[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]
I'm roughly 80 percent done with a book of poems that I plan to publish using Amazon. The last time I did this was about three years ago, and my book garnered me a few thousand dollars. I've stopped trying to sell that book or market it heavily because I grew tired of it, and then I started hating it. With time comes growth, and artistically speaking, I usually don't love my old pieces of writing.
But, I've gone through the process of creating books on Amazon more than once, and this blog will outline how to make a professional looking book cover by yourself using Canva. I highly recommend paying for Canva Pro ($14.99/month) for access to premium design tools and the ability to resize images.
First things first, you'll need an Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account. Anyone can set one up in a few minutes, and this will allow you to sell your book or eBook in any Amazon marketplace (not just in the country you happen to live in). Once you have a KDP account, toggle to your "bookshelf" and hit the yellow "create" button.
The first step of the setup "paperback details," is simple: book title, author name, description, category, keywords, etc. The second step is where you upload your books content, as well as select trim size, ink/paper type, and publication date. Small hint: the standard ink/paper type is cream paper with either black and white or colored interior. Selecting color printing costs more but will look better if your book contains images.
Amazon provides templates for both a book manuscript (helpful so you can understand trim size, so text isn't compromised during printing), and templates for book covers.
Input your books basic dimensions:
And download your template:
This is what it will look like:
Now, login to Canva and click "Create a Design." Select "Custom Size," referring to the sizing shown in Amazon KDP (IMAGE6). In my case, the custom size was 12.5 by 9.25 inches.
Now you're in Canva. Input your dimension into the custom sizing (again, my 6x9inch book covers dimensions translate to 12.5 by 9.25, based on the number of pages and including trim).
Overlay the template you downloaded from Amazon (the one that looks like a book cover), and start customizing. Canva Pro gives you access to more designs, images, and text types than the free version of Canva. I utilized a custom color scheme and image to create the book cover below. I used the template to place the spine text, title, and back cover elements in the correct place.
When saving the book cover, be sure to save as "PDF print." A PNG will not work. Now that it's saved, go back to Amazon KDP and upload the cover in the "paperback content" section of your book setup.
In the past, I've asked friends to help me design a book cover, or I've hired someone from Fiverr. Canva makes it easy to produce the content you want at an extremely affordable price.