Tag Archives: Graphic Designers

KDP Hardbacks – Easy or Difficult?

After hearing that KDP had Hardbacks in BETA, I thought I’d take a look at the setup and see how things worked, what was different. 

The first page where you type in your information is the same as for the ebook and paperback, so if you’ve already done them, then page one will automatically be filled in for you. Still, it is best to check for errors or changes you may need. Save as a draft and go to page two. This is where the changes start.

You will need to have a different ISBN number for your hardback book. You can either use the KDP Free ISBN, which can only be used on Amazon, or you can buy your own. Next, you scroll down, picking your book size, page colour, ink colour etc until you get to where you upload your interior. Is it the same as for paperback?


Though the pages are exactly the same sizes, the margins on the most popular size (6 x 9 or 15.24 x 22.86) are bigger, probably due to the extra width needed in the spine for a hardback. You will also need a manuscript of 75 pages or more to make a HARDBACK BOOK, which, of course, doesn’t bode well for young children’s picture books. 

Once you’ve uploaded the correct manuscript, you get to do your HARDBACK COVER and yes, this is different. Unless you know the ins and outs of hardback books, you will need the TEMPLATE or you can use the KDP COVER CREATOR. Personally, we will use the templates until we’ve learnt how to size the covers correctly. Like many of those who may read this, we are learning to.

Click on the DOWNLOAD A TEMPLATE link just above the box where you upload the cover and it will open this page shown below.

In the Image it asks you for your book details. For those who are sight impaired or blind, the list consists of:-
BINDING, INTERIOR TYPE, PAPER TYPE, PAGE-TURN DIRECTION, MEASUREMENT UNITS, INTERIOR TRIM SIZE and PAGE COUNT. Once this is filled in, as shown below, you can Calculate Dimensions. 

This opens a new page! As shown below. 

This image gives you all the information you need and what everything means. Don’t worry about what this image shows too much because now that the dimensions have been calculated, you can DOWNLOAD THE TEMPLATE to your computer and open the ZIP file. Inside, you will find three files. A PDF and PNG version of the TEMPLATE with instructions on what is what in the image. The THIRD file shows you HOW TO USE YOUR TEMPLATE. The instructions are shown below.


1. Open the PDF or PNG file for the Paperback Book Cover Template in your image editing software.
2. Create a new layer in your image editing software. This layer will serve as the design layer.
3. Design your cover in the design layer, using the template PDF or PNG file as the guide layer. The artwork should extend to the outside edge of the template’s pink zone to ensure a white border will not exist within the printed work. Do not move the guide layer, as it is properly aligned for our printing specifications.
4. Ensure text and/or images that are intended to be read do not appear in the pink zones of the template.
5. The barcode area is indicated in yellow on the template. Do not place important images or text intended to be read in the barcode location. We suggest filling in this area with your background color or design. KDP will automatically generate a barcode representing your title’s ISBN when printing copies of your book.
6. Once your design is complete, you will need to turn off the guide layer so that it is not printed on your final product or rejected during the review process. If you are unable to turn off the guide layer, then you will need to format the artwork so that it completely covers the guide layer.
7. Flatten all layers, save the file as a press quality PDF with CMYK color profile, and upload the file via KDP.

Message from my Illustrator

My advice is that when you are creating ANY image for any template, always use the template as a guide, I will make an image for you to use, that includes your cover, and the faded template. You need to keep everything inside the red walls 🙂 and remember to set your DPI @ 300+ when working with printed covers as opposed to digital (e-book) covers. The below image shows you the cover and template and how everything sits.

On the last page for KDP the pricing is done the same way as will paperbacks and ebooks. Choose a price and approve to publish. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to buy some Author Copies to check over. Sadly, with living in New Zealand during Covid, it isn’t possible for me to do so.



Psychology and Business


I decided it was time for some training and to learn to be more business savvy and find out how things work. Here in New Zealand, we’re lucky to have some FREE Training for Businesses in the Digital Market. I joined up and started watching the videos. The first one was on BRANDING.
It’s about who you are, what you wish to portray to others, what you do, how you do it and the story behind everything. With saying this… It’s time to introduce myself.
I’m a small business owner who went the wrong way into business. I started a company with little knowledge or thought about what I was doing. I made mistakes, which I’ll call my ‘learning curve’ and gained me some knowledge I needed to move forward. Though I have a legal company, I treated it more like a hobby business. I’d no idea how to grow my clientele list because marketing wasn’t a top priority. Not that I knew how to market my business.

Six years on…
It’s time to learn and grow. As mentioned above, the first step is BRANDING. The video I watched mentioned psychology of colour and typography. It mentioned how LOGOs are developed to grab attention of customers. Below is my original LOGO, which was designed by Lauren Waters. The design is based on an old family street light, which is still standing outside the building in Woolwich, London, over 200 years later. To me, it showed strength and character.
I used black and white (certainly no psychology here). The idea was to use this LOGO on colour background, however, BRANDING is about using the same LOGO consistently. Something I did to a degree, though it also had changes over the years. 
Yesterday, I looked up the Psychology of Colour and Typography suggested by the video. Lots of information, and the reading started. I enjoyed reading what Richard Larson had written. It showed you what the different types of FONTs meant, along with the different meanings of COLOURS many of these used by big business. Below is a list of both along with the website so you can read and understand the concepts of this type of psychology.
Read this blog post by Richard Larson to understand the concepts behind what graphic designers do to create your LOGO. It’s an eyeopener.

Psychology of Colour in Fonts and Content Branding

  • Serif fonts are associated with authority, tradition, respect, and grandeur.
    • Popular Serif Fonts: Times New Roman, Bodini, Georgia, Garamond, and Baskerville.
  • Sans Serif fonts are associated with being clean, modern, objective, stable, and universal.
    • Popular Sans Serif Fonts: Helvetica, Verdana, Arial, Century Gothic, and Calibri.
  • Slab Serif fonts are associated with bold, strong, modern, solid, and funky.
    • Popular Slab Serif Fonts: Rockwell, Courier, Museo, Clarendon, and Bevan.
  • Script fonts are associated with being feminine, elegant, friendly, intriguing, and creative.
    • Popular Script Fonts: Lobster, Zapfino, Pacifico, Lucida, and Brush Script.
  • Modern fonts are associated with exclusivity, fashionable, stylish, sharp, and intelligent.
    • Popular Modern Fonts: Infinity, Eurostyle, Majoram, Matchbook, and Politica.
  • Blue: Trust and Security, Calmness, Peace & Honesty, often used by banks
  • Green: Associated with wealth, Easiest color for the eyes to process, often used to represent health and wellbeing
  • Yellow: Optimistic & Youthful, Fun, Humour, Lightness, Intellect, Logic and Creativity
  • Orange: Stimulates Creativity & Productivity, Creates a Call for Attention
  • Red: Creates urgency, vitality & stamina, energy
  • Pink: Romantic & Feminine, Often Aimed at Girls or Women
  • Purple: Soothe & Calm, Intuition & Imagination

What is your business? What is your story? How can psychology help you grow your business?

Discussion is open, and comments are welcome.


FIVERR the Pros and Cons and How to Pick a Graphic Designer

FIVERR... The place many people go to get cheap work done, especially new authors and those who don’t understand the ropes of how to get the best out of FIVERR.  This post is to help you find your way, researching who to trust and when to run. It’s a bit like people using Vanity Publishing, at times. A nightmare of…bad work. 

As a new author in 2013, I did use FIVERR after being introduced to them by a friend who worked in a different area and made items like you’d find on ESTY. Due to being a Family History Researcher, i tend to research everything and I was exceptionally lucky to find Seren Waters, who did my original Garrett Investigation Bureau book covers.  They were excellent – however, my problem was not knowing much about marketing books and book covers… Seren Waters now has 900 reviews with a 4.9 rating. This proves a point, that there are good graphic designers on FIVERR.

This is one of Seren Water’s book covers which he made for me way back in 2013. It is digital art and I love the cover, though my books weren’t selling.
The story was about an agent called Rosetta who was looking into an Art Theft Ring and like in many investigation books things go wrong.  The book cover shows a Rose for Rosetta, a drop of blood for the danger all in a picture frame with a price tag to show the Art Theft.

Today the book cover is totally different and the book is called Secrets Past. It may be time to update the book covers again. I sometimes wish I’d stayed with this one. However, the book series now has a logo and colour scheme which means this isn’t going to happen.


I have another lady who has also had good fortune with FIVERR. Her name is Judy Penz Sheluk, an Amazon Best Selling Author from Canada (I love Canada) Here are her words about the two people she has worked with:-

I’ve used Hadi Hassan for the concept art for four book covers (the text/layout is done by Hunter Martin, who is not on Fiverr). His prices have escalated since I first hired him, but he will do revisions without complaint and always delivers. One thing, I think when I started with Hadi, he was Level 1 (10 sales) and less expensive, but I loved his art and knew he’d get me my creepy hourglass (he did). A lot of it is also if you feel a connection to the work they do and how responsive they are to your questions. Hadi has 144 reviews with a 4.9 rating. Below are some of the images he did for Judy.






Sandi designed these double-sided bookmarks for me. Sandi has over 1K Reviews with a 4.9 rating.

Then I had them printed by Dan Fast turnaround and delivery, and you can’t beat his pricing. I’ve had many bookmarks printed by Dan (some repeat orders).

Dan has 43 Reviews with a 4.6 rating.

This shows they can be found on FIVERR. You just need to look and research thoroughly. Also asking the right questions would be good. This is where you…the new author has things to learn so YOU can get the best service possible if you wish to use FIVERR. Also, remember you get what you pay for…CHEAP isn’t always better.


Whenever I go to Fiverr for a service for the first time, I’ll Post a Request. This typically brings a ton of interest, but I whittle it down to a number of positive reviews and Level 2 seller (completed at least 50 orders on time, av. 4.8 or higher). Then I look at what they’ve done. Does it look like something “In my head?” Do they do revisions, etc? Once I’ve found a couple of possibles, I’ll send them an email through Fiverr with questions — how much, how fast, how many revisions, etc. Because the services offered can often be revised based on what someone is looking for.

Once I have found someone, and they’ve been reliable, I will keep on using them. When it comes to concept art, I will credit the artist (Hadi) in my books. It’s a small thing, but it means a lot. I will add a link to digital versions. I always send the artist the final cover in case they want to use it for promotion.
Dan Print came about in an odd way — he quoted on bookmarks but had this great printing/shipping service. I’ve used him many times and never been disappointed. Quality work, as described, with a fast turnaround.
Bookmarks by Sandi, he offers a few options and really listens to what you want. they all came about by the initial Post a Request and digging about, looking at their portfolio, etc.

In other words, you do have to do your due diligence.



1. Where do you get their images from?  – These should be stock photos and they should be able to provide a link and receipts for proof
2. Are you an illustrator, photo manipulator, comic book inker? – These could be one-off drawings, though DPI still needs to be relevant to either paperback or ebook…Perhaps both.
3. Do they know what DPI is? – DPI is Pixels per Inch, your graphic designer should know what they need to be. Paperback is 300 dpi and ebook at least 97 dpi.  This is for you to know. Ask your questions the right way. However, it is always best to do 300 dpi for ebooks as well, in case a customer wishes to zoom in on the image. Anything less than 200 dpi will be fuzzy.
4. What is the DPI for a paperback?
5. What is the DPI for an eBook?
6. Do you have a portfolio?
7. Do you have clients who share their work?
8. Do you have a logo? Are they wanting to display in on your work as a promo? – My business logo goes on the back of all paperback books and inside on the copyright page. You can find my logo at the top of this post.

Like with anything else in life. There is always a negative side and one you need to be aware of so you don’t have to find another graphic designer to get you out of a mess. I’ve worked with several authors who have had huge messes made of their artwork. The main worry for all authors should be copyright. None of us want you to get sued for using images that were plucked off google or anywhere else where you can prove ownership of the image.

Many authors use PIXABAY and UPSPLASH for images. Yes, they are FREE and good, though sometimes you can’t prove ownership even though they say they are Creative Commons.  I would personally only use them for TEASERSNEVER a book cover.
   To make a book cover you really should use STOCK IMAGES from places like DEPOSIT PHOTOS and ADOBE STOCK PHOTOS. These come with a standard license that covers about 500k uses. Most of us won’t sell that many books…unless we are exceptionally lucky. If you did hit this, then you can buy an extended license.
     If you are having illustrations drawn, some graphic designers do use VECTOR IMAGES, though they have to make at least seven changes for legal requirements. However, many also draw from scratch.
     If the images are not legal, you could be sued by the original artist/photographer. Please be careful and research well.  Make sure the business has a 4.5 rating or higher with reviews. In fact go read some of them, look at their work, see if anyone in your author groups can give recommendations for a book cover artist, be them on FIVERR or not. I know quite a few and I have some favourites which I will list on a Contractors Page, which I am going to establish in due course. Anyone who is on this list will have my recommendation for awesome work and there will be all price ranges to suit most people’s budgets.
Ask them questions from above to see what they know? As Judy pointed out you can get great work from those just starting out which presuming they’ve done an excellent job, you will review giving them a hand up the ladder to success. Make sure they will do at least three revisions. A good graphic artist will work with you, not against you. If they come across as rude and negative, then don’t hire them.

There is so much more we could discuss, though you all need to learn the ropes and make mistakes, the same as I did. Remember to research and use your instinct, it could save you $100s of dollars. None of you want your book cover screwed up.