Authors tend to think in black and white. We are words-on-paper people who weave our worlds for readers in print. However, when sharing book posts on the Internet, we need to do better in regard to the art we use, myself included.
Think of how much time and effort you spend choosing cover art for your books, an often-laborious task that has us second-guessing our choices, even the moment after we hit the send button giving the final go ahead.
In the Huffington Post story, “Yes, We Really Do Judge Books by Their Cover,” Smashwords founder Mark Coker said, “A book’s cover is the first thing a potential reader sees and it can make a lasting impression. Our brains are wired to process images faster than words. When we see an image, it makes us feel something. A great cover (can) help the reader instantly recognize that this book is for them.”
The same idea holds true for blog posts. The picture you share is what catches the reader’s eye, not your clever verbiage. So, if you post a fuzzy photo or one that looks amateurish, the chances of readers getting to the meat of your post lessen dramatically.
Authors should want to be perceived as professionals, even if they’re writing that novel in the wee hours after the kids are put to bed and before that ear-splitting alarm signals it’s time to head off to their day job. Shoddy artwork instantly symbolizes the blogger is an amateur.
“But I’m not a photographer,” I can hear you mumble.
No worries, because we live in the world of Google images. However, it’s extremely important that when you scan those images, looking for just the right fit for your post, you do a safe search. It’s simple. Just enter in the type of picture you’re looking for, then click on images. On the tool bar, you’ll see Settings. Click and scroll down to Advanced Search. At the bottom of the page you’ll see Usage Rights. Because you’re an author selling books, you’ll need to choose Free to Use or Share, Even Commercially. Then go back to your images. While the choices are significantly pared down, the images remaining are free to use, without the risk of running afoul of the art’s owner, an adventure that might include lawyers and lawsuits and a big hit to your wallet.
You must then size your art. Often, authors post art that’s too small, leading to those blurred pictures. And remember, different social media platforms require different sizes of art. What looks great on Twitter might be blurred Facebook. For an in-depth look at sizing for various social media platforms, check out https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-image-sizes/.
Before taking your own pictures to post, locate images you’d like to emulate online. Then read David Peterson’s “ Six Classic Design Elements for Outstanding Photographs”: http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/2679/six-classic-design-elements-for-outstanding-photographs/.
Note that it’s the little things that can ruin a picture. Take food photos, which are notoriously tough to shoot. Is the tablecloth the food rests on wrinkled? Is there an errant dab of catsup on the plate? Are there shadows covering those scrumptious cookies? “The Serious Eats Guide to Food Photography” might help: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/03/beginners-guide-to-food-photography.html.
For those of you who are, like me, a bit older, try not to be scared off by the technology. Over the course of your lives, you learned new things. You got better at them with practice. The same applies here.
If you peruse the websites of well-known, successful authors, you’ll see the art is first rate. You’ve labored vigorously to perfect your writing. It makes sense than, if you want people to find your books, you’ll do the same with those images you’re using to market your work.
Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other? The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.