August #AuthorTip: Make Friends with Multimedia

Continuing this post series with a tip on how to grab attention and hold it:

A picture says a thousand words. Videos speak volumes. Both of these mediums can be highly effective means of grabbing someone’s attention, and you should utilize them whenever possible when promoting yourself and your books.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Let the images speak for themselves. Don’t overwhelm them with text, unless that text is the point (i.e. as quote graphics).
  2. Put your best foot forward. Lead with the most impressive image/video to make sure it gets seen. Keep in mind that your video will only have a few seconds to grab a viewer’s attention, so make them count, and try to keep it under 60 seconds. 30, if you can.
  3. Quality matters. Invest in quality content and always go for the highest resolution available–it gives you more room to play and makes a more powerful impact.
  4. If you don’t own the license, don’t use the image/video! Always read the license agreements. They vary. If you’re just grabbing images from Google, Pinterest, or other such sources, you are breaking the law, and you can and likely will get sued for massive damages.
  5. Consolidate your message and stick to a theme. This is brand development. It’s why companies use logos and slap them on everything. When you present yourself and your books in a uniform way, it becomes recognizable and instantly identifiable. That’s what you want.

For a list of free and low-cost resources and tools, check out my Resources page. Keep in mind, this page is only meant to provide a starting point and in no way absolves you from doing your own research into licenses and permissions of those resources.

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August #AuthorTip: First Impressions Matter

Continuing this post series with a tip for making a great first impression with your book:

They say not to judge a book by its cover. They say it because pretty much everyone judges books by their cover. Your book cover is the first thing people see of your book. If you miss this chance to make a fantastic first impression and grab their interest, they won’t bother finding out more. That means your book cover is actually an important, functional piece of your book, and should be treated as such.

Believe it or not, there are some rules, explicit and unspoken, about what your cover should look like:

  1. DIMENSIONS: Your eBook has a little leeway on dimensions, but will usually be required to be a minimum width/height to be used with stores/distributors. Learn what that minimum is and make sure your cover is large enough to pass scrutiny. Your print cover will need to be sized precisely down to the fraction of an inch for printing. Keep in mind its 3 parts: front cover, spine, and back cover. All three should fit together in a cohesive way and fit snugly around your book so the spine art doesn’t slip out onto the front or back covers and vice versa.
  2. THEME: You may or may not realize it, but different genres have differently themed covers. This serves an additional purpose of letting readers know at a glance what type of book they’re buying. You should research your genre to check out the current trend and make sure your cover art is genre-appropriate. In rare instances, going outside the norm can be a good thing. Mostly, though, it just confuses people.
  3. QUALITY: “Good enough” is never good enough. Having a Canva account does not automatically make you a graphic designer. Making a great cover is part art, part science, and part magic and the industry bar is set high. If you’re making your own cover, don’t just look at it as its own thing. Place it next to a bestseller in the same genre and compare the two side by side, because that’s the book you’re competing against, and the standard you should aim for. If your cover falls short, it’s in your best interest to either redo it or hire a professional.
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