Is Canva the Right Book Cover Designer for You?

I still remember the feel of being twelve and walking the aisles of Barnes and Noble. And no, I wasn’t a Twilight girl considering I’m–*cough*cough*–a little mature in years to have ever been a fan girl. But I do remember one particular cover with Carson McCullers (not a vampire but a celebrated American author) that impacted my mind, my spirit.

My heart.

I wanted to be her when I grew up.

It’s true, when you’re talking humans, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. And that’s also very true for literature. However, we have the opportunity to do something amazing with the work we just took FOREVER (unless you’re a little more prolific than I am) to complete.

So wouldn’t it be nice if there was some sort of online program that made that possible?

Fortunately, we’re in luck.

Canva for Book Cover Design

I’ve been using Canva since the site rolled out and even before their book cover designer was a surefire thing.

And I’ve LOVED it since day one.

Canva is an online designer that allows you to make everything from logos to post cards and is incredibly user-friendly.

In short: you definitely don’t have to be a skilled graphic designer to get the hang of it.

So let’s talk the book cover design option specifically.

When you’re on their home page just type “book covers” in the search bar, and you can choose from a ton of FREE book covers that you can edit. OR you can choose “Blank” and create your own from scratch.

Either way you choose, you’ll be brought to a screen where you can change the background, update the font, and/or tweak the different elements on the cover (like maybe you want to add a fun border around your title).

You can get lost here on this page for hours and it will feel like seconds!

Ready to download your final book cover? Simply click the “Download” button in the upper right-hand corner and choose the image type that works best for you (JPEG, PNG, PDF, etc.).

Before you hit that download button, you have a few options. WEIGH THEM CAREFULLY. Since you’re essentially using a Canva design on a product you’ll be selling (i.e. your book), be sure you understand the different license agreements that allow you to do so.

Let’s break those down now.

Which Canva License Agreement Do I Need?

Canva’s license agreement page gives you an exceptional breakdown of their different licenses and how you can use their images as an author:

  • If you’ve used a free cover and haven’t paid for any extra elements, you can only use the cover for your ebook.
  • If you want to use the cover for a print version of your book, you need to purchase at least one element for the cover ($1) for a print run of up to 2,000 copies.
  • Are you a mega-selling machine? No worries! You can purchase the multi-use license for $10 that will allow you to do a print run of up to 250,000 copies.
  • But maybe we have the next J.K. Rowling on our hands. Awesome! Purchase the extended license for $100, and you’ll be good to go!

How to Purchase a Canva License for Your Book Cover Design

These licensing purchase options are all available when you click that “Download” button. Simply click it, scroll down to “Purchase Premium Elements, hit the little down arrow next to “1 x premium image” and then choose which license you’d like.

It’s that easy!

Canva Book Cover Examples

I definitely had a little too much fun creating mock ups for A Violent Hope. Here are a few covers I created in Canva for it:

I’ll be doing an official cover reveal Monday (June 29th) on my Facebook page, so be sure to join. My followers having been helping me with this huge decision, and I’d love for you to join the Believable Books support team!

Quick reminder: you’ll definitely need a spine and back cover, too, for your print book. Good news is that Canva allows you to create custom dimensions so you can create both of these and use the same background as your cover so they match nicely.

So is canva a great book cover designer? It definitely gets my vote!


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Published by Ericka Clay

Hey, I'm Ericka! I'm a traditionally (and self) published novelist, former atheist, and current Christian. I know. I just finished writing my super gritty novel, a Violent Hope, that isn't the typical, cavity-inducing Christian fiction. So I currently find myself between a rock and a hard place when trying to find a publisher. What’s a girl to do? Publish the book herself! I'm creating my own imprint (Believable Books) and blogging every detail about it at Come learn more about my process and my novel, A Violent Hope. And don't forget to say "hey" when you see me online. Check me out at @erickatheauthor on Facebook.

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