Yesterday, August 1, was the 40th anniversary of the launch of MTV. Back in 1981 Music Television (MTV) debuted on a cable channel initially only available in New Jersey. It eventually changed the way music was consumed in the pre-Internet era. It quickly became a vital part of the music industry and worked its way into pop culture.
A number of years ago, many authors began using video trailers as a part of their marketing efforts. (I wrote about this phenomenon in February 2011 here.) But that has somewhat waned as other forms of visual media replaced it. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and now TikTok are dominating the visual medium.
It is all quite confusing. But, more and more, it is becoming evident that an effective way to reach new readers and influence buyers of your book is to incorporate various forms of visual marketing in what you do.
I’m, by no means, am a graphic designer or entirely competent. But you can, and should, consider finding good people to help you along the way. (There are more than 40 listings in the “Design and Production Services” section of The Christian Writers Market Guide.)
In the meantime, at the very least, you can do a few simple things:
Be sure to include an image at the top of your blog posts (like the one you see above). We use bigstockphoto.com for ours. There is any number of other options, some free (like Flickr or Unsplash or Pixabay) and some paid.
Have fun with the occasional infographic. You can create one using a service like Infogram.com. Think of something related to your novel or your nonfiction group and play with the templates available on the site. They have a seemingly endless supply of templates if you upgrade to their pro account. (They have an entire YouTube channel to help you step through the how-tos.)
Canva is a well-known and often-used resource for creating original-looking visuals. You can choose and adapt templates that are developed to fit the social-media platform where you will be using them. For example: If you have a chapter on saving money in your book, create a Facebook post that only has the words “Will You Save Money Today?” and a link to your site. Using Canva, you can make something look attractive. Then have that link go to a page or blog on your website with a free “Ten Ways to Save Money Today” pdf in exchange for the visitor’s email address. (If you don’t like Canva, try Visme or Crello.)
Another idea is to pull pithy quotes from your book and create a shareable visual. This is a way to get your words out there without shouting, “Buy my book!”
But what about video? Is that passe or still effective? Depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Joanna Penn has a great article you should read: “Video Marketing for Authors.” You can do everything from a piece where you talk for 90 seconds about your book to teaching modules; you are only limited by your time, budget, and creativity.
Should you try to use TikTok to promote your book? Some say no. Some say “Why not?” Only you can decide. But familiarize yourself with it first. Learn from what works. Then read a great article from Kelly Schuknecht, “19 Ways to Promote Your Book on TikTok.”
How have you effectively used visual media to market your ideas and your book?