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Canva is a free website that allows you to create graphical elements and can be used for creating book interiors and covers.
Affinity Designer
Affinity Designer is a paid program, with very powerful features. This is just a basic tutorial.
KDP Cover Design
About Lesson

Visit Canva (affiliate link) and sign up for a free account.

Now you need to decide on the size of the book you want to create the cover for. The usual one for beginners is the 6×9 inch notebook. You can create and download a cover here. Enter your book information, calculate dimensions and then download the template. The usual amount of pages for a notebook is around 120, but this is just a guide, it’s up to you:

KDP book template

The file you download will be a .zip file with PDF and PNG files. Extract the PNG file somewhere easily accessed, maybe on your desktop. We are going to upload this file to Canva, but first, you need to take note of the overall dimensions of the cover:

KDP template dimensions

Please note: PNG files are very large and may not upload to Canva. Open up the downloaded PNG file in whichever graphics program you have installed, such as Paint or Gimp, and save it as a JPG file, instead.

In Canva, click ‘Create a design’ at the top-right of the page:

Canva - create a design, step 1

Click 'Create a design' at the top-right of the page. We are going to import a template to use:

Now you need to create a custom image in inches or millimetres, using the overall dimensions you noted earlier:

Create new design in Canva

Upload the cover template you downloaded from Amazon.:

Upload to Canva

The black panel at the left-hand side is where you can add design elements, such as a background, text, images etc.  Select a background you like. You can also use one from a website such as Pixabay if Canva doesn’t have any that you like. Once you’ve inserted your background by clicking on the background image, click on the uploaded cover image to insert that also:

Canva - insert background

Don’t resize the template, yet. Make it partially transparent so you can see what you are doing, and then resize it. You do need this image as you can see where the guidelines and barcode positions are for the book cover you are creating:

Canva transparency

Canva = resize transparent image

Once you’ve finished adding your elements and any text you want:

Canva - Finished elements

Click on the background and click the delete button on your keyboard to delete the top file, which was your book template:

Canva finished design

Now download it as a high-quality PDF file:

Canva - download PDF

My design is very, very simple, I’m sure you can come up with something much better with practice! There are lots of Canva tutorials out there, this one is very basic, but this will work for any size book cover you want to create, just as long as you know how many pages you are going to have inside the book. You could colour the spine of the book and/or have images on the back cover; just experiment and take your time. 🙂

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