Paperback Book Cover Design

Formatting. Every time I finish a book and start the process of formatting it for print, I have to run around and look at at a thousand different pages trying to remember everything I know about formatting. Every time, I end up looking up half a dozen new pages because I’ve lost or misplaced my bookmarks. Every time, I feel like pulling out my hair because it’s a lot to juggle while distilling it all down to the vital bits. This time I’m writing it all down as I go, so there will be a handy guide for next time and so other indie authors have a useful one stop shop for all their info.

First up: paperback book covers.  These are always a PITA to do because all of the POD have slightly different available trim sizes and each book requires a custom spine size, which effects the overall dimensions of your book cover. This particular ‘how to’ isn’t going to go into photomanipulation or fonts, as I’ve already discussed that at length in my “When to Pay, When Not to Pay” series. This time I’m going to cover finding the dimensions for your paperback book reliably, easily and without too many headaches.

Unlike with your ebook covers, which are a standard rectangle (usually 800×600 pixels) each paperback or hardcover book’s cover is unique thanks to things like ‘page bleed,’ ‘trim area,’ ‘live area,’ and the all important, all frustrating, spine width. Thankfully most of the POD sites offer some form of book cover ‘calculator’ that will estimate the overall size of the book cover for you based on the size of the book you want or they offer templates that are both completely useless and a big help.

Alright, first decide on which POD site you’re using (this time I wanted to use Lulu as I want a proper pocket book sized novel but as I went on I realized they were not cost effective so I’m back with Createspace though I hate them). Find their templates page and download a template for the inside of your book as well as the book cover.

Next: get a rough and dirty working estimate of your page count. Open the interior book template, locate the section where your text would go and highlight all of it. Open your book and hit ctrl+a then copy the entire text. Go back to the interior book template and paste the unformatted copy of your book into the highlighted section, in entirety. Wait for it to load, then look at the final page count of your novel. You might want to adjust fonts and font size now to get a slightly more accurate page count.

Go to the site’s book cover calculator, paste the page total in to the calculator where required. Now things get slightly different for Lulu vs Createspace. The following is a very rough and tumble summary of final fine tuning for your images. If anyone gets lost, please post a comment and I’ll amend the guide with additional information to answer you questions.

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“Toxic Ash” Is Finally FINISHED

I am finally done with the draft on “Toxic Ash.” Now it’s time for – everything else. Right now it feels like writing the thing was the easy part and that was damned hard. I haven’t sent out an email blast yet, since the publication date isn’t settled – lots of edits need to happen first and I can’t rush a single one of them.

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The “Making of” a book cover

It’s been a while. I’ve been busy swimming through the depression (I refuse to call a block) that comes with realizing what I thought was the last chapter needs to be deleted entirely and as many as three more added to my novel before I can safely call it done. I want “Toxic Ash” to be done. I need it to be done. I need to curl up with my book and a pot of tea and catch up with my characters properly, like old friends – but before that can happen: three. More. Chapters.

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Woosh! Updates!

Was anyone else startled at the new WordPress Dashboard? Just me? Oh… Ok, then…

Glorious news everybody! Not only is one of my all time favorite shows about to make a comeback for it’s final season (yay Futurama) but I’ve finally finished my book cover and I’m ready for the big reveal…

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When To Pay, When Not To Pay: Freeware Editing Software

In the last edition of When to Pay, When Not to, I went over some editing software and put it solidly in the “not worth it” column. I know, it’s still pretty tempting though isn’t it? Well to help save a few more bucks, I’ve compiled a list of free – and vital – programs that you can use to craft your novels in various ways.

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When To Pay, When Not To Pay: Best Editing Software

As I’ve been slogging through the muck of editing, marketing research (most of which I’ll end up not having the time to use) and formatting my latest novel, “In The Absence of Famine,” I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of programs out there offering to help writers, edit their work cheaply and effectively, cram their blog posts full of keywords, write whole blogs for them, etc etc. Time for another look at what is, and is not, worth spending your money on I think. Continue reading

Hitting The Ceiling

Well another NaNoWriMo is done and I got through it, by the skin of my feverish teeth, yet again. After that I needed a little time to recover (I’d managed to catch a cold on top of a recurring illness and then just when I thought I was done with them both – I got another) then I dove headfirst into editing, “In The Absence of Famine,” and between both books I’ve come to realize something.

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Humanly Possible

Sitting here on the other side of yet another massive data loss, I’m reminded that writing has always been something of a dangerous act. Back when all books were hand written or typed out page by page and anything from a playful morning wind to a mishap with the morning coffee could destroy entire manuscripts in a second, I’m sure entire novels were lost to such slips of the moment.

Nowadays we’re blessed with word processors, digital saves and cloud based data storage, hell scrivener will even make redundancy saves for you every few minutes if you like – just in case. Still all of that technology can be just as easily foiled as more arcane methods once could, like a random power outage right when you’ve finished a complicated bit of plotting and right before you hit the save key.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to do everything that is humanly possible to back up your work!

Updates might be spotty for a while as I spend the time piecing my heart back together, pulling myself out of the depths of darkest despair and just generally moping.

Book Review: William Strunk Jr. &E.B. White’s “The Elements of Style”

So I’ve realized that there’s a pretty big desire amongst my readers for more reviews of skill books. I’ve got quite a few of these books on the shelves, some I’ve read from cover to cover over and over again, some led me down a bad path and a very, very few have been both interesting and useful like The Art & Craft of Fiction: A Practitioner’s Manual.

I’m going to correct my mistake starting today with the (in)famous “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.

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