Welcome to an entire month of Top 5 Tips for Authors!
Every day this month my friends and I will bring you a new set of Top 5 Tips to help you along on your author journey. 2017 was a year of change in the Indie author world for sure. So many happenings. So many new things to learn. So many old things that didn’t quite do what you’d hoped. Well, every day is a new day. And every year is a new year. So we hope that this month’s worth of tips will get you the kick start you need to make 2018 your best yet and please feel free to ask questions and leave comments.
JA Motherfucking Huss is the NYT bestselling author of 321 and has been on the USA Today Bestsellers list eighteen times. She writes dark shit that isn’t for everyone but once in a while she gets a joke in her that comes out as a romantic comedy. She’s a workaholic who lives on a ranch in Colorado. (This is her blog, BTW, so her links are all over the goddamned place so I’m not gonna post one here.)
Making Teaser Graphics
Humans are visual animals, it’s just the way we’re made. So giving your readers a visual to help them understand your book is a pretty good marketing tip. This is a very common thing in the romance genre, but every reader will stop scrolling on Facebook to look at a beautiful/intriguing picture. So it doesn’t matter if you write cozy mysteries of horror, teaser graphics can get you new eyeballs. So here’s my top 5 tips for making a graphic that works.
1 USE THE RIGHT SIZES
Facebook ads run off the standard rectangle of 1200×628 pixels, so if you want to run ads with your teaser, make sure you use this size. If you don’t know how to size an image and you use Photoshop, just click on File–>New and up pops this handy little window. Fill it out just like this.
If you want a graphic for Instagram you can change it to 1200×1200 instead of 1200×628. That will make it square. Twitter on the phone–which is where most people view it—favors a rectangle like Facebook. But you can put up square pics too.
You can make your graphics any size you want, but this just makes like easy if you want to run an ad.
2 HAVE A PRETTY EREADER GRAPHIC FOR YOUR COVER
I prefer the eReader graphic myself. I usually make some 3-d paperbacks too, but I just think the eReader looks slick. So that’s the one I use the most.
How to make a 3-d eReader graphic of your cover? I use Cover Action Pro, but that’s kinda pricey (they are having a sale right now) There are ton of places on the web that have free mock-ups. They’re not as nice as CAP, but they’re not bad.
If you don’t have Photpshop, but have access to your cover, you can do it online for a fee. I used this one a few times just to check it out and it’s not bad. But I prefer to have all the customization options that CAP gives me.
3 KEEP YOUR TEXT TO A MINIMUM
If you want to run ads, Facebook has a text policy. You can’t have more than 20% text to your graphic. People don’t read the text, remember, it’s really the visual they’re looking at. And while I think typography is an art in and of itself, so typography can be just as beautiful as an image, FB does not agree. So put your name on there, or your title, or a sale price, or a short announcement, or a short teaser quote from the book. SHORT being the key word here.
4 IF YOU DO USE TEXT, MAKE IT PRETTY
There is nothing more boring than a san serif font in white. So if you’re going to use a lot of text (because you’re not gonna run ads with this graphic, so you can use as much as you want) then really put a lot of effort into it. use different colors, different fonts in combination (but not too many that it’s busy) and different sizes. Here’s a few examples…
5 CHOOSE THE RIGHT IMAGE
You should know what draws your readers in. You should know your genre. You should know what your book is about. The hard part of making a great teaser graphic is coming up with ONE IMAGE that satisfies all three requirements. Take your time finding an image. And for fuck’s sake, DO NOT STEAL IMAGES OFF THE INTERNET. Pay the artists who make this art. You don’t like it when people steal shit from you, so you should not steal from other people either. Get an account at Shutterstock, or Pond5, or 123RF, or Getty, if you have lots of money to burn. Just get a stock art account if you’re gonna make teasers. I know it’s expensive, but those artists deserve that money. And you just have to buy what you can afford.
6 BE DIFFERENT BUT SAME
This is really the best advice for anything in publishing. Think about what you like to read. You like something specific. But you don’t want to read the same book over and over again, so you go looking for something new. But you still want that story you love. That’s same but different. And it applies to graphics too. Covers as well. People want to look at your graphic or cover and says, YES! That’s what I like to read. And also, YES! That sound original and interesting.
Being too original isn’t a good thing. Trust me. So try to be different but same.