Tips for Indie Authors – Creating Promo Graphics

collageforblogpost(Updated November 2018)

If you are anything like me, you don’t have a humongous budget for graphic design and marketing. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create eye-catching info-graphics or memes to enhance your marketing efforts. If I can do it, so can you. Here are a few I have created.

In this post, I’d like to take you through the basics of creating a simple marketing graphic in Microsoft PowerPoint. For the purposes of this demo, the info-graphic will incorporate a background photo, a book cover, and promotional text.

Before you begin: Identify and download one or more photos/graphics that you might like to use. Or, even better, maybe you have a photo you took yourself. I usually download something from or a similar site that offers free images (including for promotional/commercial use).

Note: If you select a picture with people in it, there are likely to be some restrictions, so tread lightly and read the fine print.

In PowerPoint:

  1. Select the Insert tab on the ribbon, then select Pictures.Insertpicture
  2. Browse to and select the picture you want to use, then click Insert. The picture appears on the open slide.
    Tip: To adjust the picture size, click and drag a corner of the graphic inward or outward.
  3. Select the Insert tab, then select Pictures again and insert your book cover graphic.
  4. Select the Insert tab, then select Text box to add text. Simply click the canvas and start typing.
    Now I have three elements on my canvas: the photo, the cover, and some promotional text.
  5. First, the cover needs to be a bit smaller relative to the dolphin photo. Click the cover and then drag the corners to adjust the size.
  6. Drag and drop the cover onto the photo.
  7. Select the text box and drag it onto the photo.
    arrange 4
  8. Select the text box and adjust the font size, style, color, or other special effects using the options on the ribbon.
  9. Reposition and resize the cover and text box until you achieve the desired effect.
  10. Almost done. Select all three elements (Ctrl+A works nicely if there’s nothing else on the slide) or drag your cursor around all three:
  11. On the Home tab on the ribbon, select Copy or press Ctrl+C.
  12. On the Home tab, select the dropdown arrow on the Paste button to display the Paste Options menu, then select Paste Special. From the Paste Special dialog box, select Picture (JPEG), then click OK.
    Yes, you could skip this step, but there is a method to my madness. Creating a “picture” rather than the default Microsoft object enables you to resize the graphic, crop it and add borders, without messing up the positioning or relative sizing of the elements. For example, the info-graphic here has been cropped using the Crop tool on the Picture Tools ribbon.
      Almost done.jpg
    – The recommendations for overall size vary, I tend to make it around 2.5” by 5” (I confess I’m not consistent). Play around and see what works best for you. 
  13. Finally, right-click the finished info-graphic and select Save as Picture.  Once saved as an image*, the picture is ready for use in your next tweet or Facebook post.
    Note: I recommend saving your graphics as .jpeg files.

Additional Notes/Tips:

  • You can save pics in a variety of frameworks (GIF, JPEG, PNG, and so on). I have found JPGs work well.
  • Don’t want to use a background photo? Try drawing a rectangular shape and set its color, shading, or other effects.
  • Found a great picture of snowflakes for a winter info-graphic but you don’t like the rest of the picture? Crop the picture to use the portion you like (enlarge what’s left if need be).
  • If you are adventurous you can apply a variety of effects to pictures in PowerPoint.
  • Images for BookBub ad graphics must be 300 x 250 pixels.
  • Image for posting to Instagram must be square.

Hope you find this post helpful.  Please feel free to offer your own tips or ask questions.

Guest Post & Giveaway: A MARKETING TIMELINE FOR THE BUSY AUTHOR by Michele Lynn Seigfried

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  I am happy to have Michele Lynn Seigfried as my guest as she shares her insights on the multitude of tasks that authors should consider when planning their next book release.

A Marketing Timeline for the Busy Author
by Michele Lynn Seigfried

michele photoSo you’ve written a book. How are you going to sell it? Ideally, you should be selling that book from the moment you started writing it. Marketing is hard work! Extremely hard work! Especially if you’re like me, holding down a full-time job and have one or more babies to take care of! (The adult varieties of babies count too!).

There is no right or wrong way to publicize your book. Below is a general pre-launch timeline that I use for marketing new books. One that won’t make you want to blow your brains out! I try to focus on only one task per week (when I can), so that I don’t get overwhelmed.

Time in Advance
of Book Launch

26+  weeks:               Write & edit your book. Periodically post on social media to include your readers in your  writing  process and to create hype. You can include excerpts, announcements, polls, or  ask for help with characters names or your book title! The social media sites I  use are my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tsu,  and Goodreads.

25 weeks:                   Finalize your book’s title. Announce it on Social Media.

24  weeks:                  Add info about your book to your website.

23 weeks:                   Create a book synopsis.  Include it on your website and social media sites.

22  weeks:                  Solicit testimonials for use on your cover, webpage, and sales outlets.

21  weeks:                  Select your book launch date.

20  weeks:                 Set your marketing budget. Decide how much you want to spend on paid advertisements,  book reviews, writing competitions, etc.

19  weeks:                  Send testimonials, artwork, etc., to your cover designer.

18  weeks:                  Order ARC copies.

17  weeks:                  Send out ARCs to professional reviewers, beta readers, and media outlets.

16  weeks:                  Create a video  book trailer or hire someone to create one. Post it on YouTube, your webpage, and social media.

15  weeks:                  Do  a Cover reveal. Ask or hire bloggers to help you. Post the cover on your  website and social media.

14  weeks:                  Add your book to Goodreads. Add the cover and the video trailer.

13  weeks:                 Send your book out for awards. Decide which ones are in your budget and are  available in the time frame you are seeking.

12  weeks:                 Put your book on Amazon for kindle presales. Add the presales link to your website and social media.

11  weeks:                  Set up a virtual book tour like this one!

10  weeks:                 Seek out more reviews.  Ask people to post their reviews on Amazon after your book is launched.

9 weeks:                    Create  or update your Amazon Author Central profile.

8 weeks:                    Contact libraries for appearances, schedule book shows.

7 weeks:                    Order marketing materials (such as bookmarks) and/or giveaway items.

6 weeks:                    Set up giveaways:  RafflecopterGoodreads, Amazon, or your own. Consider using a giveaway during your virtual book tour to attract more visitors during the tour.

5  weeks:                   Write  press releases and create a media kit with your new book information and author  information.

4  weeks:                   Put one or more of your other books on sale or free for kindle. Consider paid marketing  opportunities to announce your sales if that’s in your budget. Submit your sales to the multitude of websites that will not charge you to market your free or cheap book.  Do a blast email with the sales info to your email list and to announce the new book that’s coming.

3  weeks:                   Answer interviews and write guest posts for your virtual blog tour and your own blog.

2  weeks:                   Post the first chapter of your book on your website. Send out social media posts letting  readers know it’s there.

1  week:                      Post, tweet,  post, tweet.  Let the world know your new  book is coming.

Launch Day:             Change your website from saying “pre-order” to “now available.” Post other links where your book is  available (Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc.).
Post on social media.

I hope you’ll find this marketing timeline useful! Best of luck on your new book!

Major Crimes Major Crimes ebook cover.jpg

Released just last week, Major Crimes is the fourth installment in the Jersey Shore Mystery Series by Michele Lynn Seigfried.

Buckle up for hours of laughter, romance, and excitement with this Jersey Shore Mystery. When handsome detective, Bryce Kelly, is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he finds himself on the run and in hiding. Can amateur sleuth, Chelsey Alton, and a few quirky friends help him find the real killer and prove his innocence before it’s too late? If you love mysteries, don’t miss this humorous whodunit!

Click the link below to enter for a chance to win a  $50 Amazon Gift Card from the author:
A Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Michele Lynn Seigfried is the author of humorous, cozy mystery novels and a children’s picture book author/illustrator.

Michele was born and raised in New Jersey. In her mystery novels, she draws from her personal expertise in the area of municipal government, in which she has served for over 17 years in two different municipalities.

She holds a B.A. in communication from the College of New Jersey with a minor in art. She obtained the Master Municipal Clerk certification from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks in 2010. She also holds the Registered Municipal Clerk certification and Certified Municipal Registrar Certifications from the State of New Jersey.

In combining her love of writing with art, Michele began writing and illustrating children’s picture books in 2013.  She has won several awards for her novels.

Author Links: