A Key Book Designing Tip: Always Include Reputable Reviews! (See TheIndieView)

Isn’t it astounding how a few tweaks can dramatically affect the whole?

I’ve found this to be true in nearly every area of life, from design, to task management, to relationships.

The Truth Beyond the Sky 2014 cover

You see, when I first published the paperback edition of “The Truth Beyond the Sky,” I still had plenty to learn about making a great paperback, and I knew it. Even though I had a background in design and plenty of examples to choose from, I had to admit that it was still the first full-length book I’d ever designed a cover for.

Thankfully, my research and extensive testing paid off, and many bookish people have told me that they can’t tell any difference in quality between it and any book you’d find in the library.

Hearing this was a relief!

I’m a detail-oriented kind of guy, and even a single piece of improper punctuation can bug me, and for good reason: I am competing, on some level, with Asimov, Clarke, Wells, etc. And as my plan unfolds, my books will be sharing shelf space with them more and more, and if my quality didn’t at least meet their level of quality, I’d be rather screwed.

An Example

So today, I’d like to share a visual example of something I’ve learned over the last few months: the importance of putting reviews on the back of your paperback!

In retrospect this seems fairly obvious, but you may be surprised how many books don’t do it. Reviews are key because they provide extremely helpful “social proof” for the book, and I’m excited to announce that the back cover of the book will soon feature the new design below.

First, here’s what it looked like before:

The Truth Beyond the Sky 2013 backcover

And after:

The Truth Beyond the Sky 2014 backcover

As with most things in life, I had to make a compromise and shorten some of the book’s description and make some other tweaks. The compromise was tricky, but I realized that having two reputable reviews was more important than the entire description. The description is meant to be a tease, anyway. Plus, the overall image composition is better now, too. Better use of negative space, don’t you think?

Word of Caution: don’t use reviews from Amazon reviewers on the back of your book unless they’re from known people, like reviewers you have actually heard of. Instead, have independent reviewers write a review for your book (i.e., people who actually have a site or a business dedicated for that purpose). That way, you can cite their website which lends the review much more credibility.

“What if I don’t have any reviews by actual professional reviewers?” I hear you asking. Well, get them! If your book is worth its bits, you shouldn’t have much trouble if you have patience. (This directory is a great place to find people who review books, most of them for free: TheIndieView.com)

Do you have any opinions on the new back cover?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. 🙂

4 bits on A Key Book Designing Tip: Always Include Reputable Reviews! (See TheIndieView)

  1. Yeah, the updated back cover is just plain snazzy.

    Do you include the reviews in your ebook versions at all?

    Thanks for the link to those reviewers. I’m curious is any will be interested in reading my non-fiction quirky Texas travel book. We shall see!

  2. Aloha Tui!

    Apologies for the delay in this response. Your comment slipped through the cracks, and then there was the audiobook… Anyway, there isn’t a back cover file for the ebook, so I don’t currently. I suppose I could put reviews near the title page, before the table of contents. But I think anyone who is buying off of Kindle has already noticed the star rating, you know? Hmm.

    Good luck with the reviews!

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