|Courtney J. Hall|
Teaser images can be one of the best marketing tools at an author’s disposal. Studies show that Facebook posts and tweets containing images result in at least 87% engagement. Compared to about 4% engagement for posts that are all text, and taking into account how simple the concept, you might wonder why more authors aren’t using them.
A common reason – “I don’t know how to make them.”
While it’s true that an author should leave the cover design and website building to a pro, trust me – you don’t need a degree in graphic design to create eye-caching and appealing teaser images that will entice readers to find your books. All you need is image-editing software like Photoshop or Serif PhotoPlus, a stock photo, and an intriguing line from your book.
The line is, hands-down, the most important part. It has to be one that will give potential readers no reason not to want to read your book. It shouldn’t be too long, but it should be interesting. It shouldn’t give away any major plot points, but it should reveal enough of the story to be enticing. Take your time and hunt it out. Don’t rush through this step. And if you can’t decide which one to use, you can always use your tagline.
Once you have your line, you need a stock image to go along with it. Think about the mood you want to create and use that as a jumping-off point. For spooky or mysterious, go dark and shadowy. For romantic, go bright. Use a photo with scenery, buildings, or people – whatever complements the line you chose to showcase. You also don’t want it to be too busy, because you will be adding text to it. But perhaps the most important thing to consider when choosing your image is ownership. Don’t just grab any old photo from Google’s search results and use that to create your teaser. You’ll almost certainly end up with something you don’t have the necessary permission to use commercially, and it could also be pretty low-quality. You don’t want a blurry or pixilated teaser. Your best bet is to buy a stock photo from a site like Shutterstock, iStockphoto or Dreamstime. However, depending on your budget and how many images you plan to make, the cost can add up. So you can also use free, high-resolution Creative Commons-licensed photos from sites like Pixabay and FreePik, or use the Creative Commons search engine to find something from places like Flickr and Wikipedia that grant permission for commercial use.
Once you’ve chosen your image, open it up in your photo-editing software. If you don’t have anything on your computer besides Microsoft Paint, you can certainly use an online resource like Canva or PicMonkey – they also have stock photos – but I find them to be a bit limiting. And if cost is a concern, many companies offer free trials, like Adobe Photoshop, or even totally free versions of their software, like Serif PhotoPlus (you’ll just have to sacrifice certain functions, most of which you won’t even need to do your teaser images).
Apply any effects or filters until you have your desired look. Then use the text tool to add your line. Make sure your text is clearly visible against your photo. And make it pretty! Use an interesting font – again, being careful to use only a font that’s approved for commercial use, or one for which you have a commercial license). Use a bright color that pops against the background. Make it stand out! You want people who are mindlessly scrolling through their Twitter feed to stop on your photo, click on it, and buy your book.
When your image is as good as you can get it, save it as either a JPEG or a PNG file. And there you go! You now have an enticing image that will tease readers into wanting to read your book. Upload it to the social media page of your choice, and watch your sales explode!
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