Tag Archives: cover design

Demystifying Book Cover Formatting

Self-publishing a book can seem a daunting task, but the process of book cover fornattubg is really quite simple once you know how. With the right tools and this primer, you will be formatting professional-looking book covers in no time.

  1. Calculate dimensions for your book cover template.

    Once your book interior is formatted and you know the final page count, go to the KDP Cover Calculator and complete the form there. Fill in the binding, interior, and paper types according to your preference, the page-turn direction, preferred measurement units, interior trim size, and page count, and click “Calculate Dimensions.”

    cover formatting template calculator

  2. Download formatted book cover template.

    You should see something like this once the dimensions have been calculated.

    Next, click “Download Template.” This will download a zipped folder to your computer containing EPS and PDF documents.

  3. Open your book cover template.

    Open the template PDF in Photoshop. As you create your cover, make sure that nothing important will appear in the areas marked in pink. The pink border is the “bleed,” and it will be cut away in the production process, The pink lines in the middle will be on the crease to form the spine. The yellow area is where the bar code and ISBN will be placed, so avoid this area as well.

    cover template in Photoshop

    See KDP’s page on trim size, bleed, and margins.

  4. Add guidelines to your book cover template.

    Add guidelines to your template marking all no-go zones. This will help you place your design elements later on.

    cover template in Photoshop with guidelines

  5. Create your book cover design.

    Place your graphic design elements on the template, taking care to ensure that nothing important will be cut off from the edges of your cover, hidden by the bar code, or on the fold of the spine.

    graphic elements over cover template

  6. Add text to your book cover template.

    Add your text. Be sure to centre the text on the front and back cover images. In the image below, make note of where the text is placed in relation to the elements marked on the original template:

    finished cover template fully formatted

  7. Convert your book cover to PDF.

    When you are happy with the layout, go to “File,” click “Save a Copy,” and save as a PDF to upload to KDP. At this point, you will be asked to select the settings. On the Standard menu, I always choose PDF/X-1a:2003, although PDF/X-1a-2001 should also work.

    Save Adobe PDF standards for cover formatting

    Click “Save PDF.”

Congratulations! You have just formatted your paperback cover, ready to upload to KDP!

If you are still unsure about creating your own cover, contact EMSA Publishing to create your cover and upload it for you.