Book Covers for CreateSpace

The big difference between an eBook cover and a print cover is that the eBook cover is just the front of the book while the print cover is one big image that wraps around the book.  It is the back, spine and front of the book all in one image.  This guide covers how to create the three elements needed for a print cover.

You probably already have an image from your eBook.  Before using it as part of your CreateSpace cover, be sure to verify that you have the rights to the art work.  If you have created the cover image yourself this probably won’t be a problem, but if you are working with a cover artist there may be different prices and licensing agreements for print and eBook covers.

If you don’t have a cover image, then CreateSpace provides an online tool for creating a cover that will appear in your member dashboard when you upload your book’s PDF.  You can use that and ignore the rest of this guide.

To make the print cover you need to know the size of your book. The trim size will tell you how big the front and back covers should be, but to figure out the size of the spine you need to know how many pages are in the book and how thick each page is. A cover image for a 200 page book is not the same size as the cover image of a 100 page book.  The  type of paper used for the pages and the type of cover will also make a difference.

Once you upload the PDF of your book to CreateSpace, you’ll select your page and cover type, then you’ll have the numbers to calculate the size of your cover image. Fortunately you don’t have to do the math yourself. You can use the Artwork & Templates tool at .do to do the work for you. The page even has a great set of instructions right next to the form. When it is done you’ll have a zip file that contains a pdf and a png for your cover.

cover_template_thumbnail Open the png file in any art program (like GIMP), and copy your  cover image into the area set aside for the front cover.

I didn’t have an image for the back of the cover, so I filled that area with black and added the book blurb.  Like the front cover, I did this as a separate image that I copied on top of the template png. The template shows where the ISBN bar code will appear. That will overwrite whatever is in your image, so don’t put anything important in that spot.

The third image I added was the spine. Again, I just went with a black background and added the book’s title and author’s name.  There was a little space left that I decided to fill with a scaled image from the cover.

Finished_Cover_SmallHere is the end result. This took less than an hour to do, and I started with only the image for the front page.   If I was a little more artistic, I could have tried to place an image on the back page or used a larger image that spanned the entire cover.  I followed the template and used three images because that approach made sense with what I had on hand, and I was pretty sure I’d mess that spine up if I tried doing it as a single image.

Feel free to experiment.  CreateSpace will notify you if the image has any major problems. You will need to print a proof copy to verify that everything came out the way you wanted.