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Full Book Cover Parts

This is what a cover for a print book looks like.  

An issue that seems to be cropping up, repeatedly these days, is the incident of self-publishers who decide to do a print version of the book and don't realize that they need a cover for that print book that is different than the eBook cover. An eBook cover is one thing--it's the front.  The glamorous part, right?  The pretty part. The part where you get to sit and think about how great it's going to look. The images, the ideas, the fonts...all that great stuff. Right?

But here's the thing.  There's no mystical cover maker, for a print book, where you just pop-in your front cover, and VOILA!, your print cover is magically made.  You, Publisher, are the person responsible for ensuring that the cover--called a wraparound--gets made.  

That doesn't mean that you can present a book producer, or Createspace or IngramSpark, etc., with three pieces of a cover, and think that they're going to make the cover for you.  They won't.  Nor will anyone else.  

I've lost track of the number of times we've had a client get to what we think is the end of their time with us--we've given them their eBooks and their print interior--and suddenly, an email arrives, telling us that their "cover" is being rejected at Kindle Print Beta or Createspace or some other place, because the cover that they're trying to upload is their eBook cover.  Or, they put a cover together, somehow, and it's completely the wrong size or shape or some other problem.  And there have been any number of times that this same publisher scheduled a book launch, or a pre-sale, or some other promotional event--and there's no time for the cover to be made.  

Don't let this be you.  If you're going to do a print book, you have to have a wraparound cover. This is a cover with a front, back and spine--all in a single piece.  Not in multiple pieces.  (That question seems to come up a lot!)  What are the parts that make up a wraparound cover?  

Front, back and spine, all in a single piece, in PDF format, and--this is important--with BLEED. I know, "bleed" is confusing, but what that means is that there's a small extra margin for error, all around the outer edges of the image or PDF. This allows the printer and trimmer to have some forgiveness, when the covers are printed and trimmed, for addition (binding and gluing) onto the paperback.  

 Really, that's all there is to it--the three parts that you're already used to looking at--the front, rear, and spine of a printed book--all in a single piece.  Although I used colored boxes to segregate the parts, in this sample image, the wraparound cover is always given to the printer or POD company in a single PDF file--all three pieces merged seamlessly.  You can see examples without my boxes drawn on them in the example gallery below.  

 I borrowed a few mocked-up covers from our friend, Derek Murphy, of Creativindie.com and its sister site, DIYBookCovers.com, (which we highly recommend for publishers on a tight budget!) for the purposes of demonstrating the difference. It's not really complex, but do you want to be the author caught out, with a ready-to-go print interior and an eBook cover, only?  No, of course not.  So, what's the difference?

Examples below--click any thumbnail to bring up the full image. 

So:  now you know what to expect.  If you've only done an eBook before this moment in time, and you've decided to take that leap of faith, into print, make sure that you invest the time needed to figure out what you're going to do, about getting a full-sized wraparound cover for your print edition.  

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