Thursday, July 28, 2011

What Goes on the Back Cover?

Don't be shy: The first thing I like on a back cover is the author's bio and photo. Many authors resist this, I suppose for the same reason that many people resist having their picture taken at all. However, if you are writing a book, you need to ready to promote your brand. And guess what? You are the brand. What kind of photo? Well, it needs to be something that suits your brand. If your brand is formal, then your photo should be formal. If your brand is casual, then your photo should be casual. By the way, while some authors are resistant to the whole concept, some authors get it so well they put a photo of themselves on the front cover--and it works!

The second thing I like on the back cover is a selection of testimonials. These can be difficult to get before you even publish a book, but it is not impossible. You just need to start early and locate appropriate individuals who are willing to do this for you. A few rules of thumb.

  • Get as many as you can: You will only be able to use three to five on the back cover, but you can use additional testimonials inside the book, on your website, and in your promotional literature.
  • Professional diversity helps: Combine credentialed endorsers (PhDs, for example) with those who might represent your readers.
  • Geographical diversity helps: If you plan to identify endorsers by place, make sure they are not all from your hometown.
  • Get their comments in a letter or email: The Whole Earth Catalog, I believe it was, used to tell its readers not to think about "writing a review" but to just write down some comments in a letter. They got great reviews this way. Go and do likewise.
  • Get their permission: Send them the edited version of the testimonial you plan to use and get their permission to use it, even in email. Confirm the spelling of their names, title, and location.
  • Use names, if possible: Of course, this is preferable to anonymous testimonials. However, in the case of testimonials from children, it's common to identify them only by age or grade. The Publishing Pro.

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