Publishing 101: Sizing up the Paperback Cover

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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When I talked about my preproduction schedule on February 12th in the Publishing 101: Production Schedule post, I noted the dimensions I’d chosen for Fowl Summer Nights were 5.5 inches wide x 8.5 inches tall. When I discussed designing a cover in Publishing 101: Cover Design I mentioned the sample covers were exactly 11 x 8.5 but would not remain that size. They were destined to be resized to accommodate pages.

Here are the steps I took to resize the cover.

Step One: Page Count

The page count used to calculate the width and height of a cover is the actual page count. In MS Word this number appears in the bottom left-hand corner of the document screen. Fowl Summer Nights contained 113 pages.

The page count I did NOT use is the page numbers inserted into the manuscript. For Fowl Summer Nights the page count was 104, which meant title page, copyright information, dedication, table of contents and other material took up 9 pages.

Step Two: Thickness of Paper

The cream coloured paper at CreateSpace is thicker than the white paper. If you choose white paper, the thickness is 0.002252 inches.

Fowl Summer Nights was printed on cream coloured paper. The thickness I inserted into the equation was 0.0025 inches.

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Publishing 101: Cover Design

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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Writers who self-publish have several options for cover design. They can

  • hire someone to design it for them
  • purchase a premade cover
  • use a CreateSpace template
  • design it themselves

I’ll go through three of these four steps quickly and then focus on what I do.

Hire Someone to Design a Book Cover

A quick google search will turn up a long list of graphic designers who will create amazing covers for your book. CreateSpace also offers the service. You can have a cover created specifically for your paperback and one for your eBook. Prices start at around $50 and go up quickly from there. Remember: quality often matches the dollar value.

Elance is a well-used site where anyone can post a job and receive bids for it. The eLance system protects buyers and sellers to certain degree. Like all business, this is a business and it’s your job to do the homework to see you get the best value for your buck. I know two authors who found excellent illustrators on eLance.

Purchase a Premade Cover

I’ve seen several sites around that showcase covers on their pages. All you have to do is submit the title, author name and whatever other text you want on the cover and they insert it for you. Bang! Your cover is complete.

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Which Cover Works Best?

Things aren’t always what they seem to be in a small town in the Land of Ath-o’Lea. Magic creeps in the shadows, waiting to pounce…

Corporal Bronwyn Darrow vows he’ll never fall victim to love again after the woman he adored betrays him. He directs his energies to rising in the ranks of Aruam Castle, aspiring to one day command as captain of the guards. Although he treasures his home and family, he is blinded both by his desire to succeed and a mysterious magic lurking in the shadows of the ancient castle.

Alaura of Niamh, a half-breed enchantress with a deadly past, takes refuge in Bronwyn’s hometown. When the two meet, the spell which binds them is stronger than their fears of falling in love. As Alaura’s secrets threaten to separate them forever, outside forces attempt to shatter the security of Aruam Castle and eliminate Bronwyn. When an orphan weaves their lives together, they embark on a journey destined to either destroy or deliver them to the passion living in their hearts.

Above is the back cover blurb I’m working on for Shadows in the Stone. Below are several book covers I designed this week. Which grabs your attention the most? Do you like one image but prefer the font of another cover? Please, share your thoughts.

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