Calculating Text on a Book Cover

Is your book cover’s text aligned correctly? 

I didn’t want to write another blog about designing book covers because this is my author website and my design website is a different entity, but I feel the need to educate authors on designers and what they do. 

Did you know graphic design uses math? It’s easy math, but you should learn it. 

Most of the time it’s adding, subtracting, multiplying, and division. The occasional decimal to percentage might happen. I’ll scale, which is using my ruler to center the text on a book cover. 

Anyone can call themselves a designer, but not everyone knows the required mathematics it takes to make sure the text is aligned in the center of the book cover. 

Authors, this is your responsibility learning about general designing so you’re prepared to buy a cover from a reputable designer. 

Recently, I worked with an author on two book covers. This author works with a vanity publisher. I’m against vanity publishers, but this one seems to have a good reputation, so there’s nothing I can say. 

This publisher also happens to be a graphic designer, and this designer and I worked together to make sure the book covers looked perfect. 

I’m human and sometimes I make mistakes. My text kept placing too much to the right even as I measured it, and I realized I was using an older template of the book cover with the wrong spine measurements. The designer of the publishing website had a nice discussion with me on what she sees. She complimented my skills and knowing my error right away, but she said a lot of the smaller designers will submit a book cover up to ten times before it finally comes out correctly and can be submitted to an on-demand printer for publishing. 

The designer had that happen so many times that she had to start charging authors for the extra work it was causing her. Do you blame her? 

Here’s the book cover: 

See all those blue lines. Those are my measurements. Overkill? Maybe, but at least it came out correctly.

This begs to question, do you want cheap or do you want quality? Do you want your submission to be accepted the first time around or on the tenth time around while charging you $35.00 USD for each download? 

Did you check the designer’s portfolio? Are they willing to show you their paperback and hardcover samples? If they aren’t located on the portfolio, can they produce them for you? I can. 

Ask yourself a few questions when searching for a book cover. Is it out of alignment? Are the images placed properly so the bleed won’t affect them? Is the text too close to the edge of the cover? Will your book look lopsided once it hits the printer? How many times will you have to redo the cover because Amazon and Ingram Spark rejected it? Did they measure the spine from the page count you provided? Do they have an updated website that isn’t straight from Geo Cities? 

Are you researching these designers? This is your book and I’ve read a lot of complaints from authors who used questionable designers because they wanted to save a few dollars and then raise hell when the book cover comes out horrendous.

It’s OK to ask questions. Any designer would gladly answer them for you. Any designer would show you their portfolio or testimonials from other happy authors. Remember, just because the eBook looks pretty doesn’t mean the paperback and/or the hardcover should be any less quality. 

Here are examples of the templates designers should use when designing a paperback or hardcover. Ingram Spark does the work for you, but it is up to the designer to make sure they center the text and image quality won’t be lost because of the bleed. 

One more thing, it’s OK to ask how the book cover was designed. Was it under the Adobe umbrella such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign? Was it made in GIMP which is a free version of Photoshop? Microsoft Word or Paint? Where? What was the process? 

This is a warning and education for authors who might not understand the process of design. It can save you lots of headaches and loss of income later on. Make sure your designer is reputable, make sure they have a modern, clean website to showcase their work. I’m upgrading mine because I want you to have the best experience on mine and come back for more covers later. 

Oh, the cover I made a mistake on? It worked out fine. The author is still my regular customer and he will have me design another custom cover this summer. Why? Because I apologized for my error and took responsibility. Would your designer do that? 

Here is a nifty site to help you calculate your own book cover.

Thanks for reading! I hope this information is helpful and hopefully, I can write another blog about what I’m supposed to on this page. Writing.

While you’re here. Check out my latest release, The Soul Healer. 

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