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2.2 How to Size Your Cover

You’ll need to know the ‘specs’ of your cover before you start designing. Here we’ll look at the difference between hardback and paperback design, and explore some of the standard sizes used by print-on-demand publishers like Amazon.

2.2 How to Size Your Cover

Hey there, welcome back. So one of the most intimidating aspects of creating a book cover is knowing how to size it. Particularly for print covers, the range of sizes you encounter in bookstores can seem really broad. And it can be difficult to know which size is going to be best for you. While books do come in a wide range of sizes and formats, there are actually some widely accepted standards which are observed wthin the publishing industry. When it come to print covers, books fall into two main format categories so that's paperback, which is sometimes referred to as soft cover, or hardback or hardcover. So hardbacks are the most traditional book formats. These have a solid cover made of board which is bound with paper or fabric or covered with a separate dust jacket which slots over top of the cover loosely. The internal pages are sewn into the spine which makes the book very flexible to open. And while hardbacks are a really lovely book format, and they're also experiencing a resurgence in popularity at the moment. They're more expensive to print, and most online printing sites will direct you to create a paperback version of your book instead. So in this course, that's what we're going to focus on. A cover for a paperback is what we're going to work towards creating. So paperbacks, these have a paper or paper board cover. And the book is often held together with glue rather than stitches or staples. When it come to sizing your cover, the main thing to research is the cover sizes recommended by the manufacturer that you are creating the book through. So if you're creating a cover for a publishing house, they might ask for an industry standard size such as a B-Format, which is a medium paperback size. If you're in the UK, this refers to a book that's 198 by 129 millimeters in size. But if you're over in the States, this is a bit larger at 203 by 127 millimeters. So you also need to be aware of what different size names actually mean in different countries. For self publishing, which what we're going be aiming for with cover in this course, choosing a size is a bit of an easy process, which is good. Most sites which is Amazon, Lulu, and Blurb will have a set list of recommended sizes which you can choose from. Here on Amazon's direct publishing site, you can look at the recommended trim sizes, which just refers to the final size that the cover is trimmed to after printing. And you can either just note your chosen measurements down, or you can choose to download a template. Now, because I want you to be able to learn as much as possible about creating a cover from scratch, we're not going to download a template. But instead, we're going to choose a size together which was creating a cover which meets those specs. For a sci-fi paperback, you could go for a small airport fiction sort of size, like 5 by 8 inches. But I want to sell this book as more of a general fiction paperback online on the Kindle store. So I think a sort of in between medium paperback size, like 6 by 9 inches is going to suit that a bit better. So that's what we're going to work towards. So make a note of your size. Here we're going for 6 by 9 inches, and we can use this as a basis for creating an amazing cover. So let's dive in and start designing.

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