Monday, June 22, 2015

Why Authors Need Graphics


While by nature authors are creative, many are more comfortable with stringing together words rather than images. If you’re not currently using graphics to help promote your writing, you should. Here are three primary reasons why.

Graphics Are Quicker

Let’s face it, these days everyone is busy. Well, maybe not the lady I see walking her dog past my window at least four times a day, but everyone else is very busy. Unfortunately, many of us are also addicted to social media, which can suck up time faster than a universal sized Hoover (anyone else thinking about Spaceballs when you read that line??)

Using graphics is a great way to solve this issue. Readers know they can stop to look at your graphic post because all the information is right there. They know it will only take them seconds to look at it, rather than the unknown minutes it would take to read a post with only text.

Graphics Stand Out

Building on our society’s heavy dependence on social media, graphics have a major advantage over text posts. When someone is scrolling through one of their social media sites, an image is much more likely to grab their attention. I know on my personal Facebook page, I often quickly scroll down my newsfeed and it’s the graphics that grab my attention the most.

Graphics Are More Likely to be Shared

Because graphics are quicker and stand out, people are much more likely to share them over a text post. And that’s what you want—people sharing your information.

In addition to the fact that graphics make it easier to share a post, it’s also more likely that a graphics post will reach more of your Facebook readers than some of your text posts, especially those that have links.

Here’s a real example from my own experience. Around spring break time, I posted to my Facebook page about my new novel Shattered Angel with a link to Amazon. It showed the book cover as an image, however it was through a link. I did something similar at the start of summer, but with only a graphic and some text—no link. The graphic below shows you how different my numbers were for reach, likes and shares. I’ve done enough experimenting and research to feel confident it was the Amazon link that kept my first post from reaching more people. In addition, I believe the graphic was shared more because it felt less like a sales push and more like a fun graphic to share.



I can tell that I've convinced you of the need to use graphics (at least those of you who weren’t there before). Now you might be wondering how you should use them, and how to create them.

I create my graphics in a few different ways. For one, I have Photoshop and use it to create some of them (the graphic above was created in Photoshop). I know many of you don’t have Photoshop, or similar software, so my recommendation is to use Canva.com

If you haven’t used Canva, well I’ll just say that you’re missing out. You can create some very good graphics for free, and others for just a few bucks. And better yet, it's very easy to use! You don't need high-tech skills to create an awesome graphic in Canva.

Here are some graphics I’ve created, where I created them, and how I used them.



This image was created using Canva. It cost me a total of $1, simply because I wanted a more custom image as the background. I could have used a plain background and it would have been free. As you saw in my earlier graphic, I used this on my Facebook page.



This image was created using Photoshop. I used a custom photograph that my cousin took just for this purpose. I then took a quote from my novel and added it to the image. I posted it on my different social media sites prior to the release of Shattered Angel. I’ll continue to post it periodically to generate awareness.



I created this graphic using Canva, and it was free. I uploaded the image of my book cover and the necklace, then added the text. I used this on my social media sites to promote my launch giveaway.



I actually created this image through a different software I have (a scrapbooking software I sometimes use to create graphics), but it could easily be done using Photoshop or Canva. I used this for a Facebook ad (Canva even has an option for a Facebook ad, which means it's already sized appropriately for the task). I simply cropped a section of a the book cover, enlarged it and changed the opacity for the background. I then placed the cover in the center, with a back frame to set the cover off from the background image.



This image was created using Canva. It also cost me $1 because I wanted a custom background. I haven’t used this one yet, but I will use it to promote awareness of my 4th book since this quote sums up the theme of the book very well.



This image was created using Canva, and it was free. I uploaded an image that I created (using Photoshop) for the background, changed the opacity and then added the text. Now, this is for a site I just launched that is not related to my author business, but I wanted to show you this because I used the Facebook cover option to create it—awesome! It even had a grayed out box in the template showing where the profile picture would be located so I was able to design around it. The only thing it didn’t show were the locations of the Like and Message buttons that appear in the bottom right side of the cover photo. I did have to go back in and shift the text up, but that was the only complication. There is also a Twitter cover option and I created a similar image for our Twitter account.



This image was created using Canva, and it was free. I uploaded an image from Death to the Stock Photo (another site you should use if you’re not), sized it the way I wanted, and then added my text. I used this as a header for one of my blog posts.

I could show you more, but I think you get the idea. With the availability of Canva, you really have no excuse to not be using graphics as much as possible.

Later this week, Kimberly is going to expand on this post by telling you how she used Canva to create a cover for her short-story. That’s right, a cover! And personally I think it looks better than many covers I’ve seen from some ‘professional’ designers.

Have you used Canva? Any other easy to use graphic sites out there we should know about?

~Carrie


21 comments:

  1. I JUST spend hours making teasers and graphics this weekend for my new release out today and it's true...the more you do it, the easier it becomes. I use PicMonkey, which is free to use, although you have to get photos from somewhere and there's the pesky copyright laws to keep in mind. Look out for the deals on stock photos from DepositPhotos. They had one last week for 100 photos for $39, which is a steal. It's worth noting that unauthorized use of actors' photos in teasers *could* result in someone suing you. There was a pretty high-profile case involving a popular writer a couple of years ago when she was sued by someone for this -- and lost.

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    1. Great point, Brenda! I don't use random photos from the Internet. As an author, I'd hate it if someone pirated my work and I don't want to do the same to someone else. I'll have to check out PicMonkey and DepositPhotos.

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  2. I use memegenerator when I make memes, but I don't really do it that often. And I suppose you could probably get the same effect with Microsoft Paint LOL.

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    1. I love making memes - so much fun. :-) I usually do that in one of the photo editing programs I have - I don't use MS Paint, but you're probably right!

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  3. I love this post! It's so important authors learn to use graphics to promote their work.

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    1. I'll talk about my experiences using Canva for Thursday.

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    2. Thanks, Kimberly! I can't wait to read your post on Thursday!

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  4. Great post, Carrie! I love messing around with graphics :-) They make things look so much more professional! And pretty...

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    1. Thanks, Mary! I also love making them - although sometimes I get a bit carried away and spend too much time playing around!

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  5. I use GIMP for all my graphics needs! It's a free counterpart to Photoshop!

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    1. I've not tried that one either - thanks! (and I also don't know why you reply posted three times - It's happened to be before too though!)

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  8. Not sure why that posted three times....

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  9. I'm like a graphic virgin, so this really helped me, Carrie, Thanks! Going off to Canva right now to check it out. Great post!

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    1. graphics virgin, not "graphic virgin"... Okay, I'll just stop while I'm behind...

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    2. Thanks for this - I needed the laugh!

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  10. I try to incorporate graphics as much as possible in my promotions and on Twitter. Great post, Carrie

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    1. Thanks, Karissa! I've started using more graphics in my Twitter posts as well. I think this is a place where graphics really stand out.

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