- what is a cover template layout?
Sometimes authors will come to us with a fully-designed front cover. However, in order to turn this into a cover that can be printed it first needs to be worked into a full cover layout prepared ready for print.
creating the layout
We create the cover layout based on your printer guidelines for the trim size, binding type and page count of your title. For a three-piece perfect or casebound book this includes areas for the front, spine and back cover. For a five-piece dustjacket it includes the front, spine, back and flaps. We place the front cover design and then create the rest of the cover to complement this perfectly. We then add all the back cover text, logos and barcode. Finally we perform checks on colors, resolution and ink saturation to ensure everything looks great in print.
conceptual design work
This service is for the layout of an existing cover design ready for print. It does not include extensive Photoshop or creative design work. When providing imagery it is important to confirm you are licensed to use this for a book cover.
- what do I need for the back?
Many authors try to pack far too much onto the back cover and overcrowd it. Your back cover is there to set the scene and entice people to open and read more. Here are some of the things you might choose to include:
Keep it short. You want your words to stand out and not overwhelm the reader. This should be a 150 word blurb that describes the major points of your book. If written well, these words are the sales pitch that will hook a reader to buy your book. However, this is not a synopsis so don't write loads or give away the whole plot or big idea. If you're stuck for ideas, look at other covers.
This should just be a very short few lines written in the third person. If you want to include more detail you can always have a dedicated about the author page inside. For fiction, it is important to show who you are and how your background might influence the way you write. For nonfiction, this is your opportunity to list training and experience that qualify you as an expert on the topic.
If you choose to include this, it should just be a headshot. A nice clear, high-quality, close-up photo of your face - no other people or pets. If you have multiple contributors and more than one photo, do ensure they are similar in size and style.
Maybe a 1-2 line short, powerful statement about the book. This is typically written by a celebrity or another author in the same genre. Another nice visual alternative is for us to include the stars from a highly rated review, or a statement about a previous bestseller.
If you have your own publishing company you may want to include the name and website near the barcode. Even better, if you have a logo to include we will place this for you as well. If you are publishing under our label then we will include these details for you.
We will generate a scannable EAN-13 barcode from your ISBN and place this on your back cover as required. This cannot be edited or resized as it may become unscannable. If your cover is being produced for KDP then typically a white box will be placed instead, in line with their guidelines, ready for the printer to place the barcode themselves.
- should I include the book price?
This is entirely up to you. There is no requirement to include a price on the back cover. However, if you do then just keep in mind the following considerations:
You will need to display a price for your book for each currency you intend to sell it in. However, exchange rates fluctuate so in a years' time the equivalent price in another currency might be very different, but the price printed on your cover displays the same.
If you decide you want to display a price, this should be the RRP. We will include this as printed text either above or below the barcode depending on what works best for the design. Keep in mind this is just a recommended retail price, each retailer can still sell the book for any price they like.
not in the barcode
While it is possible to embed the book price as part of the scannable barcode, we would not recommend this as it fixes the book to be sold in one currency. For example, if the book is $14.99 then the code ends 51499 where the 5 indicates USD and the 1499 is the price. Instead, the end of the barcode should be set to the default 9000 which means there is no fixed price.
- can I add embossed or gold bits?
This all depends on your printer, not your design files. In order to achieve a cover with these premium effects, first the base cover is printed in ordinary CMYK process color. Things like gold foil, spot UV, embossing or flourescent inks are then added afterwards onto the base cover as a separate process.
Most POD printers do not offer these premium effects so we cannot add them to your files. However, if the printer you have chosen does offer premium effects then we can absolutely produce the additional alpha channel files they will need. Just tell us what effects you want and where you want them and for $240 USD each we will create each additional alpha channel file for you.
- why is my casebound off-centre?
There is a specific design consideration for casebound covers that does not apply to perfectbound or dustjackets. There are two options for a designer to choose from:
A casebound cover has an indented line on the left side which bends when you open the book. This is the gutter area where the spine board is connected to the front cover board. For some casebound covers the text and image may be centered visually across the front cover, ignoring the fact it bends.
centered on board
For others covers the design works better if it is centered on the front board only. Some customers may just prefer the look of this as well. Our designer will make a choice on a case-by-case basis as to what is most appropriate for your design. Whatever choice is made, the marketing jpg we produce for you will show the content centered.
- can I have text on the spine?
This depends on your printer and your page count. All printers will have a spine type safety requirement meaning they will not permit spine text on a book with fewer than a set number of pages as it is just too thin to print accurately.
Ingram Spark do not permit any spine text for page counts below 48.
KDP do not permit any spine text for page counts below 100.
However, even if your printer permits spine text for very few pages, we still might not recommend it. By the time you have allowed space around the lettering, as required by your printer, the type itself will be so tiny it may just look better without it.
- how do I print my file?
We will send you a final print-ready pdf file. If you are using our publishing or print services then you can simply keep this for your records as we will submit this file for printing on your behalf. If you are using another printer then you will need to submit the file for print to them directly.
Prior to payment we will send you a review pdf labelled 'WzWReview-Filename' that will be set to display on your screen in double-page spreads to resemble the appearance of a book with a review watermark across the pages. Once happy, you make final payment and we return your print-ready file. Your final file will be labelled 'WzW-Filename'. It will display as single pages, without the watermark and may include a bleed area with crop, bleed or trim marks as required by your chosen printer. This is the file you need to submit your printer.
If you are using Amazon KDP or Ingram Spark for printing then you will do the file upload in your own account. We cannot do this for you but we do have a few tips to keep in mind. Be sure to upload the correct file for printing, that means the 'final' file we sent you and not an earlier review file. Next be careful to select choices for color, paper, binding and trim size exactly as agreed in your quotation as your file was prepared to this exact specification. If images in your book go to the edge of the pages then for KDP you must also select the option that the file includes bleed. Should your file show any errors in the previewer, do just check the above items have all been entered correctly before you contact us with details and include a screenshot of the issue.
Once your files have been uploaded, you must get a printed proof before placing any batch orders. Books look different in print from the way they appear on screen so this is your opportunity to flick through the pages and appreciate the final product before committing it to distribution or to a large print run.
- will it look different in print?
A common notion is that if you can get an image to look exactly as you want it on screen, it will look like that in print. On one level this is fair enough, after all how are you going to edit your image, if not by looking at your screen.
However, screens and prints are two entirely different technologies.Screens emit light, prints just reflect it. Screens also have a much wider range of brightness than paper prints. And most notably, screens display in RGB (red, green, blue) color, printing is done in CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, key/black) inks.
Our designers will look to calibrate screens and re-balance colors as best as possible. However, the RGB color spectrum is simply larger than the CMYK spectrum. That means there are certain RGB screen colors that cannot be completely reproduced on paper with CMYK inks and will instead look a little dulled. In many cases the difference is not noticeable other than for very bright colors like fluorescent orange or sky blue.
In summary, reviewing your cover on-screen is just an intermediate stage in creating your printed cover. You must always review a proof of your cover design, printed on the same machines and with the paper finish you have selected for any future copies. Only by reviewing this proof can you really appreciate what the colors on your finished cover will look like.
- what if I need changes?
If when designing your book, we get every aspect of the design perfect for you first time, then that's super. But we don't expect that. Receiving your feedback and making adjustments is all part of the design process so changes may be requested at any stage.
Once your design has been set onto the final cover template, with the right spine width, we will return it as a review file. Any further changes are then subject to a $240 USD minimum fee.
Once you have made payment we return your final print-ready file. After this point, changes are much more expensive. Even the smallest change requires a design update plus printer re-submission which are likely upwards of $240 USD. So take the time to check your review file carefully your avoid this.
- what are the pdf markings?
When you receive a book file from us there may sometimes be settings, features or marks you don't recognise. Whether or not your file shows these just depends on what your printer guidelines specify. This is a summary of things you might see:
If you notice that your final book pages are fractionally larger than the trim size of your book, then your book has bleed. Bleed is the printing of images or colors that go beyond the edge of where the sheet will be trimmed. It gives the printer a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper, and design inconsistencies.
Some printers specify that certain little black markings are required on a file. These help them to align and calibrate pages on their machines for manufacture. Markings include bleed marks, crop marks, trim marks and registration marks. These may appear as little lines, cross hairs or color bars. They will be trimmed off as part of the book making process and will not appear on your printed pages.
When reviewing your PDF file you may notice some very feint white lines. These “hairlines” are the result of the transparency flatteners used to create PDFs, and sometimes appear around the edges of text and images boxes. The line will not print when your book is produced and are only visible on your computer screen at certain zoom settings.
If your book has a background on any of the pages you may notice a think white strip on the binding edge of your file. This is required by the printer because binding glue does not adhere to paper when the latter is covered in ink.
This is the first recto (right-hand) page you’ll see when you open your book. It simply displays the name of the book, with no byline and no subtitle. Half title pages have been included in books for centuries and they have the advantage of being the first page attached to the cover as it opens, rather than that being the title page.
Your file may include blank pages. Empty left-handed pages are often used to force key content like a new chapter, to start on a right-handed page. POD books must also have an entirely blank final page where the printer will include their barcode and details.
- can I have source files?
We are happy to share source files with customers upon request. For a $48 USD admin fee one of our designers will prepare, package and upload your files so you can save these on file should you wish to make changes in the future. However, unless you have plenty of experience, we would strongly recommend you do not attempt to edit these files yourself for a number of reasons:
Our team is extremely experienced with a wide range of design software packages and will select the best software for each job. In the main, book interiors are created in Adobe InDesign with any graphics work done in Photoshop or Illustrator. In order to open and edit your files you would need to have purchased all the latest software and be familiar with using it.
In order for your source file to appear correctly, you must also have the right fonts installed. The license for a professional typesetting font means we can only embed it into your final-form PDF, we cannot include the font in your source files. We are happy to provide details on how to purchase these licenses for yourself but please keep in mind that a full professional font family can be expensive.
If your PDF includes licensed imagery from our stock libraries, we cannot include these with your source files. Under the terms of the license, we have access to use a huge number of images but they may only be embedded into final-form material. The original image files themselves cannot be sent as this is considered re-sale.
After any updates, your final files will need to be exported to PDF using Acrobat Professional. This means applying all the correct pdf distiller profile for things like colorspace, transparency and font embedding as well as including any required print marks for bleed, crop marks and spreads set as required. If any of these are set incorrectly then the printer is likely to reject your files.
- can I get a marketing image?
In addition to your cover pdf, you may want a high resolution jpg of your front cover. This can be used for marketing on your website or uploaded to retailers to accompany your sales listing. We include this marketing image as default for every cover we design.
In addition we have a service to create a 3D version of your cover. This looks more eye-catching and professional compared to a flat, rectangular 2D front image. It can be great to use on your website, social media or in printed marketing material.
- what are your terms?
We do not have a written contract for you to sign. Instead we ask that you have read this know what you're buying section and accept our general terms and conditions which we have tried to make short and readable.