How to create a print book for beginner

The process to create a print book isn’t that much different from creating an ebook.

Just like an ebook, you have to be sure that your book is formatted correctly and your book cover fits your trim size.

If you didn’t format your book correctly and your book cover doesn’t meet the requirement for print, the system will flag your book and insists you on making the change.

You can’t submit your book for printing until you get the formatting and the book cover design correct.

You can choose to ignore the warning if you want. But don’t cry a river how bad your book looks like when you receive the proof copy.

“That sounds a lot stricter than the ebook requirement,” you say to me.

Well, you’re right about that. But don’t let the print book’s strict requirement deter you from creating the print version of your book.

Here’s how you can create a print book that looks so professionally done even if you’re doing it for the first time.

Do this first

Here are the things you need to decide before you create a print book. The reason for that is because you need this information for formatting your book and creating a book cover for print.

Which trim size do you prefer

The trim size is basically referring to the size of your book. There are many trim sizes to choose from, ranging from the biggest trim size to the smallest trim size.

You can choose whatever trim size you want. But you have to keep in mind that not every trim size is eligible for the wide distribution.

If you want your book to be available for sales in bookstores, libraries, and online retailers, then it’s better for you to pick the industry standard trim size for your book.

Most books tend to use either 6×9 or 5×8 trim size. If your book is around 100,000 words or more, using 6×9 trim size will fit your book perfectly. Using 5×8 trim size for a long book will only make your book looks like a doorstopper. And the cost of the book will increase too because of the thickness of your book.

If your book is short, then the 5×8 trim size is just right for your book. I use 5.25×8 trim size for all of my books since I find that 5×8 trim size is a bit small for my liking.

The 5.25×8 trim size is still an industry standard trim size. But not many printers support that trim size, though. The only places that support 5.25×8 trim size are KDP Print, The Book Patch and IngramSpark.

If you’re thinking of using other services such as Lulu and Blurb, then using 5×8 trim size or 6×9 trim size is your best bet since they don’t support the 5.25×8 trim size.

Want to create a hardcover version of your book? Most printers support the 5×8 trim size and 6×9 trim size for hardcover books.

It’s too bad that the trim size that I use isn’t available for the hardback version. I may have to use a slightly different trim size if I want to create the hardback version of my book. The 5.5×8.5 trim size looks good since it doesn’t look that much different from the paperback version of my book.

The type of paper you want for the book

The type of paper you choose will determine the thickness of your book. While most books that we see on the market tend to use cream paper, it still depends on what kind of book you publish.

If your book has a lot of graphics, illustrations, and images, you’re better off with using white paper. The images tend to look much clearer on the white paper compared to the cream paper.

Publishing a children book and graphic novel? The best choice is to use white paper especially if your book is a full-color book.

If your book only has a handful of illustration or no images at all, then it’s fine to use cream paper.

I use cream paper for all of my books since my book doesn’t have any images or illustrations.

Do you prefer glossy or matte book cover

For me, it doesn’t matter which cover type you pick. I love glossy book cover because it looks great on my book. Besides, I’m using an illustration on my book cover. So, the illustration looks much better when the book cover has a glossy finish.

Let’s create a print book

Now that you already know which trim size and the type of paper you want to use, we can then begin with formatting the book and design a book cover for print.

We’ll start with formatting the book for print first. You can only begin with designing the book cover once you already know the number of pages you have for the book. You need this information to determine the size of your book spine.

Formatting your book for print

Formatting the book for print can be frustrating, especially when you try to format the book from scratch. The good news is you don’t need to hire a designer to format the book for you. Instead, you can use a book template and still get the same result as hiring someone to do it for you.

Whether you choose to use a book template or format the book from scratch, keep in mind that the font for the chapter heading must be the same as the font used on the book cover.

If you hire someone to do the book cover design for you, you need to ask the designer about the type of font used in the book cover and where to get it.

Most fonts are available for free. But there are some fonts that require you to purchase. Depending on the website, you can expect to pay around $30 to $50 for the premium font.

With that said, here’s where you can get a book template to format your book for print.

DIY Book Formats

I love the fact that you can get the book template for free right here. All you need to do is to enter your email address and the book template will be sent straight to your email inbox.

The package comes with 10 different book templates and a complete list of fonts based on genre. You can then customize the book template in any way you want.

Each template comes with a simple instruction on how to customize it along with the fonts used in the template. Don’t worry, the fonts used in the free templates are the fonts that you can get for free.

Keep in mind that there’s no support provided for the free book template. But the instruction provided in the template should be good enough for you to get started.

Another option for you is to purchase the Master Package. With Master Package, you can get 100 different options to customize your book template and in-depth video instruction on book formatting.

You’ll also get tons of bonuses too when you purchase the Master Package.

In case you’re wondering, I’m using the free templates that I got from DIY Book Formats to format all of my print books.

Book Design Templates

Book Design Templates doesn’t just offer a book template for the print book. But they also provide a matching book template for your ebook as well.

Unlike the book templates that you get from DIY Book Formats, Book Design Templates also include templates that are compatible with Pages and InDesign.

If you’re looking for a book template that matches both print and the ebook version, the templates from Book Design Templates is perfect for you.

Apart from the book template for fiction and nonfiction books of any genre, they also have book templates for poetry, picture books, and children books too.

While each book template comes with complete instruction, they also provide professional technical support and customer service too if you need any help with the template you purchase.

The only thing that you need to be aware of is the type of license you purchase for the book template. It’s fine to purchase a single book license if you only want to publish one book.

But if you plan to write more books in the future, it doesn’t hurt to invest in the multiple book license.

Design the book cover for print

Designing a book cover for print isn’t that much different from designing a book cover for the ebook. The only difference is your book cover design must now include the design for the spine and the back cover.

Websites like KDP Print does provide you a guideline on how to design a book cover based on your chosen trim size, the type of paper you choose and the number of pages in your book. The system won’t flag your cover as long as the text and the image is within the live area of the cover.

The only time that the system will flag your book is if you’re using a low-resolution image on your book cover and also in your book interior.

To avoid the problem, just be sure that the images you’re using are in 300dpi. Your images will appear pixelated and blurry if it’s less than 300dpi.

If you’re thinking of designing the cover yourself, you can take a look at this tutorial by Derek Murphy on how to design a print book cover using Microsoft Word.

You can also take a look at this section of the guide as well for a list of websites where you can hire someone to design a book cover for you.

What you see is what you get

The great thing about KDP Print is it allows you to preview the print book first before you place an order for the proof copy.

You can always make changes to your file if you don’t like what you see in the preview. It takes awhile for the system to approve your files for printing. So, it’s better for you to make the necessary changes before you submit the files for approval.

You can still make changes even after you receive approval from the system. But you will have to go through the same process all over again which I don’t recommend if you’re pressed for time.