It’s easy to create simple yet stunning romance and erotica covers with Canva for free in only a few minutes. Making your own covers allows you to personalize them so they’re exactly what you want and you don’t have to pay any money to a cover designer. Even if you don’t have any design experience and have never made a book cover before, you still don’t need to spend a lot of time making your own cover with Canva. I’ll show you step by step how to create an eye-catching novel cover that looks professional and will only take you about five to ten minutes to make.
The Five Minute Cover
To make a cover in only a few minutes you need to start with an image that already has exactly what you want so you don’t have to waste time or money editing the photo in Photoshop or another program. You don’t have to go crazy by trying to make an extremely unique cover; it may end up looking messy and unprofessional. Most of the time, less is more for a book cover.
Many contemporary romance and erotica covers feature a simple black and white photo. It exudes sexiness and mystery and is super easy to make into a book cover. Most covers in either genre feature romantic couples or a lone male figure.
See my post on where to find royalty-free, completely free photos for your romance or erotica cover HERE.
For my sample cover, I went to Pixabay and searched “business man” to create a cover for a billionaire series, a very popular subgenre in both romance and erotica. On the first page of results, one photo clearly stood out to me.
The man in the picture is facing away from the camera, but he still looks powerful in profile and wears a well-fitting suit. The black and white photo is striking, with its depth of shadow and it’s perfect for pasting right onto a book cover because there’s a simple black background. Canva Pro has an option to make a background transparent, so if you do have a busy background you can edit it there. With this photo, I already have enough room to add an author’s name and title without obscuring the photo or editing it.
I saved the photo to my computer and uploaded it to Canva by clicking the Uploads icon on the left-hand side of the screen and then clicking the blue “Upload an Image” button. Then, I clicked the photo once so it transferred onto my blank book cover template and then resized it so it fit on the entire cover.
The next step was to add my title and author’s name. I clicked on the Text icon on the left side of the screen and chose “Add a heading.” I changed the color from black to white so I could see it on my cover. Canva has an enormous selection of colors to choose from. I picked a font I liked for the author name and moved it to the top of the cover and centered it. For the title, I wanted to use two different fonts to make it stand out so I created the words separately. I started with “Billionaire” in one font, and then added another text box for the rest of the title.
I spent more time deciding on fonts than I did to make the cover itself. Many erotica novels are part of a series, so I added in the series and book number. It’s a bit difficult to see here because I made the image smaller, but it’s a nice way for readers to keep track of your titles and the order they should read them.
The Ten Minute Cover
When you feel comfortable making the five minute cover or want more personalization, you can start to experiment with the effects on Canva. I choose another photo from Pixabay and uploaded it to Canva.
The above screenshot shows the black and white photo after I chose a filter for it. To do this, I clicked on the photo and chose “Filter” (which is highlighted gray above). I chose “Drama” to give it a blue tint and increased the intensity just a bit.
I wanted to add some smoke effects so I searched for a free image that had a transparent background. The image was free, but not royalty-free, so I need to give attribution to the website where I found it. I used the same filter on the smoke and copied the image a few times so it looked like it was surrounding my cover model.
Then I added the title and author name. After downloading my finished cover, I decided to add another effect. I searched in Canva under the Elements tab for a cityscape and chose a free black and white photo that I then used the same filter for.
And that’s how easy it is to make a professional romance or erotica cover yourself for free!