What is a One-Sheet and Why Your Book Should Have One

What is a One-Sheet and Why An Author Needs Them

When institutional buyers are considering purchasing books for their organizations, libraries, or bookstores, the thing that they are NOT going to do is to sit down and read every book they might consider.  In fact, some buyers almost never read books, and are not going to lug them around at trade shows or book fairs. They already have their order books and perhaps even contract forms, but resolutely don’t want books. Maybe at book fairs they might take a publisher’s expensive and slick-looking catalog, but many of these are taken and tossed into trashcans as soon as they are out of sight of the booth.  These buyers may attend a dozen such events a year and get a bit jaded after the first few years .

Like most of today’s readers, they are only interested in seeing or lugging around information on the books that they ARE interested in – none others need apply. This has resulted in creation of the one-sheet which often has a photo of the book, the vital information about it, and on-line references to more information. While it is tempting for an author to cram every word possible onto this single page to tell about your creation and why they should purchase it, this document should be easily readable and instantly transmit anything important about your book to the buyer. Although this is the primary purpose of the one-sheet, it is also useful send to potential reviewers, journalist, and broadcasters. From this sheet they can instantly tell if your message has some potential appeal to their audiences and how to craft their stories. As a journalist and broadcaster, I have been on both sides of this equation.   

What Goes on Your Book’s One-Sheet

Like in the old “Drag Net” line, “Just the facts, mam. Just the facts.”

1. The title. This should be on the top of the page centered, bold, and is often more effective placed in a colored block. In my case I am helped that the title in short as it the sub-title which made it easier to include both in the block in two lines of text. Make Your Own Job, the title, is on the top line and the sub-title, Anytime, Anywhere, at Any Age, is centered beneath it superimposed on a gold background. The title is big, obvious, and can be easily read from ten-feet away.

2. The Book’s Cover. I prefer a two-column design for my one-sheets, but they might be designed with multiple color photos with a line of text beneath them, or of a larger principal photo and a number of satellite photos on the page, or of mixes of blocks of photos and texts. If color backgrounds are used for the blocks, it is best if they are of contrasting colors or perhaps the entire sheet may be overprinted over a photo. Somewhere on the page the cover should appear in a large-enough size so that the details can be seen and the title and sub-title easily read.

3. A one sentence description about the book. The title already conveys the message that the book is for use “Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age,” and it would be redundant to say that again in the description. Instead I used, “The business book for everyone.”

4. Metadata. This block of information is usually directly under the cover and shows the basic facts about the book. This should always include the ISBNs for the versions of the book that are available, the books’ type (hardcover, e-book, audio book, or other). It may also include price information, although this may vary between distributors. Should a version of the book be only available at the time of the one-sheet’s release from a single source, that source should be identified. That was the case of my audiobook at the time the one-sheet was created and the E-mail address of ListenUp Productions was also given.

5. Information about content. The two things that I wanted to convey were that the book shows how to systematically explore different business options and tell exactly how to implement those options throughout one’s life. The most concise way to do this was to use bullet points and list some of the topics covered by the book. 

6. Sources for information about the book and its author. This block includes the author’s website, physical address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Skype, YouTube Channels, Facebook, or other addresses might also be listed here. However, just because you have them does not mean that you should list them. Like in movie scripts, try to keep the page open and clean.

An Example

  I am going to show a copy of a one-sheet for my new business book so that you can see the contents and how they are arranged. Yours does not have to look like this and likely should not. If you are well known or physically attractive, neither is true in my case, by all means show a photo of yourself. If this is an adventure novel, I would hope that you would have an adventurous picture on the cover. If not, show one on the one-sheet. Whatever you do, make sure that it somehow relates to your book.

 About This Author

Wm. Hovey Smith is the author of more than 20 books and producer of more than 850 YouTube videos. He is a Professional Geologist in Georgia, a former U.S. Army Combat Engineer Officer, outdoorsman, small business owner, knife maker, and international speaker on environmental and business topics, having spoken at international forums in Austria and China. He has also served as an Information Scientists for a multi-national company specializing in industrial patents. His current project is a novel, screenplay and movie, “Father of the Grooms.”  For more information on the author’s activities go to www.hoveysmith.com.

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