Adobe Photoshop is the most popular offline photo editing tool used to create stunning designs. Professional Book Cover designs really speak a lot about the content of a book. It attracts a potential buyer's attention even before the buyer reads your book's description. There are many awesome software that allow help you to easily design your book cover be it eBook, paperback or print book for publishing in any book publishing platform like amazon and CreateSpace. Some of these software allow you design offline like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign which work hand in hand with Adobe Illustrator while some are online tools like Canva, Adobe Spark, Cover Design Studio, etc. Adobe Photoshop is also used to edit pictures, social media pictures, design ad banners, page logo, etc.
In this tutorial article, I will give you a step by step guide on how to design professional eBook and hard cover for your books especially for publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and CreateSpace. I will also give you a list of some recommended online graphic tools that can help you design awesome and professional book covers. You must have a basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop interface or workspace before you can follow up in this tutorial article. I already explained the basic concepts of Adobe Photoshop in my previous article, especially how to manipulate layers and texts. I advise you to study it before you continue with this tutorial article. I also gave three free working download links to cracked versions of Adobe Photoshop CS6 and CC.
Print Book Cover Versus eBook Cover Design
The design pattern for Print book or Paperback covers are slightly different from that of eBook covers. eBook covers design is simpler in the sense that it requires fewer steps because it is only made up of just the front design. It has no back or spine. The basic parts of an eBook cover include the Title, Sub title (optional), Images (optional), Author name, etc.
Below is a labelled screenshot of a finished eBook cover design sample of one of my amazon books in Adobe Photoshop CS6.
Print book and Paperback covers resemble an opened book which is made up of the front, spine and the back. The design steps are longer than that of an ecover design. The dimension is more than twice that of an ecover of the same size. The parts of a print book or paperback cover include all the parts of an eBook plus the book blurb which is the little description about a book and the author located at the back of the cover, the barcode/ ISBN area where you place your book’s barcode and ISBN.
For Amazon paperback and CreateSpace print book design, you only have to create a space for the bar code and ISBN at the back part of the cover design because they offer free ISBNs for their books which cannot be used in any other online book platform. But if you want to sell the print book in other platforms, then you have to buy an ISBN for your book.
Below is a labelled screenshot of a finished print book design sample of one the paperback version of the same book in Adobe Photoshop.
So now that you have seen the difference between an eBook cover and that of a Print book, let me now walk you through the design steps of each of them.
How to Setup and Design an eBook Cover in Adobe Photoshop
Before you start designing an eBook cover, ensure that you have done a keyword research and have concluded on the keyword phrases to use for your book. If you wish to add an image to your book design, search for a relevant image and download it on your computer and save it on a location where you can easily locate it. Also conclude on the background colour and font styles and colours to use. This will help to increase your design speed and accuracy.
You don’t need a template for an eBook. You have to set it up from scratch in Photoshop by creating a new document.
To Design and Setup Your ecover in Photoshop:
1. Open the Photoshop application on your computer. Then press Ctrl + N (for Mac users, press Command + N). This prompts the New document dialog box.
2. Type in values for the width and height for your eBook cover. Amazon recommends a height to width ratio of 1.6; that is a ratio of 8:5. I prefer to use 2700 pixels for my ebook’s height and a width of 1800 pixels; that is a width to height ratio of 3:2 (that is 1.5) which is a bit narrower.
3. Set the Resolution to 72 pixel/inch. Set the Colour Mode to RGB Colour 8 bits and then set the Background Content to White as shown in the screenshot below and then click OK.
4. Set the colour you wish to use as your eBook cover design background as the Foreground colour by first clicking on the Set foreground icon located below the Zoom tool in the Tools panel. This prompts the Colour Picker dialog box. Select the desired colour and click OK as shown in the screenshot below. Notice also that each colour has a six digit which starts with the hash sign (#).
5. Select the Rectangle shape tool from the Tools panel and draw a rectangle over the canvas. Ensure that it is of the same width and height as canvas. You can set it to the exact value through the Tools options bar as shown in the screenshot below. I typed in 1800 px in the width text box and 2700 px in the height because it is the dimension of my book canvas.
The rectangle is on a separate layer. So you can always edit it by simply selecting its layer from the Layers tab as shown in the screenshot above and then edit it through the Tools options bar. This also applies to any other layer.
6. Next is to type a title, sub title (if there is any) and the author name for your eBook. Select the Type tool (shortcut key is letter T) from the Tools panel. Insert your cursor where you want the title text to start and then type in the title texts or phrase. To change the font colour, style and size, you have to first highlight the entire text and then change them from the Tools options bar as shown in the screenshot below. Hit the Commit button to apply the formatting to your ebook design. Ensure that your title and sub title text, colour and font style are eligible enough and attractive and always bold your text characters. If your sub title is long, use the paragraph text type by clicking on the canvas and then dragging diagonally to define a boundary for the sub title characters as shown in the screenshot below.
Also note that the title, sub title and author name texts are in different layers in the Layers. This means you can further format each one separately by first selecting its layer. You can move a layer up or down Layers on top will have their contents place above the ones below it if their contents placed in the same position on the canvas.
7. Next is to place the book image. Make sure that you have found and downloaded the image you wish to use for your book cover design and the image should be of high quality. You use the Place command to insert an image into a design in Adobe Photoshop. Click the File tab and the select Place. This prompts the Place dialog box. Select the image from the save location and the click the Place button as shown in the screenshot below to insert it to your book design.
8. Photoshop places the image inside your book cover canvas and automatically activates Free Transform. In order not to distort the width to height ratio of an image while adjusting them hold down the Shift key while draw the points at the edges of the image to resize it. Also position the image properly in your eBook cover design. Then click the Commit button apply the actions as shown in the screenshot below.
Congrats! You have just succeeded in designing a stunning eBook cover in Photoshop.
How to Export Your eBook Cover Design in Photoshop as JPEG Image Format
Now you need to export the file as JPEG because that is the file format that Amazon recommends or accepts for their KDP eBook cover. Do not reduce the quality, Amazon will set the required quality they need. To achieve this: click the File tab > Save for Web & Devices. This prompts the Save for Web dialog box. Select JPEG from the drop down arrow below the Preset settings and also ensure that the image Quality is set to 100% (maximum) as shown in the screenshot below.
Then click the Save
button, type in a unique file name for the JPG
version of your book cover and take note of the save location. Then hit the Save
button again to export it. You can now upload this JPG
file version of your eBook cover to Amazon KDP following the procedures I explained on How to Setup and Publish on Amazon KDP
You also need to save the document as a Photoshop file which will have a PSD file extension format. With this file format, you can easily open it in Photoshop and make few modifications without having to start from scratch again when the need arises. To achieve this: click the File tab and then select Save As. This prompts the Save dialog box. Type in a unique file name, specify the save location and then hit the Save button.
How to Download and Use CreateSpace Book Cover Templates
CreateSpace developed print book and KDP paperback templates to make it easier for you to quickly create print-ready files in graphic design software programs like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, or any software that will allow you to open a .png or PDF file and save a PDF file.
So you can use it both for designing your Amazon Paperback and CreateSpace print book covers.
Book Interior Type:
You have four options here: Black and White, Black and White with Bleed, Full Colour, Full Colour with Bleed. Choosing Full Colour or Full Colour with bleed increases the printing cost of your book.
You have a lot of options depending on the dimension of your book. There are some Industry Standard Trim Sizes like 5" x 8" (mostly for novels) and 6" x 9" (mostly for tutorial books, textbooks and recipes), etc. and also some Custom Trim Sizes like 8.25" x 6", 8.5" x 8.5", etc.
Number of Pages:
This refers to the number of pages of your book interior or manuscript. So it is required that you first format and get your book interior ready before you start designing the cover so that you can know exactly the number of pages.
You have two options here: White and Cream. White is the most common option.
Any option you specify here for the Book Interior Type, Trim Size and Paper Colour will also be the same option you will specify when setting up and publishing your book on Amazon KDP and CreateSpace.
Also note that larger book dimension or trim size reduces the number of pages, thereby reducing the printing cost.
After configuring the template, click Build Template button as shown in the screenshot below.
Clicking the Build Template button downloads the template built based on the information you provided in a zip folder which contains two copies of the template, one with the PNG format and the other with a PDF format.
Below is the screenshot of a sample of a cover template for a 6” x 9” Print book (black and white) with 210 pages.
Unzip the folder and save these template files in a location where you can easily locate it.
How to Setup and Design a Print Book or Paperback Cover in Adobe Photoshop
Setting up and designing a professional print book or paperback cover in Photoshop is simple if you are guided properly. You don’t need to be a graphic design expert before you can design a stunning book cover for your Amazon and CreateSpace Print books. Note that the accepted cover file format for Amazon Paperback and CreateSpace print books is print ready PDF. So after designing the print book cover with Adobe Photoshop, you need to export a PDF version of your cover design and then save the PSD file format in case the need to re-adjust the cover design comes up in the future. You will make use of the CreateSpace cover template you downloaded at the beginning of this tutorial section.
To Setup your Paperback Cover Design In Photoshop:
1. Import or open the PDF or PNG file for the Paperback Book Cover Template in your Adobe Photoshop application. The keyboard shortcut key to open a document is Ctrl + O (for Mac users, press Command + O). Ensure that you have unzipped the template file folder before now. Select the PDF file format of the downloaded template and click the Open button as shown in the screenshot below.
2. This prompts the Import PDF dialog box as shown in the screenshot below. Note that the resolution of the file is 300 pixels/inch or dpi because it is a print book cover. Leave every setting with their default value and click OK.
3. In the opened template file as shown in the second to the last screenshot below, you will notice that some parts of the templates have pink colours, some have white while the bar code area has a yellow colour with its dimension written inside it. The white area is the only area allowed to contain texts. No text is allowed to extend to the pink and yellow areas of the template.
4. The template is made of the three main parts; the front, the spine and the back which also contains the bar code area. Now you need to use the Ruler tool to insert guides at the boundaries of the pink and white regions, which will help you in the design and to ensure that you do not extend any texts to those prohibited parts of the template. To view the rulers: click the View tab and then select Ruler.
5. To insert horizontal guides: click on the horizontal ruler bar and drag a guide to the designated horizontal boundaries. Also, to insert vertical guides: click the vertical ruler bar and drag a guide to the designated vertical boundaries as shown in the screenshot below.
6. Follow the steps given for designing ebook cover to design your book paperback front part. Use the rectangle tool to draw a rectangle that will cover the front part of the cover template. Insert, position and format your book title, sub title and author name. Also insert and resize your book image as described above. Your image can extend to the edges of your template but your book cover texts should not go beyond the horizontal and vertical guide lines you inserted.
If you have already created an ebook cover file for the book, open the PSD format of the ebook design, duplicate the layers by highlighting all the layers from the Layers tab. To highlight each layer, hold down the Ctrl key or Command key (on Mac) and then click on each layer once. Then click the options icon Layers option icon as shown in the screenshot below and select Duplicate Layers from the resulting options. Under the Destination section, select the file name of the cover template file and then click OK as shown in the screenshot below.
Photoshop duplicates the selected layers and copies them to the specified destination file. Adjust each duplicated layer in the destination file to fit perfectly and properly without crossing the guide line. Below is a screenshot of the finished sample of a properly adjusted front design of a paperback design.
7. The next part of the design is the spine. Select the Rectangle tool from the Tools panel and draw a rectangle. Ensure that the fill colour matches with that of the front part above. The rectangle must not cross the two vertical guide lines at the boundaries of the spine. If you wish the book title and author name in the spine, select the Type tool from the Tools panel. Place your cursor in the spine and type the title and author name of the book and click the Commit button. Then rotate the text 90 degrees to the right using the Free transform tool. The keyboard shortcut to activate this tool is Ctrl + T (for mac users, press Command + T) and then position it properly in the spine area of the book as shown in the screenshot below.
8. Next part of the design is the back section of the print book cover. Select the Rectangle tool again from the Tools Panel and then draw a rectangle that will properly cover the remaining part of the template. Another way to achieve this quickly is to duplicate the first rectangle you drew for the front section background and then drag the duplicate over to the back section of the cover design canvas.
9. Next is to insert your book blurb text. Select the Type tool, click and drag to define a boundary to wrap the blurb texts in the back section of the book. Type in the blurb texts. If you have it written somewhere else, copy and paste it in the paragraph type you created as shown in the screenshot below. If you have a picture of the author, you can insert it in the “About the Author” section of the blurb using the Place command as explained earlier above. Make sure that the blurb texts do not extend to the bar code part of the Back section of the paperback book cover as shown in the screenshot below.
Congrats! You have completely designed an eBook and print book or paperback cover in Adobe Photoshop.
One more thing! You need to turn of the guides before you export or save your paperback design as PDF in Photoshop.
To Turn Off the Guides in Photoshop:
Click the View tab, navigate to Show and then select Guides as shown in screenshot below.
How to Save or Export Your Paperback or Print Book Cover As PDF in Photoshop
The next step after designing your print book cover is to export it as print ready PDF from Photoshop or any other photo editing tool you used for cover design. This PDF format is the recommended by Amazon and CreateSpace as the cover file format.
To Export your Book Cover as PDF:
1. Click the File tab and select Save As. This prompts the Save dialog box.
2. Type a unique name for the export file. Specify the save location.
3. Click the Format drop down arrow and select Photoshop PDF (*.PDF; *.PDP) and then click the Save button as shown in the screenshot below.
You can also save the cover design as any other format by selecting the desired format from the drop down menu. You need to save the paperback or print book cover design as a Photoshop file format (*.PSD; *.PDD) so that you can quickly edit the file in future and also export it to any other format.
To Save the Print Book Cover as a Photoshop Document (PSD format):
Click the File tab and then select Save As. This prompts the Save dialog box. Type in a unique file name, specify the save location and then hit the Save button.
Further Study Resources
Have you formatted your book manuscript?
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