Book Cover Pro (Making a Paperback Book Cover You Can Upload to Createspace via their Easy Cover Maker)

Please note: This is for making a paperback cover.

This is the software I use to make paperback covers.  (I use this or GIMP for ebooks.)  It’s called BookCoverPro, and I’ve had it since early 2009.  I love it because once you figure it out, you can make a paperback in about ten minutes.  Here’s the link to the site if interested:

1.  Double click the icon to open it, and you’ll get this menu.

2.    You will want to choose “New” on the menu bar.

3.  I go by the pages of a book, so I choose the “Pages” option and type in what the entire interior file of my book (aka the pdf document) is.  Let’s say the book is 240 pages, but the entire document (with title page, dedication page, etc) comes to 250.  I type in 250.

4.  Now click “OK” and you come up with the screen that will you use to make your cover in.

5.  To avoid white space along the edge of your cover, you will want to choose “Bar” on the menu bar.  This is what you’ll get.

6.  Change the color of the bar and drag it out to cover the entire cover.  You need to make the bar large enough to go over the yellow lines along the edge of the cover.  You will want to go halfway between the yellow and purple lines.  (The purple lines are the ones furthest out.) Createspace will trim off the excess, but if you bring the bar all the way to the pink lines, your cover will be rejected.  I had to call them up to figure out that was my problem a year ago when they changed their system.

6.  Go to “image” in the menu bar and click the picture you want to use for your front cover.  Resize the picture until it fits over the black area to the right (which will be the front cover).

7.  Go to “text” in the menu bar and in the box for “text properties”, type your title.  For the sake of this post, I titled this book “The Wedding”.  You can choose whatever font and size you want.  You can also change the color or put it in bold or italics.  You can also center it (which is what I do).  When you click on “Apply” at the bottom right, you’ll get the text box on the top left corner.  Drag it to the front cover and place the title wherever you want.

Also, make sure the text isn’t too close the edge because CreateSpace will reject your cover and make you do it over.  I believe it’s 0.5 inches from the yellow line is what they recommend.

8.  Using the same method to type text, now type in your name and place it where you want on the front cover.  If you have a series title or anything else you want to put on the front cover, do so using the same method.

9.  The back is what I do next.  I usually add two images to the back (sometimes just one).  For this example, I’ll use a picture toward the middle top of the back cover and my logo to the bottom left.  The logo should be far away enough so the ISBN will fit in the lower right corner of the back cover.  Just use the process that you used for adding the picture on the front cover.  My logo consists of two wedding rings and “Ruth Ann Nordin’s Books” on it.  If you have a publishing name or a logo image already in place, use that.

10.  Now I add in the text to the back cover.  This is where I put a tagline (or teaser) at the top (above the top picture), add the book description under the picture, and then add a short author bio under it.  I use differnt fonts for each task.  When I am done with that, I put the price of the book above the area where I expect the ISBN code to be.  I also added a “bar” (from the menu option), made it long and narrow, and adjusted the color.  This way I have separated the description from the author bio.

I don’t know if anyone can read what I put inside the book description box, but in case you can’t, I basically said I try to not to get too close to the yellow line on the left or to the purple line on the right.  I justify my margins.  I use Arial (it shows up nicely) and usually go with either a 12 or 14 font size.

For the author bio, I put the books I’m most known for, the genres I specialize in, where I live, who I live with (I never give specifics like names), and my website.

11.  Then I do the spine.  This can be tricky because you have to center the images and text in the spine so they aren’t too close to the purple lines.  If they are, CreateSpace will reject the proof.

Note: I choose “vertical” for orientation and “center” for alignment with the title and my name.  I use my logo at the top, then put the title in, then put the front picture in, and then end it with my name.  I did this when I saw some traditionally published romance novels with that format.  So I’d take a look at the spine on the traditionally published books in your genre and try to imitate it.

12. Go to “Menu” (at the very top left of the menu bar), choose “Export to E-book”, and a box will pop up.

13. Put “Resolution” at at least 300 DPI (so the cover will be clear).  Then click on the boxes next to “front”, “spine” and “back” so you’ll save the entire cover.  For “Output File”, browse for wherever you want to save the cover.  Then click “Export”.

14.  When you are done, be sure to save your work in BookCoverPro because you might need to adjust the cover later, and it’s a pain to start from scratch.

15.  Now go to CreateSpace, go to add a new book to your dashboard, and when you get to the Cover Creator, choose “The Pine” which I highlighted in blue.  Uncheck the boxes for “title” and “author name” and upload your cover.  If you get a warning that your resolution is too low, go back to BookCoverPro and save the cover under a higher DPI value.  I like 380, but adjust this until the resolution is good.

Quick Note on making an Ebook Cover

This is very easy.  Just expand the front cover so it starts at the purple line (along the spine) and it ends at the purple lines on the edge of the right side of the book.  You should adjust the text so it’s centered for an ebook.  You get more room with an ebook than you do with a paperback.  Go to “Menu”, “Export to E-book”, 300 (or more) DPI, Parts “Front” only, and browse your output file.

Hope that helps.  😀

*I bought the pictures used in this tutorial.  Bride with flowers:  Bride and groom on the prairie:  Rings:


  1. Roger says:

    What a great post for the book cover software. I use Gimp for CreateSpace but I’ll definitely have a look at this. Thanks.

    1. I’m impressed you use GIMP for CreateSpace. You’re further ahead than I am. 😀

      1. Roger says:

        You should have a look at version 2.8 that’s just come out. It’s the biz.

        1. Will do. I’d like to see what else it out there.

  2. I’ve got a designer for my work, but this is very handy to file away! Thanks, Ruth!

  3. Richard Fenwick says:

    Thanks for this informative post. I purchased BCP a few months ago, and it really is very easy to use. I have a question though: I love my cover design, but I can’t get the background colors to translate properly when converted from BCP to PDF. The original is russet, but the output to pdf becomes almost brown. I tried converting to JPEG and using “The Pine” template, but the proof copy is disappointing, with the photo on the cover much brighter than the JPEG uploaded. Any thoughts on this? I like BCP very much, but 3 proofs into this I’m getting a bit frustrated. Thanks.

    1. I’m not sure what can be done except trial and error, and that can end up being expensive when you’re ordering proofs all the time. I guess I would contact CreateSpace and ask them what color code to use to get the exact color you’re looking for. I think it might have something to do with CreateSpace’s printer. Unless I do black or white, there are slight variations in coloring. A friend ended up with an orangish dress instead of the red she expected when her publisher acquired rights to the paperback version of her book, and if I remember right, they used CreateSpace.

      I’m sorry you’re having this problem. I wish I could be more helpful, but my knowledge about colors is minimal. I’ll shoot an email to a cover artist who works with CreateSpace and see if she knows anything. If she does, I’ll let you know.

      1. Richard Fenwick says:

        That’s very kind of you. I honestly appreciate it very much.

  4. This is directed to Richard Fenwick.

    I was running into font and color issues, then came up with a workaround that may work. I’m still fooling around with my cover while I wait for my book to be proofread. I don’t know if this trick will work with CreateSpace, but the logic is there.

    Make the cover using Ruth’s guidelines. Then create a PNG file with the ‘Export to E-Book’ feature making sure the ‘Front, Spine and Back’ boxes are checked and the resolution is 300+.

    In BCP, open ‘Menu/New’. Set the dimensions for this blank cover. Click the ‘Image’ button and add an image, the PNG file you recently created, being sure the ‘Aspect/Ratio Lock’ box is checked. Fit the image to the new cover. This second cover will only have one element, the PNG image you first created, no text boxes are needed as the text is already a part of the image.

    In BCP, go to ‘Cover/ Generate As’ and make a PDF file. That file should retain the RGB values with no font embedding issues.

    (Thank you Ruth Ann for saving me many hours of work)

    1. Thanks for sharing this great tip! I wouldn’t have guessed this method.

      And you’re welcome. 😀

      1. I have yet to upload the cover to CreateSpace, still some proofreading issues, but I also refined this method. Remember, you’re going to do two BCP projects. One BCP project to make a PNG image that includes the fonts and colors you prefer. Then, a second BCP project that only uses this PNG image to make a PDF for CS.

        I think CS requires images at 100%. So, when you create the PNG image in the first BCP project, set the Resolution to 600 DPI. Find this under Cover/Properties.

        Now, when you create the PNG image that you’ll use in the second project, go to Menu/Export to E-Book, set the Resolution to 600. That way you’re going to create a PNG image that will fit perfectly, no enlarging, into the second BCP project. The file will be at 100%.

        Again, I have yet to test my theory, but it may work.

    2. Very good idea. I’m about to try this out today, and will tell you how the CS upload goes once they review/accept the documents. Great feedback, and thank you!

      1. To Richard,

        I’ve made a detailed set of instructions for this method. If you’d like to read these instructions, email me at . I’ve also sent these instructions to Ruth. CreateSpace accepted my cover, but I have yet to see the final, printed “proof”. I’ve ordered the printed proof-copies but they have not yet been delivered.


        1. Thanks for the instructions. Let me know when you get the proof copy in. I’d like to know how it turned out. If it did, I’d love it if you’d be willing to make a guest blog post on this. (no pressure to say yes but I loved your step by step instructions)

      2. I’d love to know if it works.

  5. Dear Ruth,

    I’d sent you an email. I’ve finally received my printed “proof” copies, but the grand experiment was a grand failure. The background color bled all over the image leaving horizontal spikes that covered key areas of the cover.

    1. Thanks for letting me know and sharing your results with everyone. I’m sorry it didn’t work. I wonder if something could be done in GIMP and that image put into BookCoverPro. Unfortunately, my knowledge of GIMP is still not that great so I wouldn’t even know how to attempt it. I do know that GIMP seems to work well with layers. When I merge pictures on GIMP and transfer that image to BookCoverPro, there’s no distortion in the cover.

    2. Hi guys, I tried this unique workaround also, with excellent results (both PDF and JPEG translated picture-perfect from BCV). That night, I uploaded the file to Create Space, and two days later they approved it. I checked: the CS thumbnail (as well as their online proof) was, again, perfect. I ordered a physical proof based on that. But that evening I logged in and noticed the thumbnail and online proof covers had reverted in color to the same problem I’ve had with 3 previous proofs: the cover’s russet red is now, again, dark and brown-red. I’m working with CS now, but this is getting very frustrating. It’s hard to believe it’s Book Cover Pro, as the PDF files I’m creating from BCV files are perfect. My conclusion is that this is a problem at CS. I’ll let you know how this progresses.

      1. Thanks for keeping us updated. I’m surprised CS wouldn’t be able to get the color as it is on BookCoverPro.

        1. Hi Ruth Ann. The proof came back exactly as designed with BCP. Eric’s workaround seems to have worked for me, despite what he received from the printers with his proof. Thanks to both of you for keeping this thread alive. Richard.

          1. Awesome to hear! I’m glad it worked.

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