Canva is my new favorite picture editing website. The site offers not only free or $1 high quality pictures, fonts, backgrounds and other goodies, it also offers templates. One of the best templates for writers is the ebook cover. You can make a high quality ebook cover for free or for as little as $1. Yes, you read that right, $1.
Here's the one I made for my contemporary romance novella Rock n' Roll Reunion. I'd received the rights back to this novella from the original publisher and I needed a new cover for Amazon and Smashwords. Canva was perfect for me.
Canva offers a selection of paid and free templates as well as paid and free pre-made ebook covers. If you're awful with graphics, simply plug your title and name into one of the pre-made covers, pay the $1 for the right to use it, and you're off. If you want to make your own cover, choose the ebook cover template and get ready to have some fun.
To use Canva to create your own ebook design, first, choose the ebook template, then pick your photo. Canva offers thousands of stock photos, all for $1 each, that you can search to find the perfect one for your book. Get creative with your keywords when you search. For example, if you're looking for a woman in a dress also use the term gown, formal attire etc.
Photo finding tip: If you've loaded too many picture because of multiple search terms, save your work and then refresh the page. This will clear the photos.
Sadly, Canva does not allow you to save pictures for future use. If you find one that you want to use in the future, click on the i in the corner of the picture and copy and paste the search terms to another document. It will make it easier to find the photo the next time you're designing.
If you're doing covers for contemporary novels and novellas, you'll have a much better photo selection to choose from. If you're doing historical covers, it'll be a little more time consuming for you to find pictures that might work. However, the great thing about Canva is that you can upload your own pictures. If you purchase a historical picture elsewhere you can still use it in Canva to create a cover.
To make the cover for my Regency romance novella, A Necessary Deception, I had to search through a lot of pictures until I found this one. It was perfect to help convey the hint of intrigue in this story about reunited lovers and the heroine's secret.
Once you find the perfect photo you can crop it, run it through a filter, and tinker with it to make it just right. You can change it even more by clicking on the advanced settings under filter and changing the contrast, brightness etc. What you cannot do for $1 is take it into Photoshop and dramatically alter it but you can do basic editing in Canva. According to the licensing agreement, you can use the picture royalty free for ebooks. If you need it for print there is a limit of 2000 copies but you can review their multi-use agreements, and other user agreements to see how they deal with this https://about.canva.com/license-agreements/onetime/
After your photo is the way you want it, choose a font you love and create your title and name. Most fonts and elements are free, including the fancy ones people have created, but there are some additional elements that you can purchase for $1.
Once you create the cover you love, you can download a watermarked sample of it. This is a great way to check to make sure it's correct or to email it to friends to get their opinion.
When you finally have the cover the way you want it, you pay for each $1 element you used then download the finished product. You then have 24 hours to edit it in case you wish to change something.
So check out what you can do on Canva. If nothing else, you can have fun making up covers for the stories you haven't written yet. It's a great way to gain inspiration for future ebooks.
To see more covers of my novels and novellas, some of which I created, some of which I didn't, please check out my books.
For other writing tips and tricks click here and here.