|My proof copy of Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin|
A question came up recently in a Facebook group about submitting a cover to CreateSpace in the correct proportions. I, myself, ran into a few minor glitches during the process, so I thought I’d share the solutions (and tips) I discovered in case others are similarly perplexed.
1. Use the CreateSpace Template
It might be confusing at first, because it looks like this:
|CreateSpace cover templates are calculated and generated according to your specifications|
...but that extraneous white space is actually useful for having somewhere to move stuff while you’re working on various aspects of your cover.
The biggest benefit of the template is that the spine width is calculated perfectly for you based on the number of pages in your interior file. Which leads me to tip 2:
2. Make sure your interior file is finalised before you begin working on your cover. Or, at the very least, don’t change the page count.
3. Work directly on the CreateSpace template in your graphics program. Ideally you want a graphics program that allows you to create layers, but, if not, just ensure that you completely overlay the template with your image(s) and/or blocks of colour.
4. Extend the trim lines CreateSpace gives you so that you can see where they are once you’ve begun overlaying the template. If you’re using a program that allows layering, draw the trim lines directly over the background (i.e., the same layer as the template). You will then be able to turn this layer off and the extended trim lines won’t be printed. If your graphics program doesn’t do layers, you can block over the lines with a solid white box, or simply crop the image to the borders of the book cover.
|I drew rough boxes following the trimlines. It's not very neat, but it did the job.|
5. Generate a new layer and cover the barcode area with a white box. Keep this layer on top of all other layers so you will always know which section to keep clear for the barcode. The barcode fits over exactly, so you may as well keep it white, unless you’re creating your own coloured barcode.
6. For some reason, CreateSpace only accepts PDFs for the book cover. If you’re using a PDF printer, you may need to input the dimensions of the document page, or it defaults to either A4 or US Letter, which will be the wrong size. The dimensions of the CreateSpace template are 19 inches by 13 inches.
7. You don’t need to crop the image. You also don’t need to “centre the image vertically and horizontally”, which is the instruction given by CreateSpace. Advice on the CreateSpace forum differs and suggests simply uploading the file as is (centred horizontally, but sitting at the bottom of the 19x13 page). This is the advice I followed and my file was accepted without issue. And, as you can see above, my proof copy is in good proportion.
|I turned the background layer off, which rendered it transparent (shown here in grey and white blocks)|
Hopefully these tips help to clarify a few niggles with submitting a DIY cover to CreateSpace. Feel free to add your own tips, discoveries, questions, or hair-tearing moments in the comments.
|Elle Carter Neal is the author of Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin, which is available on Kindle and will soon be published in print through CreateSpace. She is based in Melbourne, Australia. To keep in the loop about “Maddie”, join her mailing list here, or find her at ElleCarterNeal.com or HearWriteNow.com|