Three Easy Tips for Better Bookmaking

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If you’re taking your first steps in creating books with Blurb BookSmart®, there are some simple things you can do to ensure your Blurb book looks as good as possible right from the get-go. They may seem obvious and they may seem small, but keeping these things in mind can make all the difference in the world. Thanks to Jay, one of the experts on the Blurb Customer Support Team, for sending these tips our way.

1. Select the right photos

There’s more to choosing photos than just looking for interesting images. Lighting can make a huge difference, since in general a poorly-lit photo will not print as well as one taken in good lighting conditions.

Think about how a professional magazine photo shoot is set up with lots of bright, even light. This is done to ensure the photos will look good in print. But even if you’re not a pro, you’ll find that selecting photos that are bright can help a lot. And if your images are naturally dark, such as photos taken at night or in caves, you can get a big boost by lightening them in your preferred photo editing software before placing them in your book.

One more thing: if you’re using BookSmart to make your book, digital images straight from your camera will work best. If you have to scan images instead, make sure you format them correctly for BookSmart.

header change Three Easy Tips for Better Bookmaking

2. Keep headers and footers consistent

Here’s one of those details that’s easy to miss: making sure the headers and footers on your book’s pages stay consistent across your book.

BookSmart will automatically add your title to page headers and page numbers to your footers if you use a template that includes them (some templates leave them out). If you want to show something else instead, like an author name, just click inside the header or footer and use the drop-down menus to change the text. You can apply these changes one page at a time, or for all your pages in one go. But you may want to wait to do this until all the other parts of your book are finished, since adding or reorganizing pages can override the settings you choose.

3. Watch out for cover trim edges

One more trick for creating a professional look is too keep an eye on the edges of your book and make sure you don’t get too close. This is especially important for covers.

How close is too close? It depends on the cover option you choose. For softcover books or hardcovers with a dust jacket, make sure to keep your critical content (people’s heads, for example, or any text) at least 1/4 inch away from all edges. But if your book is a hardcover with the ImageWrap option, you’ll want to give that critical content a full inch of space. This is because of the way ImageWrap covers are bound: you can get more information by checking out our ImageWrap trim FAQ.

And there you go. Remember those three things — make sure your photos are bright, check your headers and footers, and leave plenty of trim space on your cover — and your book will turn out looking great!

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  1. Amazing! I just downloaded this program and started working on the cover for the novel I haven’t finish yet. Ha! :D

      September 15, 2010 – 7:15 pm   Permalink
  2. Great and useful post! I had to learn these things the hard way…but luckily I had ordered a proof book and all the above mistakes was clear as day. I corrected and then launched my book campaign. I’m getting great feedback now from my book “Elemental Atmospheres”. So I totally concur with the points you make in your post!

    Thanks again,


      September 16, 2010 – 12:17 pm   Permalink
  3. I’d also add the following, since the better the image is to begin with, the better it will look in print

    A good quality digital photo is one:
    a. taken with a good quality digital camera (good optics and digital sensor)
    b. a photo that has not been enlarged either in post-processing or by in-camera digital zoom (never (ever) use digital zoom).
    c. a photo that has been properly shot (good lighting, no blur)
    d. a photo shot within the camera’s ideal ISO range (usually a low ISO such as ISO 100)
    e. a photo that has been stored in either a lossless format (i.e. TIF) or a very low compressed JPEG (highest camera JPEG quality setting).

    By Michae
      September 16, 2010 – 1:59 pm   Permalink

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