Probably the thing that worries me most about self-publishing my second book is the cover. Not in the “will people love it” sense – but in the “what if I can’t get it to look how I want” sense, in the “what if I royally mess up the dimensions” sense.
I know – I know there are folks that you can pay to create covers for you (and that a LOT of places recommend not creating your own covers for various reasons). I get that. But I also know a lot of folks don’t have the money to pay for such work (if they are at the cover stage, they’ve probably already paid a chunk of money for editing). So I thought I’d share a couple resources that I’ve come across that are incredibly helpful. These resources are more about the particulars (like dimensions) of the cover rather than the design of it.
The first thing I would recommend is getting a Canva account if you haven’t already. You don’t need a pro account in order to design within Canva, though if you intend to use their images, you will be limited without it. If you are planning to use an image you own the rights to (either you have created it yourself or you have paid someone to create it), then no need to pay for the pro version. (If you are an author with social media and don’t already have a Canva account, trust me – it can be your new best friend. So easy, even without the paid version, to create posts for things like Instagram or Facebook; you can also create flyers and bookmarks – the Canva world is your oyster.)
The first resource is How to Create a Book Cover Using Canva. This will walk you through step by step, including signing up for Canva. So if you are worried because you’re a beginner, there’s no need. They’ve got you here.
The most important piece of information you will need in order to create your cover will be how many pages your book will be. (This means that you will have already had to format it.) Once you have that, you can hop over to How large should my cover be? After a few clicks for your specifications, click calculate – this will let you know how large the spine needs to be.
If you’re not at the stage where you know how many pages/how big to make the spine, I’d still recommend playing around in Canva, getting to know the program. Maybe even create a cover you’d like to have. You can then workshop it. Then, once you do have the size of the spine, you’re ready to go.