We got two major objectives to cover today. First, we’ll take a look at Lulu’s new book templates. And second, we’ll get into how to actually use these templates while formatting your book.
Ready? Get yourself a cup of coffee (or tea or whatever your preferred beverage might be) and buckle up. Here we go.
Why Book Templates?
Anyone who has published a book knows there is a world of difference between a finished manuscript and a book file ready for printing. For one, the manuscript is usually all text in a Word file or something similar. But we all know books are more than just the text between the pages.
Even the amount of white space on the page is part of how the file is styled. But that’s more of a design element. As a printer and resource for your file creation, Lulu can’t decide exactly how much space to leave (we can offer some best practices though).
What we can offer you is a file with the exact size we require and our minimums for recommended margins and trimming. A Lulu template will look (more or less) like this:
Looks pretty simple right? We include the measurements you’ll need, so you can just use our templates as a specification guide if you prefer. Or you can import the file into your layout software of choice, remove the measurements, and drop your content directly into the template!
The point that matters here is that you are not using a template to guide how you design the contents of your book. Some resources out there will try to tell you their templates will make creating a book easy. That’s mostly not true. A book’s contents are a lot of work to get right. What your printer can provide is a template that ensures your file meets printer specifications.
How To Use A Book Design Template
Okay, so if you’re a bit disappointed right now, I understand. I want to say we can help make laying out your book’s file easier. And we can. But only so much. When it comes to the font size, line spacing, how you position images, or what you put in the header; you’re on your own there.
So what, exactly, do you do with a book template? Basically, you’re ensuring that the overall size, margins, and trim (or bleed) will match the printer’s specifications. That’s it.
As I mentioned, you can use the template directly by opening the file with your favorite page layout software (Lulu offers templates in PDF, DOCX, and INDD format).
More Than Just a Book Template
I’ve attached all the template bundles Lulu offers at the bottom of this post. But don’t scroll yet! First I want to talk a little more about what we include in the bundle. It’s more than just a file with some measurements on it.
These two files include detailed specifications for creating a PDF. That includes font embedding, image file sizing, and bleed requirements. If you decide not to use a template and opt to build your file from scratch, please please please refer to our PDF Creation Guide. We also include our spine width calculations so you can be sure your cover file is sized correctly too.
More on cover templates below (spoiler, we provide those too!).
Adobe PDF Export Presets
Lulu’s Job Options file. You can apply this to your page layout software (not including Microsoft Word), then when you export your finished PDF, use the Job Options to apply Lulu’s preferred settings. For authors who make a lot of files or just like to streamline processes, the Job Options file is a nice bonus. And for an author with a complex file that might be causing errors, the Job Options is the best way to help your file move through our printer’s network.
We add a folder with a cover template in multiple file types (INDD, PDF, PSD, and PNG) for each cover binding we can support in your book size. If you don’t see a cover option in the bundle, it means the book size you’ve selected doesn’t support that kind of cover.
These files are great for advanced creators, but we’ve got an even better option for novice creators. I’ll get to that next.
And here are those templates that really matter. Sized for bleed and including detailed dimensions along with our recommended margins, the interior template will help you ensure your files will print perfectly.
That’s all they are. No magic trick to lay out your book. Purely utilitarian.
Book Cover Templates Made To Order
Alright, I promised to come back to cover templates. If you’re a seasoned designer, the templates in our bundle along with the spine width guide are probably all you need. You’ll be able to create a front and back cover, then place a spine to specification between them.
But if you aren’t well-versed in page layout, Lulu can make a precise book cover template just for your book! Cool, right?
So what you do is, create your interior file, get that done, and review it thoroughly. Then upload that file to Lulu. We’ll do our file check and give you the options for paper, ink, and cover style.
After that, we’ll know enough about your project (the page count, paper type, and cover style) to make a customized template with the exact right spine. Basically, we pair your interior to a unique spine prepared to meet your page count. No more figuring out your own spine!
That purple area is the spine and it’s sized based on the page count from the file I uploaded (84 pages) and the paperweight I selected (60#). No need to use any calculations, the spine is ready to go!
We also include the barcode area to help you add your ISBN (if necessary).
Book Templates Versus Building Your Own
Okay, so if templates are really just the overall size and trim areas (broadly), then why use them?
Well, I’ve never seen a reputable publisher, printer, or service that charges you for a template. So the fact that you can easily get free book templates is probably reason enough. Why do that extra work?
There isn’t a great reason not to use templates from your printer or publisher. I can only speak for Lulu, but we offer these templates not because our creators absolutely have to have them. Rather, access to templates just makes it easier for everyone. Authors can streamline designing their books. And Lulu’s print team can dodge numerous problems that might arise from doing your own sizing.
Get Your Lulu Book Template Design Guide Bundles
Using Lulu’s templates makes formatting your book easier than ever. Get started creating your book today with a Lulu template bundle.
Paul is the Content Marketing Manager at Lulu. When he's not entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person but considers himself cat tolerant.
I loved the old cover designer. I understand the issue with flash but I don’t understand why there isn’t an option to upload an image of everything I want on the front and back of the cover. I’d rather design the images and upload them. I am having trouble getting the dimensions right using the PDF cover templates, and consequently the quality of the image also was not the same as previous versions of my book.
The current cover creator is lackluster; we’re aware of this complaint and we’re developing a much better tool. It should be ready for everyone to start using soon!
I have already created four Lulu book projects using a similar front and back cover. When I tried do do a final larger version of my earlier projects, the cover “fill in the blanks” form placed my 3-lines of title text in a default font and size off to one side of the cover, wouldn’t let me add an image to the back cover as before, and did not offer any options for the spine. Totally unacceptable, compared to the fantastic earlier cover design options from Lulu.
Sadly, our old cover designer used Flash, which is no longer an option. We’ve got a new designer in development that should be ready for users very soon though!
Does anyone have templates they can send my way? I can’t get any of the zip files to download since they’re not built correctly. Would really love to start checking over my files but can’t even get started without the templates. Already sent in a note to Support but haven’t received anything back.
I checked in our support database and I don’t see a case tied to your email address. It’s possible the case form wasn’t fully filled out or didn’t send when you attempted to create the case.
Regarding the template bundles, I’m not sure I understand what you mean by ‘not built correctly.’ There isn’t really any way to build a zip file, they’re simply a compressed set of files to make the download quick and easy.
I can’t find any other reports of issues downloading the templates.
It’s possible there’s an issue with a blocker in your browser when you download, in which case you can turn that function off or use a different browser. If the problem is unzipping the files, that’s likely an issue with your archive utility. That should be easy to reinstall based on your machine’s operating system.
Any idea when it might be fixed? Still having issues.
We’re actually working on a much more robust cover creator – think something more like Canva with our templates built in. That tool is being tested, so we should have it ready for use by authors soon!
The new book templates are a tad simplistic and seem easy to use save for one thing that I have no idea why I am having such difficulty with.
Everything is fine, except I cannot for the life of me get my rear cover text to separate into paragraphs…looks perfect in the field for adding text…but in the viewer it remains one long paragraph instead.
If I hit enter, it then adds a ? In a little box to the viewer and refuses to drop to the next line….
I have to missing something….help!
I just tried the cover creator and noticed the same issue! It has to be a bug in the editor, I’ve submitted a couple screen shots to our developer team and we’ll get this fixed asap.
But why did you remove the acceptance of word.docs? I am not able, like Silvia to upload a pdf and printe4d it from 1 to the 22nd page where it is not longer accepted. There is only text on that page…
Printers always use PDFs, so when you uploaded a DOCX file, we had to do the conversion for you. Since we had to make this process very generic so it would work with most DOCX settings, the PDFs we created during this process were not always true to the author’s intentions. It’s just not possible for an automated process to achieve the level of file fidelity and consistency necessary to make certain the printing is consistently high-quality.
Along with this, the DOCX conversion process was something we introduced over 10 years ago when options for making a quality PDF for printing were both few and expensive. Today, there are numerous ways to make PDFs for printing that compare or are cheaper than using MS Word.
These two factors led us to removing our DOCX conversion rather than updating it.
Well there is no way that i can upload a correct pdf file, from page 22 onward
I’m just getting started uploading a pdf and have a question. I am using the 6×9 lulu us trade interior template, but when I upload the pdf the book size shows US Letter 8.5 x 11″. This doesn’t seem right.
This likely means there some element in your Page Setup in Word that is not being recognized. It’s a very common issue with MS Word; you have to very carefully review the page sizing before exporting to PDF as Word will default to 8.5×11 if there is anything missing or incorrect in the settings.
Having created my cover success fully but now reviewing and downloading files successfully, it won’t now go the last step to publish. Any ideas!
That indicates something is missing in one of the steps. Go back through each one, the section that is lacking a piece of information should have a warning or indicator.
If you’re still not seeing what’s missing, reach out to our support team, I’m sure they can help!
I’ve used Lulu for more than 10 years and have uploaded over 30 books over the years. Unfortunately since the update to the website I have not been able to upload a PDF successfully. I have watched your webinar and read the PDF requirements. I am using Word on Windows 10 on a PC, I have found the bundle template for A5 in word, it opens as a blank document (not sure if the dimensions image should load) but I see the margins etc are all set so I paste a story in and upload it and still no luck. I have changed all the font to Ariel, even number of pages, Title, copyright, dedications page then story page numbered. No images, gutter at 0.51cm, all margins at 2 cm so easily inside. Tried exporting it with mirrored margins and without. Tried A5 size and also tried A5 plus the 0.125 bleed.
I have tried to simplify everything write down to basics and still cannot upload a PDF. If anyone can help I would really appreciate it as I am totally upset. A wonderful woman has written poems all her life and at the age of 90 has befriended my mum who has told her I will upload it to Lulu and see her life’s work printed. I can not give up on this project especially under lockdown it would mean so much to us all if we could get this collection of poems in print.
Thankyou so much in advance for any help, sorry for the really long message 🙂
I’m sorry to hear about the trouble uploading your PDF. I’m honestly not sure what the problem might be, as it seems that you’re doing everything right. With the template, you should be able to paste in your contents and export to PDF from MS Word without any problems.
I can guess that the issue is fonts, as that is the most common error that completely prevents PDF acceptance. One thing that can happen is that there will be ‘hidden’ fonts in your Word doc. For example, if you have have a hard return, that blank space technically has a font. If you select the text and update the font, that space may not update, resulting in a stray font that’s not even really in use. I’ve seen this trip up files numerous times.
Do you print non-English novels? like, Filipino, perhaps?
Should I resize my manuscript first before uploading it?
Do you have some discount for bulk-printing?
Sorry, If I asked questions all at once.
We’ll print in any language you’d like! There are some limitations for distributing a book based on the language, but to print and sell copies on Lulu’s Bookstore, you can use any language.
You will need to size your manuscript for the print size you want. When you upload your PDF, our system checks the page size and uses that to assign the size for your book. We’ve got lots of great resources on this blog and at help.lulu.com to help with correctly sizing and creating a PDF.
And we do offer bulk discounting! We don’t have the official contact form up yet for our bulk specialist, but you can find the link to email or call on this page: lulu.com/retailers
You can also use our pricing calculator to plan you book, see the print cost, and estimate shipping – using this tool will automatically apply our base discounts for ordering larger quantities.
Hello D. D. Stieben
It sounds as if you are creating a Standard Paperback, which indeed has a higher minimum page count than the Premium paperback format.
Thank you for bringing this discrepancy to my attention, I will update the templates to include min and max page counts for both paperback formats. Until then, you can view the min and max page counts on the book builder page.
Again, I apologize for any confusion created by this oversight.
there is a MAJOR discrepancy in the page counts, from one size to the next, from your book format guides, to your “actual” list. please,please correct this. It says the size I want can be 32 pages, which is just a bit outside my length but is doable. But when I choose that size (A5,6×9, for example) they say 48 page minimum. Do not want to add content, this is a stand alone work,not looking to add anything to it. So which is right 32, or 48.
I’d like to sell my ebooks in pdf format and I need a publisher to sign a contract for sale.
If you qualify to do it please tell me the process .
I am starting to use your 8.25×10.75 in hardcover template.
I inserted a word copy of my book.
The question is,I have a few blank pages in the template. Will it be possible to delete these later for a contiguous flow?
After reading all these comments, I would prefer to have Lulu to adapt my manuscript to ebook so I do not have to work on these details. Gina
Hi..i am an AUTHOR published through LuLu.com. For the Christmas time coming I WOULD LOVE to do a smaller version of my Gothic Gates books series and do a HARD COVER VERSION in the small new template POCKET PURSE size you offer…
any chance i can do these in HARDCOVER soon?
HOLIDAY SALES would be perfect for stocking stuffers on this for my readers…thank you Roshandra warmly writing on
I have been searching for a place to print small hardcover pocket/purse sized books. And I see a template for a paperback cover pocket sized book, but not hard cover. I feel that paperback will bend and fold too easily in a pocket or purse. When do you believe this will be an option at Lulu? Many thank yous for your services to the self-publishing world!
Could you help me? Every time I finish uploading my book a blank page is inserted.
I revised several times and ended up always with a blank page inside my book.
The provided links seem broken? Also it looks like these templates are for ms word. I’m using scrivener 2. Would you have those templates available?
I am interested in publishing my reworked thesis with Lulu but unsure of the costs involved nor the process involved. Can someone please guide me.
What does ‘casewrap’ and ‘dust jacket’ mean?
I usually use ‘perfect’.
Whilst I would probably use this preformatting for my work, I can’t see any explanations of terminology here. That prevents me from using it.
Thank you for updating the templates. I have self published on another platform and I am getting ready to publish here. Templates always save time. Thank you again for the updates.
I am trying to assess the reasons for the changes in the header, footer, margin and gutter dimensions compared to the old template, which is still included in the zip files, and what the general opinion of them is compared to the old dimensions? If anybody has an opinion or knows of a review, Id like to hear of it at dollarability at gmaail dot com.
These things are a pain in the ass to modify. Please try to make ones more suited towards fiction novels, and easier to edit. For example, add a simple PDF explaining HOW to set it up, what goes on what pages (recommended) and etc. The templates are just a pain now.
You can still submit your manuscript even if it was completed with the old template.
They should work but, contact our customer team if you have any issues with them.
talk truth to power