Sunday, October 30, 2016

Steps for making a Print book cover in Createspace: Patience, more patience, chocolate, and wine! #mgtab

I used four sites, Pressbook (or a formatter to get your print pdf), Canva , Calibre (or any site that will let you open a pdf file) and Createspace.

1. Go to Pressbook or wherever you format your work and complete the pdf book file so you can export. (Make sure the Table of Content is in the front matter.)

Export book for a pdf print file – using file requirements – I used the 5 X 8 size.

2. Take that pdf file and check it in Caliber to make sure it looks good and to get the number of pages – as soon as you open it - top left.

3. Next go to Createspace and follow these directions:

Go to Books – top left, then click on Publish a Trade Paperback, then click on Cover, then go to submission requirements.

Taking the number of pages your book has – let’s say it has 230 pages, use this as the calculation: 

Spine: (calculation for white is 0.002252 and the calculation for cream is always 0.0025): I use cream so - number of pages - 230 x 0.0025 = 0.575”

Now, Createspace has a bleed of 0.125” for the book which needs to be used in the calculations also.

My book size is 5” wide X 8” High.

Therefore for the width:  0.125” + 5” + 0.575” + 5” + 0.125” = 10.825”

And the height: 0.125” + 8” + 0.125” = 8.25”

These are the amounts in inches that you will fill in Canva’s Custom Dimensions to get the template to build your full book cover. 

4. Go to Canva and use Custom Dimensions (top right). When it opens, go to the px down arrow and change pixels to in (inches). Design you full cover by adding the back page information, remembering to leave space for the ISBN#. Make sure to set up the spine that Canva has available with your name and the title.

When you go to Createspace, and if you use the cover Creator, choose the empty full cover pattern called “Palm”.

When you upload your cover into the Palm template, you can see if it will work for CS. Sometimes the bar code at bottom-left needs more space. Sometimes the writing of the title, etc, is too close to edge. Make adjustments on Canva and then Download a PDF Print file.

Now go to Createspace and choose the “Upload your own cover” option and choose the one you downloaded from Canva.

And hope you did everything right so that Createspace accepts the file J
Another option is to do as I did after CS did not accept the cover.
I chose instead, to upload my own file. The one that I had built on Canva and downloaded as a PDF Print file. I made sure the writing and so on didn’t interfere with the edges. I did this by first choosing a background (see left options) that matched the color of my covers. It framed the original cover and it was accepted. Then I ordered a proof copy and when it arrived, I could see for myself that the cover had worked out just fine.
I found this a lot easier than playing around with their template.
The reason I went through this nail-biting, hair-yanking, frustrating process is because I had four novellas, all with the same background and all needing to be made into paperbacks. But my cost - if I had gotten my cover artist to make them - would have been $320. Figuring out how many books it would take to earn back that investment made it a stupid way to go. Therefore, I either did it myself or gave up on the idea of Christmas presents for not only me, but some of my readers who love paperbacks and might be thinking they’d make great presents also.
Therefore… I bit the bullet, so to speak, dug in with some of my resources (good buddies who already knew how this worked) and I did what I had to do. Now I’m feeling quite proud of not only learning another new process, but realizing it wasn’t nearly as hard as it first appeared.

I'm thrilled (giddily so) to announce that... 
All four books are now available as paperbacks on Amazon.



  1. I love how you share your knowledge and experience(and sources). You're Santa's rival with all you give...and you do it throughout the year!

  2. That sounds like quite a complicated adventure you had there Mimi. I love the books. Am sure they will make great gifts.