Nine Things That Need to be on Your Book Cover

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Don’t judge a book by its cover is a cliché that’s also a myth. People will judge your book by its cover.  It’s the first impression that conveys your book’s message, your brand, and most importantly, makes readers want to buy it. Since a book cover is so significant in your book’s success, you have to squeeze all the power you can from the things you include on it.

There are nine things every non-fiction book cover must include in order to generate appeal and interest, and to make your book an effective marketing tool for your business.

1.         Your photograph should be on the front cover. Including your picture on the front cover is a great branding tool. It’s worked for bestselling authors Suze Orman and Dr. Phil. Oprah and Rachel Ray aren’t shy, either, and their picture is on the front of every issue of their magazine. If, however, you feel that your platform takes a back seat to the information in your book, you should include your photo on the back cover. Regardless where you choose to put it, your photograph should always be included somewhere on the front or back cover of your book. It helps readers connect with you and gives them that personal feeling of ‘knowing’ you.

2.         Include an endorsement on the front or back cover. A high-profile endorsement from a celebrity or someone who is well-known in your field would be optimal for the front cover. It serves as an advertisement for your book, immediately generating interest and providing your book with added credibility. Endorsements are one of the easiest and most effective ways to generate interest and attention.

3.         Your website address should be included on your book cover. Whether you choose to put it on the front of the book with a free offer or on the back with your bio is your choice. Just know that your book is a marketing tool that will help you build traffic to your website and generate sales and clients. You have to let your readers know how to find you, and your website is the perfect way to do that.

4.         The features and benefits from your book should be included. What takeways will your readers receive from your book?  Why should they buy your book? What do you have to tell them that they really want to know? A short paragraph wetting their appetite and letting them know what your book will do for them is a good way to do this. So are bullet points and additional testimonials which reinforce your message and the content of your book.

5.         Your name must always be on the front and back cover of your book. Always. Your name is your brand. Promote yourself. Promote your brand.

6.         The back cover of your book should include a short bio of the author, letting readers know the most salient aspects of your life, your business, and your career. Who are you? Why did you write this book? What do you do and who do you do it for? Why is it important to you and to the reader? Keep it brief and to the point. You always have an opportunity to include a full-length bio in the interior pages of your book. This is a great area to reinforce your brand or industry tag name, such as Pete Carcione, The Greengrocer, or John Doe, America’s Most Requested Hypnotist, etc.

7.         The ISBN/Barcode should be included on the back cover. This is true if you are going to sell your book through online retail establishments like Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com and if your book will be available at physical retail establishments. However, if you’re only going to make your book available through your website or at the back of the room, you won’t need to include the ISBN/Barcode on the back of your book. Your graphic designer will be skilled in the placement of the barcode on the back cover.

8.         If you’re promoting a free offer, and you should be, someone should be able to see that offer immediately.  A free offer is a bonus you offer to people who have purchased your book, such as Bonus Offer: Free 15-minute consultation with John Doe, America’s Most Requested Hypnotist. This is applicable to authors who are using their book as a business card or brochure. The free offer is a way to promote your book, and gear readers to your business and other products and services.

9.         Last, but definitely not least, your book cover should include your book’s title and subtitle. Your title can have a hook, pack a punch, or be simple and to the point. Give it considerable thought, but don’t make it too long. You want to have room to display it prominently, and you definitely want to keep it short enough that people will remember it. If your book has a subtitle, and I recommend that all non-fiction books should, include the sub-title, which is a way to expand and elaborate on what your book is about in more detail. Again, don’t get too wordy!

If you have these nine things on your book cover, you now have more than an outside package to hold your book together—you have a cover that attracts readers, generates interest, promotes you, your business and your brand, and will generate book sales and increase your business.

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