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Book Covers & Text Layout

Covers, Covers, Covers

How important is the cover of your book you ask? Well, in a word it is ENORMOUS to the success of your book. Think about it ... if you are well known author with hundreds of thousands of readers around the world ... who cares what your cover looks like, but if you are starting out and even a self publisher the cover of your book is paramount in your success.

If you cover says “pick me up and look at me” ... you have a winner, if your book cover doesn't convey that message you need to re-design it so that it does. It's that simple.

If you don't believe me, go to the nearest magazine rack and look at the covers ... what attracts you? ... why does it attract you? .... what colors does it have? .... what about the magazines that don't attract you what features are different about them?

These are all the questions you need to explore when deciding on a cover for your book. The cover needs to match the content of your book, but it needs to do so in a way that makes a potential reader want to pick it up and want to purchase your book. If you are not targeting your covers to match your audience you are missing a large part of a potentially huge market.

 Imagine walking into a book store with your book ... you walk over to the store owner, introduce yourself and offer them a copy of your book that you have in their hand. How that store owner reacts to taking that book from you is similar to how their customers are going to react ... and they know that. If the store owner is anxious to have a look at your book, you ... have ... a ... winner!

 Many authors don't worry too much about what their cover looks like because they are relying on the content of the book to do the sales for them. The only problem with this methodology is that unless they are already well know, their books will not get picked up and looked at and purchased unless they are a “compelling purchase” in the first place. If you are placing your books on Amazon it is even more important because now potential buyers are looking at pages and pages of book covers and the books that will get purchased are the ones with covers that say ... “buy me” ... it's that simple. So take the time and make your covers successful, it the first step in making your books successful.

copyright - Colin Knecht

Book Cover Layout: How to Video

Since we get this question all the time, we’ve made a detailed video reviewing just how authors should go about setting out their book cover layout.
Find out more: Book Cover Layout

Be Your Own Designer with Book Editing Software

Book editing softwareOne of the great advantages of our current age of technological advancement is that now, more than ever, more people have access to technologies such as the computer and consequently, the Internet. This makes the dissemination and attainment of information so much easier for many people today. It is the perfect combination of these two aspects that is the reason why even writing and publishing your own book is now made easier than ever before, especially with the help of various types of book editing software to increase the convenience of creating a book by leaps and bounds, or, should I say, by clicks and drags?

Choosing the Best Book Layout Templates

Book Kayout TemplatesAuthors have to be involved with each process of their book’s publication: from the content, to the editing, to the publishing and distribution. When it comes to a book’s final look prior to printing, it is the publisher and typesetter who determine the final layout based on a company’s templates. As an author, you should be familiar with the best book layout templates so that you can still play an active part on this part of your book’s journey. This knowledge could also be very helpful if you are just about to submit your manuscript to prospective publishers. A manuscript that already gives the impression of a published work can earn you higher points from editors and publishers.

Publishing houses would usually not be too strict about templates for submitted manuscripts, but they may always go for a certain look for their published volumes. Contests tend to have very strict rules about the templates for the entries that they will receive. If you have the liberty to come up with your own template for your publication, here are some things to keep in mind, from examples culled from the best book layout templates.

Book Cover Ideas

Book Cover ideasHow important do you think the cover of your book is? Based on the premise that you can't judge a book by it's cover, do you believe the cover even really matters? Well, the truth is that the cover of your book is immensely important. It is the final “selling point” in getting your book out of inventory and into the hands of a consumer and reader.

When we are consulting with authors as to what they would like for an image on the cover of their book, I am always astounded that almost none of them have give any thought to what the cover of their book should look like. In almost every case they have absolutely no idea in terms of colors that should be used or any inkling ofwhat the cover could look like.

Perhaps in some ways this is good. The real person to make decisions like this is an experienced graphic artist. Very often taking a more subjective approach to what the cover of a book should look like can make for a better cover.

Book Cover Design

book cover designThe final step in completing your book is to create your book cover. The cover of your book is a very important element of your entire book publishing project. Your book’s cover is the first thing your potential reader will see. I know we have all heard the “don’t judge a book by its cover”

If the content of your book is good and you are confident that readers are purchasing a quality piece of work, then the cover should also represent a quality piece of work.

The below steps will help you in this process:

Software to use for making book covers
The below software suits are industry standard when making book covers and will give you the bet results:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • CorelDRAW

Programs like MS Publisher can be used; but, they will not give you professional results and lack many features.
If your budget is limited when it comes to software, you can use a free open source software like GIMP to help make your cover.

Color Management and Images

To make sure that the printer can match the colors you see on your monitor, make sure you set the color mode of your cover file CMYK. This includes any images on your cover. If your printing you cover in Black & White, your cover should be set to grayscale.

You should set the resolution of your cover file to 300 dpi. Any lower will cause your cover to pixelate when printed.

Cover Bleed

When any image, color or any content on your cover needs to go to the edge of the cover you need to extend it past the trim (cover) edge. The printer will then trim the cover to correct size. The process insures that the element goes all the way to the cover edge without leaving any white border. This is known as “bleed”.
Most printers want a bleed of 1/8” to ¼”. So you need to take this into account when setting up your cover. Contact your printer to see what they require for bleed.


Unless your printing  a spineless, like a spiral bond book, you need to add a spine measurement to you cover.

The below measurements will give you a sizes for standard paper sizes, for you to calculate your spine size:

  • 60lb. Paper:  Number of pages x 0.00225 = spine width in inches
  • 70lb. Paper: Number of pages x 0.0025 = spine width in inches  
  • 80lb. Matte Paper: Number of pages x 0.0024 = spine width in inches
  • 80lb. Gloss Paper: Number of pages x 0.0021 = spine width in inches
  • 100lb. Matte Paper: Number of pages x 0.0032 = spine width in inches
  • 100lb. Gloss Paper: Number of pages x 0.0028 = spine width in inches

(click image for larger view)


For your convenience, we’ve provided some free templates you can download to set up your book. Download cover templates here.

Making a “print ready” PDF

When your cover is done, it’s time to make it ready for the printer. PDF’s are the standard when it comes to sending your file to the printers. Some printers many accept native files, but the only to guarantee that the printer will print exactly what you see on the monitor, is to send them your layout in PDF format.

Remember when making your PDF, that all of the cover elements must be made into one single file, that includes the front cover, back cover and spine . You should also embed all fonts.

Some programs like Adobe Photoshop will have the capabilities to create a PDF built into the program.
If you your layout program doesn’t can’t make a PDF, you can use Adobe Acrobat or Nitro PDF Professional.

ISBN & Barcodes

If you’re planning to sell your through a bookstore, you need a International Standard Book Number and a barcode (which goes on the back of your book ).

If you’re in the U.S.A., you can get a barcode from Bowker

In Canada you can an ISBN from Canadian ISBN Agency

In the UK, you can get your ISBN from: Nielsen

You can make a barcode for free at