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.
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.
Move 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!