THE FRONT COVER
Front covers evolve. Whether you choose to go out and hire a cover designer or assign me the job, the front cover really needs to be a collaboration in which you, the author, takes an active role. In preparation, this is when you want to spend time in a bookstore, looking at the most current cover design in your genre. If your book is science fiction, I wouldn’t waste much time in the self-help section, but then again, inspiration can be waiting for us in unexpected places.
THE BACK COVER - YOUR BILLBOARD
What's the first thing you do when you pick up a book? If you're like most shoppers, you give the front cover the briefest of glances, then turn the book over and speed-read down the back cover. The back cover is the author's only opportunity to make a quick and compelling case for why you should buy this book today. A good back cover lets a potential reader in on just what wonders are in store. Like the best movie trailer, it moves rapidly, and with ascending interest, from one highlight to the next. In a limited amount of space, it makes its pitch, backs it up with a few great examples, and details the author's credentials. Through the judicious use of action verbs ("join author Jane Doe, "meet an amazing cast of characters"), it propels the shopper to the cash register.
There's subtle marketing science behind the development of the back cover of a professionally designed book. Whether your book is fiction or non, aimed at adults or children, it has to sell itself. You aren't there to make your pitch to your prospective buyer. Visually and in words, it has to elbow its way past the competition and insinuate itself in your buyer's psyche.
FOR ALL BOOKS, PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING:
FOR FICTION, ALSO PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING:
FOR NON-FICTION, ALSO PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING:
Nancy W. Grossman © 2012