4. Making a Template
book cover art

4. Making a Template

Quick post today because I haven’t been able to work on this as much as I had planned!

Today’s topic: making a starting template. Specifically, this will be an ebook template and I will show you later on how I turn those into POD (print on demand) templates. I know that some people work on a wraparound template which is designed to wrap around the front, spine and back of the book. It does make it easier to visualise the entirety of the book, but I find that it throws my visual sense of balance off.

At this point I’ll have to make a disclaimer that will cover the entirety, every word and thought, of this series: this is how I work. I am self-taught, and although there are a universe of tools and hotkeys and proper ways of doing things, this is how I work in Photoshop. Tricks, old dogs, and all that mean that I’m not going to change at this point so just use this as a starting point to develop your own workflow – your method may be better!

Anyhow, I start with a basic .psd template that I use as a starting point for all the covers that I do. The image below will show you where these options can be found. Open Photoshop CC, and:

  1. Create a new file that is 6×9″ and 300 dpi. With the Paint Bucket tool, fill the Background layer with a colour that will complement your intended cover.
  2. Either use View>New Guide (twice) to add two vertical guidelines, or
  3. Using the Move tool, drag them out from the left-hand side of your image. Either way works.
  4. Using the ruler at the top, set these lines at an equal distance from the sides. 200 pixels, 300px, whatever. This gives you a visual guide to help you centre things such as your author name.
  5. On separate layers, use the Text tool to add your name, the book title, and the series name if that applies. We’ll make these pretty later on, at the moment they’re just a placeholder.
  6. While holding down the Control key, click on each of your text layers in the Layers menu on the right hand side of your workspace to highlight them at the same time. Once selected, use the symbol marked #6 on the image below to open the context menu and choose New Group from Layers. Name that group “Text.”
  7. Save this document. This forms the basis of your cover, so name accordingly: title_book1.psd or whatever.

That’s it. :) Now you have a blank canvas of the correct large trade paperback size* and your text layers in a convenient group so you can turn them off and on as needed. You’ll be doing a lot of that, which is why we’ve grouped them.

*If you know in advance that your book will be printed at 5.25×8.25, you can go ahead and make your template in those dimensions. For me it makes a lot more sense to work at maximum size so I can resize it as needed later on.

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