Your Book’s Spine

There’s not much you have to do with your spine. Remember, if you are publishing a novella, after formatting, your manuscript must be 100 pages or more. This is where the 5×8 trim size (the smallest size CreateSpace has to offer) comes in handy. You can also maybe bump up the font size in your manuscript if spine text is that important to you. But don’t go too big, you’re not publishing a Large Print edition.

Let’s look at the cover and template again:


You kind of want the front cover, the spine, and the back cover to blend together. We don’t have a lot of colors to work with here, so I would probably leave the spine white and use the same fonts I used on the cover and keep them black.

title-1 Draw a text box in the text box. Don’t make it bigger than you need; smaller text boxes are easier to work with.

Experiment with the font and the size. You can manually enter in the font size and work with the numbers even if the font size is not available in the drop down selection.  You can see here that my name is not centered on the spine, but I chose the biggest font size that would fit.
title-2Move the text box so your name is centered on the spine:

The text box overlap doesn’t matter, we’ll fix that. The most important thing is that the letters are clear and big and as centered as you can make them. If your hand is shaky, or your mouse is temperamental, use your direction keys on your keyboard to move the box around.


Take off the edges by making sure the text box is selected and selecting No Outline in the Shape Outline option in the Shape Styles menu.

The white box is still visible on the cover so you need to select Shape Fill and select No Fill to make the box clear. This option is above the Shape Outline option we used to make the lines disappear.


You can see my name isn’t centered, it’s a little high, but the text box is gone. Move the text box around so you can center your name the best you can. CreateSpace won’t fix any issues you have. On my first attempt on The Corner of 1700, the bottom of the C was missing because I didn’t adjust the text box when I made the font bigger. Anyway, move the text box.


That looks pretty damn near perfect.  There’s no rule that says your name has to go on the top and the title on the bottom. Do what you want, just make sure the text is in the right direction. Take a look at traditionally published books and do you the best you can. Fiddle with the colors if you want, play with font and size.


Do the same with the title.


I use an imprint and like to put it on my spine. Insert a text box.


Use the Shape Fill to insert the picture, then use the No Shape Outline to get rid of the text box lines.

You’ll get a warning from CreateSpace if this image isn’t 300 dpi. Mine printed fine at the 79 dpi because it’s so small, but you might as well make sure it’s 300 dpi in GIMP in case you want to use it anywhere else.

So far, this is what we have. It looks pretty good, and I think the title and author name are centered and as big as I can make them. If your book is thicker, you could even put the couple’s picture at the top; I’ve seen that done before, and I’m sure you have too. But the thinner the book the less room you have. That isn’t an excuse to plump up your book for no reason. CreateSpace charges you for printing costs, which means a higher price for your book the thicker it is.


We’ll look at the back cover next. I think you’ll find the worst part about the back cover is writing the blurb!

Until next time, keep experimenting!

Book Cover Templates

Book cover templates are not such a terrible option if you tried to make your own cover and either couldn’t get what was in your head onto a Word doc, or you don’t have the time or energy to figure it all out.

There are template websites out there that sell them and also lots of places to buy already-made covers. You just put your own info into the template and you’re all done–similar to the CS Cover Creator.

While I was looking around some of these sites I noticed a few things:

  1. Some templates only fit certain book sizes, so make sure the cover that you think will perfectly fit your story and title will also accommodate the size of the book you were planning on. This is especially important if you’re paperbacking a novella. The smaller trim size will make more pages, creating a thicker book.
  2. Some sites sell you the cover and that’s it. Make sure that you are buying a template that also includes the spine and back, otherwise, it will be your responsibility to match font and colors to create the spine and back cover. This isn’t so important if you are going digital (e-reader) only, but maybe down the road you decide to create a paperback as well, you’ll need to submit all of it.
  3. Sometimes you can copy it for free. Study the picture, the background, the placement of title, where your name will go. How fancy is the back?  If you found the picture at Dreamstime could you copy it and save yourself a couple bucks? It’s worth trying to find the picture at least before you buy the template. You can do this for any book cover as well. Look up the top selling books in your genre. Make a list of the things they have in common and see what you can come up with. If anything, this will give you an idea of what you’re looking for in a template.
  4. Maybe a template is cheaper. I made a pretty one on Canva, and the picture was a dollar. I found the same picture on Canstockphoto, but since I buy them singly there and don’t subscribe, itcanva would have cost me 8 dollars. Canva is front cover only, so either way I would still have to do the spine and back cover myself. And if I use Canva, I would need to figure out the font so I could use the same on the back cover.

All I did was Google “book cover templates” and came up with a few choices.

Cover Design Studio looked nice, and they have some pretty covers. Make sure you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page of a template you like and look for Additional Information. It will tell you the trim size available, etc. In the pricing, they have a couple of options, and one is CS plus Kindle. That sucks because if you upload to CS first, they send you the file for the Kindle cover, it even says so in the file name:


There’s The Corner of 1700’s Kindle picture of the cover CS sent me for when I put my book in KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). So that website is making you pay for something you don’t need. Otherwise, you can buy the Kindle version and make the spine and back cover yourself.

Joanna Penn on her blog post listed DIY Book Covers as a resource. I didn’t check them out but that could be something to look into as well.

Otherwise, Google “Premade Book Covers” and that will give you a bigger selection of finds. But, as always, make sure you ask about the spine and back cover. They may charge you extra for those.

Hopefully, you can use them for inspiration. I found this one on Cover Design Studio:


Something about it called to me. I don’t know if was the sparkles, or what. But I liked it and wanted to replicate it. I couldn’t find the picture, but I found something . . . not similar, but something else I liked, and I made this:


It’s not exactly what Cover Design Studio made, but I like mine. Maybe you can find something that can help you put down what you like too. And I always have to add the disclaimer to make sure you can use it commercially, and in the copyright page of your book, credit the photo to the website and artist who made your picture available. You bought it, but it’s the polite thing to do. I stole this picture off Pinterest so I wouldn’t be able to use it for a real cover. Hopefully, I could find it elsewhere, but this book hasn’t been written, so it’s not terribly important.

Happy browsing!