Creating A Cover for Createspace Books

October 13, 2013 in Articles, Formatting Paperback Books

Book CoverThere are two ways in which you can create a book cover for a Createspace book. You can either use the built in templates that Createspace provide or you can design your own using a photo-editing package like Photoshop or a desktop publishing program such as PagePlus.

There are free versions of photo-editing software programs available as well, so if you are serious about publishing lots of books, it might be worth your while learning how to use a program so that you can create your own covers. Bear in mind that if you are thinking of doing that, then you will need to develop a comprehensive understanding of your selected program so that you can produce a professional looking cover. Nothing will turn a potential buyer off more quickly than a poorly designed or lackluster cover, so if you don’t think you can develop the necessary skills, then do yourself a favour and hire a professional designer.

CreateSpace Online Cover Builder

Personally I have looked through the templates provided by Createspace and didn’t find them to be particularly inspiring, you may think otherwise and be perfectly happy to use one of them. They can be highly customised using your own images or selecting images from the Createspace library, plus colours and font can be changed to get a reasonably unique version of your book cover with a good chance that no one else has used the same combination.

If you want to learn how to use the online builder then the best way to find out how is to download and watch this Createspace tutorial.

Designing a Cover Using Your Own Software Program

If you do decide to design your own cover or employ the services of a professional designer, then you can elect from inside Createspace to upload a fully finished PDF file of your cover. To help ensure you have got the PDF properly formatted, Createspace allow you to download a design template for your chosen trim size and the number of pages your book has.  This is what the template looks like in a Photoshop screen.

Createspace Cover Design

It is sort of self explanatory but basically you overlay your design on top of the outline, just make sure that you do not intrude with text on the yellow box area where the bar code space has been allocated.  Other than that you have the front cover on the right, the back cover on the left and the spine area in the middle. You can apply your creative juices to these areas in whatever way you want and now you have an unlimited choice of images, fonts, colours or artistic designs from which to choose or create a really compelling cover image that will grab the attention of potential buyers.

Once the design is completed to your satisfaction, the image is flattened and saved as a PDF file ready to upload to Createspace. Just a couple of tips – make sure the image is a minimum of 300DPI resolution (required for print quality) and leave the white space around the outline intact so the cover can be cropped to the right size during production.

Of course you don’t have to use the template as the base for the design if you don’t want to, if you know what you are doing you can just create the file from scratch. I tend to use the template personally because you then know that with the size you have chosen and the number of pages the book has that everything will work without the need to calculate the book thickness. It just makes things much simpler to do.

Look How Quickly a Cover Design Can be Created

This isn’t strictly relevant to a Createspace book cover, but it is interesting just how quickly and easily a book cover can be created once the images you want to use have been selected.

So if you have an artistic vent and like the idea of designing your own cover, then you can see that just by learning some basic skills, you could easily start to create some really nice unique and original covers. YouTube is a great resource for finding tutorials on almost any program, but I would suggest that you chose one program and then stick to it.  GIMP is one of the better free programs, but my recommendation is Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 (PC/Mac).

Never use someone elses images without full permission however, even if that means you have to go and buy some images or even better take your own photographs.

Where You Can Purchase Images for a Book Cover

If you are promoting your books through blogging, you may be interested in this free resource for blogging images PhotoPin. But always remember to read the terms and conditions for using 3rd party images and make sure you adhere to them.

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photo credit: Jim Barker via photopin cc