Most traditionally published authors rarely speak of marketing as all their advertising is carried out by their publisher. If you're taking the self-published route to authoring, you won't have this luxury. As a result, it's important to take care when designing your advertisements. Your book will be competing with many, many others, both traditionally and self-published, and you'll have to work hard to stand out if you don't have the experience traditional publishing houses have. Whether you'll be advertising your book on social media, your book's sales platform, or in a print magazine or newspaper, here are 3 tips that will help you create an ad graphic that works.
Play on Emotions
Most avid readers love books because of the emotional journey they take you on. Conveying these emotions in your book ads is crucial if you want to push your audience to purchase. Think about your book's tone, the type of reader you're targeting and the overall mood you want to get across when it comes to designing your ad. For example, for a psychological mystery aimed at taking male readers on a thrilling journey, you'll want to use sharp, action-filled images and dark, cool colours like black and blue. If your book is a cosy romance read set in a small village, aim for a softer feel with script fonts, feminine colours, and images that evoke a natural, countryside feel. Designing ads like this will get your potential readers feeling the emotions your book will evolve as soon as they see the graphic, pushing them to click through to the sales page and buy your story.
Use Social Proof
Social proof refers to the influence that the opinions of other people who have bought your book can have on potential new buyers. For authors, social proof usually comes in the form of positive reviews that encourage readers to make a purchase. As many advertising platforms prefer users to avoid text in their ad images, you may be wondering how it's possible to include social proof in your graphic. Luckily, there are two ways you can insert proof into your image without upsetting your ad platforms. The first is by using stars; if your book is on a platform where it has a 5-star rating, adding an image of those 5 stars to your ad graphic will convey those positive reviews. The other option is to capitalise on reviews you had from big publications by adding their logos to your ad image, conveying that they've given you a review without having to type that review out.
Beware of Restrictions
It's important to note that many platforms that authors use to advertise their books do have restrictions on the images you can use. In particular, you'll need to be careful if your book is a romance, horror, mystery, action thriller or religious story because 3 of the most common banned images are those that depict sexual content, graphic violence, or religious iconography. This may mean you will have to leave shirtless men, bloody knives, guns and bullets, or religious symbols like the Christian cross out of your design, even if they represent your book. Always check the requirements and restrictions on the ad platform you're using before starting your design -- the last thing you want is to spend time on an ad that you can't use.
Remember, even if you follow these 3 tips, your ad won't succeed if it doesn't look attractive or professional. While readers are advised not to judge a book by its cover, any marketing collateral attached to your book will always paint a subconscious picture in a buyer's mind. A poorly designed ad can make your audience think your book will be just as poorly written. If you're not a competent designer, consider contacting a graphic design agency to create your ads for you.