Crash Course for making print book cover designs for CreateSpace

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00066]

If you are a budding self-publisher you’ve probably heard of CreateSpace. They do have cover creators in their book making process but it is nice to have something original that you have made yourself. This is a crash course which by it’s very nature can’t give you the ins and outs but does give you helpful tips and the principles for making a great design.

First you need to download a template from CreateSpace at:

https://www.createspace.com/Help/Book/Artwork.do This means all the margins, dimensions and bleeds are done for you.

To-do this you need to have a few basic details.

  • Interior Type: Black and White
  • Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.5 (the size of your book).
  • Number of pages: ? (how many pages will your book be once it is completed. Remember it is very important as your images will have to compensate for a reduced or increased spine size).
  • Paper Colour: Cream (thicker paper as well as more yellowy paper. Also note that some people with dyslexia read easier on cream paper.)

Note, if you put say 312 pages in, the file you actually download may say 320 pages. This is because of the bleed size. (They cut bits off the end of the printing process).

Once you have your template, open it in a graphics programme. This can be Gimp or Photoshop or some other flavour.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00066]

It is very important you rename the first layer, template. The next thing you have to do is create a new layer. Don’t do anything to the first/template layer. Just make sure that it is at the top of your layer list. This way you can toggle the view off and on so you can see how your design will fit on the printed paperback. I’ve given you an example of how I did it on the left.

Put your background pictures on the new layer.

Explanation of DPI. Your images MUST be 300 dpi for printed book covers. They also HAVE to be at least 8.5 INCHES high (if that is the size of your book).. I have been sent 300dpi images which are only a few centimeters big. The best way to explain why this is unsuitable is to imagine you are holding a piece of material about 2cm by 2cms with a picture on it. Now try to stretch that piece of material up to 8 inches. That picture is looking a bit stretched now isn’t it? It physically cannot be done without the picture suffering badly and when it is printed it will look awful.

Once you have put your background images in you can bring the template higher up the layers list so you can see which bits of your beautiful cover will be chopped off. Adjust as necessary. Remember to delete the template or move it below all the other layers when you have finished.

Put your text on and save. Voila you now have a cover.


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