The Book Beautiful: The Back Cover

It’s More Than a Graveyard for Details

A potential reader has your book in their hands, they look at the front illustration, they flip through and subconsciously note how the book it formatted, and then they turn the book around to read the back cover. The back cover becomes a crucial piece for a reader deciding whether or not they are going to purchase your book. You essentially have 150-200 words to sell your story to the reader, anything more than that will appear cluttered or have to be excruciatingly small in order to fit, alienating some potential readers who didn’t bring a magnifying glass along with them to the bookstore.That being said, a great thing to do before you begin brainstorming the back cover of your own book is to go through your own library and look at the back covers of some of your favorite books for reference.

Is your book fiction? If so, provide a short summary of what the story is about, including some enticing plot points to hook your reader in (don’t give the ending away!). An exciting way to end your back cover blurb is with a question or introducing a point of tension that the reader will feel compelled to explore further.

Is your book nonfiction? Begin by addressing the primary purpose of your book, or the ‘why’ a reader should choose your book. Proceed by making a bullet-point list of the topics your book will cover, i.e. what the reader can gain from reading your book.

Once your blurb is written, it’s time to introduce yourself as an author. A professional photograph of yourself (a face shot with no background noise, the focus is on you here) with a short bio is another essential component of a back cover. This bio won’t be as detailed as the formal bio on a page inside the book (or book jacket if a hardcover), and is not meant to be. If you are a nonfiction writer, this is a good place to list your qualifications, experience, or training in the area you’ve written about.

Endorsements are another appropriate feature to add to your back cover if you have them. An endorsement is just a short little quip written by a well-respected author in your genre (if fiction) or professional in your field (if nonfiction). If you don’t have someone well-known to endorse your book, it is best to omit this feature as it will simply look like you couldn’t obtain a more reputable endorsement and instead settled for anything.

If you’re struggling with any of the components of your back cover, Outskirts Press’ one click publishing package includes a personalized back cover that is professional and polished and relieves you of the stress of choosing the right few words to include to reel in potential readers.

Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog,

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