Guide to the Book Cover

The book cover is one of the most important elements of the book. It is what people see first, both in person and as a thumbnail online, and it is often what draws people’s attention to the book in the first instance. It is also what people look at before making the choice to open the book and peruse the contents.

Therefore, the cover should be visually appealing and must also contain certain pieces of information.

Front cover

The front cover must contain the book’s full title (no short title, no alternative title, just the exact title of the book with no deviations) and the name of the author(s) or editor(s). If the book is a reproduction, it may also give the name of the original author of the original work.

Back cover

The back cover should contain a synopsis of the book: a short piece of text that serves to describe and advertise the book, saying what it is about and why it is interesting. This should be about two or three short paragraphs, written in clear and concise language, and should be entirely to the point. Words should be regarded as expensive investments in the synopsis, and therefore the fewer the better, and they should be well chosen for their purpose. Book titles should be italicised.

If the synopsis is short, and if there is still space on the back cover, the synopsis may be followed by a brief author biography. This should be very short, no more than four lines (per author), and should give just a tiny introduction to the person(s) behind the book.

The lower left corner must contain the Fallen Rook logo, and the lower right corner must contain the barcode for the ISBN.


The spine of the cover must contain the title of the book, to be read left to right from the top to the bottom of the cover. The full title should be provided, unless the title is in the form “Main Title: subordinate title” (for example, the title Fallen Rook Publishing: Writing History in the 21st Century could be written just as Fallen Rook Publishing on the spine of the book, without the subordinate part of the title). It is not necessary to provide the author’s name, unless there is plenty of space – we must avoid clutter, and should make it as easy as possible to read the spine of the book.

The bottom of the spine should contain the Fallen Rook logo.


We will not know the necessary dimensions for the cover until the manuscript is complete. A book with 250 pages is thicker than a book with only 170 pages, and therefore needs a wider spine; a manuscript that begins life in an A4 portrait layout may change to become landscape or A5 or crown quarto by the end of the project.

Therefore, there is little point in spending time on the design of the cover until the layout is complete. Once the final draft of the manuscript has been approved, we will be able to ascertain the exact dimensions for the cover. It is only at this time that work should begin on the cover; we simply won’t think about any covers submitted with the manuscript until all editing and layout has been complete.

Who will make the cover?

Good question. Ideally, someone who knows what they are doing!

If you have graphic design skills, then you are welcome to take the dimensions we provide and draft up a cover. If you have an artist in mind whom you would like to do this for your book, then by all means make the arrangements. We do have people to whom we can turn to create book covers if you are unable to provide a cover or arrange for the provision of a cover.

Please talk to us in advance about your plans for the cover, after having read the entirety of this page.