Captivating Customers with Well-Crafted Cover Copy
Part II: Fiction Titles

September 2003
by Robin Quinn

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Note: See Part I (PMA Newsletter, May 2003) for guidelines for nonfiction cover copy as well as points that can apply to both fiction and nonfiction.

When it comes to creating alluring cover copy for fiction, seven elements can help turn shoppers into book buyers. In this article, we’ll look at how these elements apply to both paperback fiction (where the emphasis is on the back cover) and hardcover fiction (where you also have the two jacket flaps to play with). Tip: Small presses may want to go with softcover for fiction from the start to keep down costs.

To view many of the covers mentioned below, use the “look inside this book” feature at


1. Distinctive Author Bios

A major aspect of fiction cover copy is emphasizing the prestige, reputation and charisma of the author. Awards, other special recognitions, and teaching credentials all play a part in creating a sense that this writer is worth one’s precious reading time. For example, on the back of Life in the Cul-De-Sac (in softcover from Stone Bridge Press), Senji Kurio’s bio mentions his winning of the Tanizaki Prize for Literature for this book, a position as Associate Professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Arizona, and Kurio’s association with “the so-called Introspective Generation of writers of Japan.” For Six Kinds of Sky (softcover fromCinco Puntos Press), Luis A…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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