Tips & Tutorials

Need some tips and tricks?  Insider hints?  Want to know how to wrangle Amazon's Look Inside the Book?  Look no further. Chances are, we've already discussed it here. We also happily welcome suggestions for articles and how-tos, so don't be shy.  


 

Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Chameleon...

It Goes Around, It Goes Aroouuuunnnnd the book...

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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The Createspace Cover Template Creator

How To Create Your Print Book Cover For Createspace

nce your print book is in production with us for layout, it's time to think about the creation of your full cover--front, back, and spine. You can't just take three pieces to Createspace and hope that they'll get your cover right. Instead, you or your cover designer will go here: Createspace Cover Template Maker.

You or s/he will input your page count and your paper type. Obviously, if you have just started your print layout, you probably won't have a number for your total page count yet. If not, wait for that figure, from your designer, and then input it into the Template maker. You'll get back a PDF template, all in one piece.

Createspace Cover Creator Print

As you can see from the image, it's hardly difficult.  You will already know your trim size, and you've probably already thought about what paper you want.  (Note:  if you have images of any kind, it is usually dramatically better to choose WHITE, rather than CREAM.  Particularly if you have B&W images!  Just a handy tidbit of information for you.) 

Your cover designer will then create your final print book cover, marrying the front, back and spine portions of her design. She'll give that back to you in PDF form. When you are ready to publish your book, you'll upload the PDF of the interior and the PDF of the exterior. Createspace then binds the cover to the interior when making your book--and you're off and running.

Note: experienced authors will do many of the Createspace steps in the Dashboard before they have their final PDF or PDFs. We heartily endorse that idea, both for your print book and your eBook. Taking care of the simple, but important, things while you are in production makes sense. Oftentimes, new authors get so excited over a book that they get too rushed to do the Dashboard items (like categories, keywords, the description/blurbs) correctly, or with the care that will help you get your book sold.

Good luck!

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13 Questions You'll Ask At the KDP, And The Answers

13 Things You'll Ask at Amazon's KDP Program, Part 1

Here at Booknook.Biz, we've been doing this for quite a while now.  One thing I can't help but notice is that the same questions get asked at the KDP Publisher's forums, over and over again.  To help prospective publishers, I'm going to answer them here.

Do I have to register my copyright before I publish?  

No, you don't.  In the United States of America, your book is copyrighted as soon as you've completed writing it.  If your book is stolen/pirated, however, you can't file suit until the copyright is registered, which you can do with $35 and the link to ECO, the Electronic Copyright Office. Here's the link to ECO and here's a link to the Tutorial. 

Does enrolling in KDP mean I can't sell my books anywhere else?

 No, it doesn't.  If you enter your book in the KDP, you can sell it any place you'd like (Barnes & Noble, iBooks, KoboBoks, etc.).  The KDP contract does stipulate that you can't sell your eBook at a lower price anywhere else.  If Amazon discovers that you are selling your book for less somewhere else, they'll lower the price of your book (price-match) for the duration that the book is lower-priced elsewhere.  If you join KDP Select, however, then, yes--you are required to give exclusivity for 90 days in return for the features of the KDP Select Program. These features include the ability to make your book free for any five days out of the 90, and capacity to join other marketing programs. 

(Con't.)

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An Example of Amazon Look Inside The Book Gone Wrong

How Do I Fix The Look Inside the Book on Amazon?

Is Your Look Inside the Book a Wreck?

One of the questions that I see posted, all the time, at the Amazon KDP Forums is this one--some variant on, "my Look Inside is a mess!," or, "How do I fix the Look Inside, because all my nice page breaks are gone!"

Here's the bottom line:  mostly, you can't.  

I know, I know--now, you're horrified.  But here's the thing:  while an eBook like a Kindle or an ePUB is made out of HTML, so are the Amazon webpages.  The problem is, it's not the same kind of HTML.  While the HTML itself is the same, HTML is controlled by something else, called "stylesheets."  That's how companies like ours make things like fonts work--by using Stylesheets.  In HTML, they are called "CSS." (Cascading Style Sheets).  They're called cascading because a more important style will override a less important style, to put it simply.  Or, a more detailed style will override a less detailed style.  

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An eBook made from a Commercial Template

Can You Sucessfully Use eBook Templates?

Once upon a time, (okay, about two months ago or so)  in a fit of curiosity, I decided to buy one of those advertised templates—you know the ones—make your ebook from WORD!  Why?  Because we get a lot of inquiries here.  In fact, we receive about 300 emails a day, believe it or not.  We get people asking why our services are “better” or different than what they can do themselves. A lot of what we do is invisible to the human eye.  This makes it hard to answer those types of questions without sounding self-serving. 

As in, “well, gosh, we export and clean up the HTML, so that all the bad code that you can’t see with the naked eye doesn’t make your book go wonky when it’s opened on a Kindle.” This is a difficult sell, to be honest.  It’s the same difficult sell that I run into when I try to explain that Smashwords does not do the same thing that we do.  But, when you look at a sausage, do you know what’s inside it? Can you tell that one sausage-maker lovingly crafted his sausage from the BEST stuff, while the other used what remained on the floor after the first guy finished?  No, you can’t.  Not unless you already do this for a living, and if you did, we wouldn't be having this conversation--would we?

An eBook-making Test:  Show, Not Tell.

In that vein, I decided to test what we do against those "DIY Word" templates that you can buy all over the Internet.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?  Perhaps, I thought, if I simply used one of those commercial templates, I could show--not tell--people the difference.  I made sure that I bought a well-written template, from one of the most reputable and best-known websites on the topic of bookmaking.  For both ebooks and print books.  Below, see the original, unstyled Word file.  (click ANY image to enlarge/lightbox).  

Read on to see my test.

 

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