How to Write an Author’s Name on a Book
I am designing the front cover of a book. What is the proper way to acknowledge the author’s name on the cover? In this case the author has a doctorate and is retired military. Which of these is best?
—-#1) Colonel James G. Campbell, USA, Retired
—-#2) Dr. James G. Campbell (Colonel, USA, Retired)
—-#3) James G. Campbell, Ph.D. (Colonel, USA, Retired)
—-—-—-—- – C.B. in FLA
Dear C.B. in FLA,
Presenting one’s name on a book cover is not a form of address. It is more like signing your name. When one presents one’s name, one does not give oneself an honorific, title or rank. On my book I did not list my name as Mr. Robert Hickey. I simply used Robert Hickey.
On his book It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, Colin Powell simply listed his name as Colin Powell. See below.
On the book’s cover Colin Powell followed tradition and presents just his name. His lists his rank, retired status, degrees, honors, awards, etc. elsewhere (e.g., in his biography on the dust jacket’s back flap).] There are plenty of other places to include everything.
For military personnel, ‘branch of service’ and ‘retired’ are part of the name on official communications. Include these too in the bio, not as part of the name.
Same with academic degrees. Find a place for them elsewhere with an exception: Is the book on wellness or healthcare? If so, sometimes you do see author’s names including ‘Dr.’ before – or the post-nominal for their training after their name. Remember in the U.S. style, it’s either ‘rank before’ or ‘degree after’, never both at the same time. For example:
——Dr. James G. Campbell
—-James G. Campbell, Ph.D.
For those addressed as ‘the Honorable’ or ‘the Reverend‘ .… these are never used when presenting one’s own name either. So they should not appear on a book’s cover.
– Robert Hickey