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Friday, August 23, 2019

Creating a paperback cover from the Kindle cover

Continuing from the previous post, today I'll look at creating your paperback cover from your Kindle cover.

As you work through the steps via your KDP dashboard, you'll reach the area where you create your cover. Unless you have experience creating wraparound covers, with the correct spine width, you'll want to choose the first option: Use Cover Creator to make your book cover. Then click the Launch Cover Creator button.

The cover has three parts - front, spine, and back. Click the Choose Layout icon and select a layout from the premade templates. These all affect how the back cover will look. If you want an author bio and photo, there are a few different options there. I have nothing but the blurb on my back cover, so I select the final option:




(The image space at lower right of the back cover is simply the barcode, which can't be removed.)

Now you can copy and paste your blurb text into the back cover, choose the font and size, and fix any wayward line breaks to make it look attractive.

For the front cover, I created my Kindle cover to include the text (title, author, etc.) as part of the image file so I had complete control over placement and font size and kerning. Because the font is part of the image file, there's no issue with embedding fonts. So I can simply upload that image... or not quite...

Depending on the dimensions of the paperback you've chosen, the Kindle image may not fit nicely into the paperback dimensions. My books are 5x8", i.e. a ratio of 5:8, which is the same as the Kindle dimensions of 1600x2560. Yet when I upload the Kindle cover, there are thin lines of background showing through at the top and bottom:



These areas are outside the trim lines, but in my experience POD technology requires pretty much zero trim allowance, so I'm not confident that background won't show in the final book. To fix this, I enlarge the image size slighly. Click on the image and increase the size in small increments until it fully covers the front cover area. I enlarged from 23.02 to 23.23:


Next, click on the Choose Colors icon, which gives you two choices - select a color scheme from the options given, or create a custom color scheme. If matching the spine and back to the cover image are important to you, you'll want the latter option.


I've yet to figure out what Primary Color refers to, perhaps because of the layout template I chose. Secondary Color changes the entire back, spine, and front color (the front color won't show, of course, if your image covers it entirely). I suggest matching this to a color from your cover image. Text Color changes your blurb and spine text - however, you can modify these individually by selecting each text box and using the controls that pop up.

Note that the third button in the above image is for choosing fonts. This is to change the entire font scheme. I just alter each text box individually by clicking on it, so I don't use this button.

Cover Creator calculates the spine width for you (based on page length) and adds the book title and author by default, so all you have to there is change the font and size if you want to. (I changed the author name to all-caps to make it different from the title while still using the same font for both.)

When you're happy with your cover, click Preview. There is a bug here that may misalign your spine text. It's disconcerting, but just ignore it as the final cover will be okay:


From here, either return to step 2 "Style and Edit" to make further changes, or click the Save & Submit button.

Click Launch Previewer to see what the cover and interior of the book will look like.


You can view the preview with or without guides (see checkbox at the bottom). As you can see, the spine text is now aligned perfectly. Over on the left of the screen, any problems are highlighted (see previous post for an explanation of the two problems I always get, as shown!)

This is your last chance to check for errors, so click through using the big navigation arrows that apppear when you hover over the book, and make sure everything looks good.

Thumbnail view is good to flick through the book quickly checking for accidental blank pages or near blank pages - that is, chapters that end with only a line or two on the page. I like to fix these by adjusting the leading of the last few paragraphs of the chapter, to either pull back those lines or add more so they're not so lonely on the page.



Click Exit Print Previewer if you want to make changes (i.e. upload a revised interior file or cover). Otherwise click Approve, and then Save and Continue to move to the final part of publishing your paperback (Pricing).




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