One limitation that really bothered me is that I can't simply stick elements anywhere I want to. The subtitle and my photo have to go precisely where the template designer decided they should go. My font choices are finite. I can't decide to have a shorter version of the title on the spine so it appears in bigger type. I can't have a logo on the spine. On the back cover, I can't choose justification, or even insert italics or boldface or drop caps.
Below are two test covers using CreateSpace templates and one of their free photos, of some kind of machinery. The top cover has the photo wrapping around onto the spine and rear cover. The lower cover is more conventional, except for the vertical title text on the front cover. Neither of these covers will win awards, but they're better than many amateur scratch-built designs.
Below on the left is a test cover made with a CreateSpace template and one of their free photos. On the right is an actual book I published through CreateSpace with the same template, and photos from Fotolia.com. I changed the color and typefaces.
I've developed a family of books aimed at self-publishers. Each recent book has my company logo and the tagline, "Create Better Books with the Silver Sands Publishing Series" across the top of the front cover.
So do I.
Barbara Barth is the extremely talented author of Confessions of the Unfaithful Widow. Barbara has SIX dogs, and has been urging me to put a dog on the cover of one of my books. OK, Barbara, you win.