Tied CreateSpace Cover L ayout

Layout of the cover

It’s been a busy week of finalizing details for the print-on-demand version of my book. Today, I got to the cover. Finally.

The above image shows the cover as I laid it out in Adobe Illustrator (including adding the tag line), but CreateSpace did a lot of the heavy lifting for me regarding measurements. The specifications are easy to follow and they supplied me with a cover template generator, which included reserved areas in pink and yellow. The pink areas allow for full bleed (color that goes right to the edge of the paper) and indicate areas that are out of bounds for “live” text elements, unless the text requires full-bleed. The dotted lines are trim lines or fold lines (for the spine). The yellow rectangle is reserved for the book’s barcode. When I followed the visual template, it was hard to make a mistake. What I see is what I get.

The nice thing about having CreateSpace provide me with a reference template is I knew exactly how big my spine was going to be. I chose cream paper with a final trim size of 5″x8″. For a book with 314 pages, it calculated my spine to be 0.79 inches and the template generator spat out both a .PNG and a .PDF file.

For the next step, I used the reference template to produce the rest of my cover. I chose Adobe Illustrator, but you could also do the work in Adobe Photoshop or any other image editing software.

CreateSpace will generate the ISBN EAN-13 barcode for you if you do not have software to do that yourself. However, there are also online options available, such as Tec-IT and Small Press Barcode if you feel inclined to do it yourself. As you can see, I like to get my hands dirty. The type of barcode required is called an EAN-13. I was a little sneaky about it and used my ancient copy of CorelDraw 7 (circa 1996), which has a built-in barcode generator (hear that Adobe?).

The last step, the most important step, is to turn off the reference template before creating the final cover .PDF file. In other words, I made it invisible so only my cover would show. If I had left it on, the reference template would have been printed as well, and that would be very ugly indeed.

If you are interested in the early beginnings of the cover, I’ve written about that too.

One more look through and I’ll be ready to upload it to CreateSpace, and that’s a post for another day.

Since 1992, Lee has worked within the visual and dramatic arts landscape as a graphic designer, illustrator, visual effects artist, screenwriter and author.

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