How to create the raw material for a book.
So does your book have a great title, a good cover, good content and a proper design? How about the cover and back cover material? The what? The front and the back! That’s all the extra stuff at the beginning and end of your book that is between the cover and the chapters. Oh that, I will do all those things the day before I publish the book. *Wrong!!!
A book is only good when it is good from start to finish. It starts with the cover and ends with the back (or the last page in the case of an e-book).
This is what you can do:
Step 1: Take a look at the other books look at the other books in your genre and write down what kinds of things they offer on the front and back. This may include, but is not limited to, a copyright page, a foreword, a preface, a dedication, an index, acknowledgments, etc. I offer a list of options below, but it’s probably not complete. Decide which pages you want and which you don’t.
Step 2: Check the logical order Please note that there is a preferred order for the foreword and reverse sections. For example, a preface always comes after the prologue, and a call to action should come first after the final chapter. Some pages, such as “About the Author”, may be at the beginning or end of the book. Put them at the end when they are irrelevant to potential readers who want to take a look at your book with Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature.
Step 3: Steal and Adjust Now that you know what you want and where in the book you want it, follow all the rules and break them when you feel like it. It’s your book, so you can let your personality shine. But breaking conventions must be done carefully. There is a reason that common practices are often called best practices.
This is what I did in my Workout book:
Blots It is a tradition that business books start with backs (also called blots or quotes). I like tradition, and good blurbs are said to really sell books. I made sure I had a good mix of quotes from “celebrities” and real readers. How to get them? I asked for. Very good.
Copyright Steal the writing of this page from other books and then modify it to your liking. I prefer to have the version number and the month of publication here. You can decide otherwise. Also consider obtaining an ISBN number. No, you don’t need it when you only sell on Amazon, but when you branch out later, it can make it easier to identify editions on other websites.
Title It is common for books to repeat the author’s title and name on a blank page. In printed books, this is often the place where the book is signed and a pleasant comment is written for a reader. Keep this in mind in your design. It would be quite embarrassing when your own book doesn’t have room for your oversized autograph.
Dedication I intend to dedicate each book to a person who is important to me. You can do whatever you want. In fact, many authors skip this entirely. But their loved ones will be ecstatic to immortalize them with a simple phrase.
Table of Contents I only listed the chapter names in the ToC of my Workout book, not the names of all the sections within those chapters. This saved some space, and in this digital age most people know how to search through the contents of a book.
Prologue Like smears, good prologues can sell books. Some people told me they bought my first book, Management 3.0, from Uncle Bob Martin’s crazy and powerful forward. How do you get someone to write one? Again, questions, and questions, and questions …
Preface For me, this section could also be called chapter zero. Set the stage for everything that comes next. It is like the opening sequence of a movie. Make it interesting, not boring! Like in movies, it’s best to include all the boring stuff (credits) at the end.
Call to action It is common to offer a call to action immediately after the final chapter. At that time, you still have the attention of an enthusiastic reader who made it to the end of the book. Use this opportunity well! I prefer to ask for a review of the book and show the reader the other things I have worked on and that can interest.
About the Author Some books have this on the front, but I prefer to have it on the back. Offer your readers great content first, and only talk about yourself later. If readers really want to know more about you before they finish the book (don’t count on it) they should be able to find this page in the Index.
Contact Obviously, you should let people know how to contact you. An email address on the About page or on the Preface page is fine, but I prefer to offer my readers more options, including my social media accounts.
Acknowledgments In my book Workout, I renamed this section to Co-Creators. I felt this better reflected my appreciation for everyone who contributed to the book. This includes editors, designers, proofreaders, etc. Step aside to thank people, even if they only offered you a sandwich. Each person listed here can become a promoter of your book.
Index In my opinion, the book’s index is a thing of the past. With digital books, it is quite easy (and more accurate) for people to use the search function of their electronic book reader. I also decided not to include an index in my pocket book. People can use the free PDFs to search. So far, no one has said an index has been lost. And saved many trees.
Reverse Technically, this is part of the cover, not the reverse. And as with the index, the relevance of book endorsements has decreased due to ebooks, which have none. Still, you need to design one for your paper book, and my only suggestion is to display a large, clear URL. Tell people where to go online for everything that doesn’t fit on the cover.
This is how I design the cover and back cover of my books.