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Writing Books/"Based on a True Story"


Can an author make this claim ("based on a true story") on the book cover, but still include some fiction in the book to make it more interesting?
Are there guidelines/requirements as to what percentage of the material in the book must indeed be TRUE?
Thank you.

Hello Jana:

Yes. I have seen this done many times. However, it is my understanding that the publisher is the one who chooses what goes on the cover. If I am wrong I hope someone will enlighten me.

I have never seen or heard of any guidelines or requirements as to how much must be true or untrue. Again, I believe that would be the publisher's perview. Nor have I ever seen in any book based on a true story, any indication of how much was true or untrue.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 1000+ questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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