I am in the process of polishing my first book cover, which I’ve created for my first poetry chapbook, FANTASTICAL FOR REAL. I’m excited to reveal it in the coming weeks, and I hope you’ll stop by to check it out when the time comes! Today, I want to share resources that helped me design it.

If you follow my @riverblossomspress page on Instagram, you may have read my post about using Canva for book cover design. I use Canva to create slides for my accounts on Instagram. It is intuitive, easy-to-use, and, much of it can be used for free. But that aspect of it—free—gave me pause when it came to using Canva to create a book cover. Why? Because I’ll be selling my book.

I know that elements and photos within Canva do not belong to me. They’re property of Canva, and so anyone using Canva must follow their Terms and Conditions and License Agreements if they choose to use Canva’s elements, photos, or fonts in their cover design. I’ll be selling books with my book cover, so I’d rather keep things as simple as possible for myself. 

I’ve chosen to use Adobe Photoshop to create my book cover for two reasons: 1) I want only one set of Terms and Conditions that I need to follow and 2) because Adobe Photoshop allows me greater control over cover design and typography.

I’m a novice, and I’m sure there are even better tutorials and blog articles out there, but here are some that I found helpful in creating the cover design that I’ll be revealing later this month. If you’re planning to try your hand at cover design, here are some helpful resources I uncovered while working to make sure that what I create is not only legal but looks great, too!

As a serious hobby photographer, I do not plan to use stock photos in books published by River Blossoms Press, but I will need to use fonts and applications created by others in order to create my books. Here is some helpful information about ownership, use, and copyright:

Fonts. I must have permission to use them, so I chose the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan. It is affordable and meets my current creative needs. Visit adobe.com for information.

Of course, the typeface I choose must look its best, so how do I do that? Via learning:

Typeface and Font for Book Covers

Type: Point Size for the Best Book Covers

Type: Contrast & Legibility for Great Book Covers

Kerning and Leading: Spacing Letters and Lines on Book Covers

And the photographer in me hopes my finished covers will be eye-catching and attract readers:

Best Colors for Book Covers

Book Covers and Layout Part 1: Rule of Thirds & Diagonal Scan

Book Covers and Layout Part 2: Beyond the Rule of Thirds

Book Covers that Increase Book Sales

After I learned what makes a beautiful book cover, I needed to try to create it. I found a helpful video about how to create a reusable KDP cover template in photoshop, and then I started playing on my computer: 

Adobe Photoshop has a rather steep learning curve, so I spent many hours searching for information about how to use the program. I will not be sharing that information here because it is specific, and I feel it is best for a designer to look up what they need when they need it (like I did). I will share, however, that I quickly learned through free online resources and my own trial-and-error, so I’m confident that any tenacious do-it-yourselfer can make a beautiful cover in Adobe Photoshop.

So, now I’m curious about you. Have you ever designed a book cover or something similar? If so, which program(s) did you use and would you recommend them? Do you have any suggestions for me to consider as I learn and grow as a do-it-yourself designer?