Author Teaser Graphics as Marketing Tools

It’s time for “The Marketing Minute”!  If you’re unfamiliar with how this type of blog post works, you can visit the first installment, and the rules, here.

Today we’re discussing teaser graphics! What are they, why authors need ’em, why readers like ’em, and how to make them are a few of the topics we’ll touch on.

Here’s the take-away:

Teasers are visually appealing snippets intended to motivate your fans to click, preview, buy, visit your website, etc. A good teaser contains a stunning image, an interesting excerpt or book quote to pull the reader in, the book’s title or author’s name, and a call to action (the thing you want the reader to do next). Teasers are great for building excitement leading into a book launch, or for engaging new readership once your teasers go viral and get shared across social.

The rest is going into detail about the why, the how, and all that fun stuff. If you don’t need the rest, I’ll see you next time! If you do, read on my friend. This post was originally blogged by me on pagecurl.net.

What Are Teasers?

Teaser graphics are visually appealing snippets (quotes, texts, or announcements) intended to garner interest for a book. This is an example of a teaser graphic:

In His Silks

Why Do Authors Need Teasers?

Visuals are King on social media. When you’re promoting your book, you need to be doing more than constantly telling readers to pre-order and buy it. Don’t get us wrong, you want to sell your book, we want you to sell your book, but you need to soft-sell over hard-sell all the time. Get readers interested first and they’ll WANT to buy the book without you directly telling them they should. That’s a way more positive and effective way to market your literary baby. Guess what else teasers do? They get your fans excited, especially if you’re revealing juicy snippets from a new release that’s coming. Those die-hard fans are hungry, and you’re feeding them. Guess what happens when they’re well-fed and happy? They share your teasers with their friends (because excitement travels), and now you’ve got word-of-mouth marketing going and that’s 10x more positive and effective. Readers and your fans, like teasers. Make them happy.

Why Do Readers Like Teasers?

Let us repeat, visuals are King on social media. They are eye-catching, exciting, sneak peeks at something readers might want to buy and read. They’re like advertisements minus the annoying. Plus, they are easy to share with friends. Readers have a deep love and appreciation for books, and teasers are one more way to make a book seem bigger than life.

How Do You Make Teasers?

First, you need to think about where you’ll be using your teaser. Is it going on your blog? How about on Facebook? Are you going to Tweet it out? While the urge to produce one teaser graphic and then share it across all platforms might tempt you, don’t. Different channels accept different sized images and you risk having your graphic appear cut off or manipulated to fit the channel. Since you only get a few seconds to capture someone’s interest, you want your graphic to be sized correctly and displayed perfectly to have the best shot at getting someone to pause. Because of this, we like this social media sizing cheat sheet by Constant Contact. Click here, then bookmark the page for future reference.

We think a good teaser graphic needs four things:

A Shift in the Water

Interesting Excerpt/Book Quote:In His Silks

Start by finding an interesting and/or juicy snippet from your book. We recommend highlighting some of these while you’re editing so you don’t have to take time to go back through and find them. Focus on quotes that are immediately engaging, like those centered more around action, tension, or romance. The other thing about text? Make sure you can READ it. Stay away from cursive fonts (yes, they’re pretty, but they are hard to read when the font size is small) and weird color combos. If you can’t read the text, the reader isn’t going to take the time to do so. It’s okay to have a lot of text, but again, it needs to be easy to read.

The Stunning Image:
Once you have your quote, you can think of what kind of picture might go best with it. Think of it this way, the image gets the reader to pause, and the quote/excerpt gets the reader to perform an action (such as sharing, liking, tweeting, visiting your website, or preordering or buying the book). You need both to be good in order to maximize a teaser graphic’s potential. Here’s the fact that we cannot stress enough, you have to own the rights to the picture you use. This means you can’t Google and copy/paste an image. Well you can, but please don’t. There are plenty of ways to find and get your images. If you’re set on using Google, make sure you’re searching and using photos labeled for reuse with modification. You can also buy credit and use it towards photos on Shutterstock, BigStockPhoto, Dreamstine, and a bunch of others. In fact, you can usually get free trials or cash in on some promotion to download a few free images, so keep your eyes peeled. If you are going to use these sites, make sure to double-check that you image isn’t being overused. You can do this by going HERE, and uploading the photo or the link on the website and seeing how used that photo is. This is especially helpful if you’re looking for main character inspiration. Anyway, back to the teaser graphic! You can also use pieces of your book cover as the graphic, too. Now you’ve got your engaging quote and your stunning photo, what’s next?

A Shift in the WaterCall To Action & Book Title/Author’s Name:

A lot of teasers you’ll see only have the author’s name or book title, and that’s great that they have those because you should add one of those to yours, also. We believe the most effective teaser graphics, and the way we make ours for our authors, include a call to action. The end goal of marketing your book is getting the sale, right? So everything you do marketing and promotion wise should nudge your readers one step closer to taking that action. Teasers go viral, and that’s great, so why wouldn’t you put something more on them? Someone has read your teaser graphic, what do they do next? Lead them to your website or a link to preorder or buy. Keep the momentum going while you have their attention by encouraging them to take a further step. If you don’t have something as a call to action on your teaser graphic, you’ve missed a great opportunity. With that in mind, the quote should still be the most prominent text and focus of the teaser graphic. Remember, soft-sell. BUY MY BOOK!!! as a visual is every bit as annoying as BUY MY BOOK!!! as a status post. Subtlety is key here.

Okay, so now you’ve got the ingredients for a killer graphic teaser. How do you actually make it? We prefer to make ours in Photoshop, but for those of you who aren’t so design-program-savvy, you can use free programs like PowerPoint, Canva, and PicMonkey.

How-To:

  • Create a box sized correctly (remember that chart we shared earlier?)
  • Drop in your photo
  • Add your text over the photo
  • Fit in your book title, author name, or website
  • End with your call to action. Remember, your website CAN be your call to action. We suggest dropping in the word Visit before it to really help identify the step you’re wanting someone to take.
  • If you’re using the teaser graphic on your website, or in a blog, make sure to link it to the call to action. If you click the above teaser graphic, it leads you to the preorder page for the book.

If you do want to try making a teaser graphic with PicMonkey, here’s a cool post on how to make a book teaser using that site.

So that’s it. We hope you go forth and make killer teaser graphics for your book. If you want to try one, and get a critique on it, you can send it to marketing@pagecurl.net. We promise to offer only constructive feedback. Please put Teaser Graphic Critique in the subject line. If you’d rather skip the whole thing and have PageCurl make you some teaser graphics for your next release, we can do that too. Send us an email at Marketing@pagecurl.net for pricing and options. Please put Teaser Graphic Package in the subject line.

Any  teaser graphic pros reading this? Tell us some of your teaser graphic tips in the comments, we’d love to hear them.

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