Well it looks like I am stuck again....I figured out how to make my cover and so far I think it is exactly as I hoped...but now for the life of me I can't figure out how to get it to become a pdf....I made it in Picture It and have saved it as jpg...I even downloaded the 995 cover creator but for the life of me I don't understand how to get my picture. If I click on file and then open....it seems like a whole different type of lingo...do you have any advise?
If I understand your situation--
You use pdf995 like a printer. That is, when it installs, it is listed as a printer. When you want to convert a file to PDF, you "Print" it, but you select pdf995 as the printer not your Epson or HP. Make sense?
If it doesn't work, you may want to try a different PDF maker. I posted a quick, subjective, test, take a look.
I did my front and back covers as .JPG text over graphics, and then used CS cover wizard with "The Palm" format to upload the front cover .JPG and the back cover .JPG (Yes I had to crop them to be close to the size of the cover) and then chose a compatible color and font for the spine. It worked well. I used Picassa 3 to put the title and back cover text over .jpg photographs. So, I didn't do the whole cover as a .PDF.
One advantage of this is the cover wizard calculates the size of the spine from my uploaded .PDF interior number of pages. So I don't have to do that.
Generally an illustration is created in a paint program (Photopaint, Photoshop, etc) and saved as a TIF, low-compression JPG, or other common format. This is then imported into a layout program like InDesign, PagePlus, etc., etc., to add the lettering, add the back cover, ISBN number, and so forth.
One the layout is finalized, the program then can "print" or export a PDF with the "bleed" (the area that will be trimmed off, allowing the picture to go right to the edge of the cover). This can then be submitted to a publisher.
PDF files have pretty much become the standard for printing books these days. However there are a number of different formats, some better than others. So it is good to read a press's FAQs or other information so the PDF you produce will look its best when going to print.
Freelance illustrator for HarperCollins, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Solomon Press, Fort Ross, Asimov's Science Fiction, and many other publishers and self-publishing authors. See my cover illustrations at: http://DuncanLong.com/art.html