically consists of five parts. Most noticeable is the blurb, which is the same the book description on Amazon. It is your sales pitch, your movie trailer, that tells what the book is about and hopefully lands a purchase. An author’s bio may appear below the blurb. It usually is brief and often used to establish the author’s credentials for writing the book, though that is more important for nonfiction than fiction. Next to the bio might an author’s photo, which often is just a thumbnail head shot. Below that is the the name of the publisher. The name may include the city where the publisher is headquartered. Lastly is the barcode, which is used in tracking the book as it moves from printer to distributor to retailer. With the barcode may be the book’s ISBN and its price, though the latter can float around other spots on the cover.

Between the front and back covers is the spine. This is the thin side of the book that readers are most likely to see in a bookstore or library. The spine includes three elements: the book’s title; the byline; and the publisher’s logo.


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.