Tips and Tools

Cover layout

To design your cover, you need to know your book’s final size and the width of its spine. Use our book printing calculator to determine your spine width (below).

Let’s assume you’re making a 6×9-inch paperback, and you’ve calculated your spine width to be 0.625 inches. Build a page size of 12.625-inches wide by 9-inches tall. Place guides at the 6-inch and 6.625-inch locations. You’ve now marked off the areas for your front cover, spine and back cover. Now start placing your graphics and text elements into position. Keep in mind that any graphic elements (including colour) that run to the edge of the page must extend 0.125 inches to 0.25 inches past the edge. This is called a bleed. Be sure also to keep text no closer than 0.25 inches to the edge to allow for trimming.

Commonly used papers

Husky | 50# | White | >350 pages | 0% Recycled Content

Husky | 60# | White | <350 pages | 0% Recycled Content

Cougar | 50# | Natural | >350 pages | 10% Recycled Content

Cougar | 60# | Natural | <350 pages | 10% Recycled Content

Cougar Color Copy | 24# | White | <350 pages | 10% Recycled Content

Cougar Color Copy | 28# | White | <350 pages | 10% Recycled Content

Cougar Color Copy | 32# | White | <350 pages | 10% Recycled Content

Enviro100 | 55# | Natural | <400 pages | 100% Recycled Content

Enviro100 | 60# | White | <350 pages | 100% Recycled Content

Pacesetter Silk | 80# | White |<300 pages | 10% Recycled Content

Commonly used paper PDF

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Spine calculator

Select your paper:

Number of pages:

Spine Width = 0 inch

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Creating PDFs

Blitzprint uses a PDF (portable document format) workflow. That means we convert all files to PDF before sending them to press. If you’ve formatted your document on your own and are satisfied you’ve got print-ready files that will require no further work prior to printing, you can create the PDF versions yourself.

You’ll need a converter. If your computer does not have a converter, search Google for a free PDF converter. We recommend PDF Creator. Please note that the free Adobe Acrobat application that comes with most PCs will only read PDFs, not create them. Most Apple computers have built-in converters that allow you to export your Microsoft Word or page-layout files as PDFs. PC versions of Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2016 also have a ‘Save as PDF’ option. In both the Mac and PC cases, simply select the desired PDF output option in the ‘Print’ window.)

Once installed, most PC PDF converters will set up as a new printer on your system. Instead of writing to a physical printer, they will export an electronic PDF file.

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Need Print-Preparation Support

If your manuscript is not quite ready to print, please check out other Blitzprint products and services. Our designers can help format your word-processing file and create original cover art, illustrations, maps, charts and graphs. We can also recommend the editing, indexing and proofreading support that self-publishing authors need to put the finishing touches on their work and create flawless print-ready files.

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