Photos and Images Promote Books

Whether they are cover art or interior photographs and illustrations, your book’s images can be key players in promoting and marketing your books. Here are a few tips for optimal image use.

Books generally have at least a couple of images connected with them—at least the cover art and the author photograph. Other books may have numerous interior photographs, black and white or in color, as well as illustrations, maps, or other types of images. All of these images can help to promote your book, even if people are shopping online and cannot look at a physical book before they buy. Before your book is published or even laid out, make sure you spend time thinking of all the ways you can use those images in your marketing and that you have them in a format that will make those images readily available when needed.

Making Sure You Have the Right Types of Images

When working with your photographer or layout and design person, if you have photographs or other images to include, make it clear you want the images to be in jpeg form so they can be used online and in other formats.

Some book design people may prefer to use tiff images, which may be better in some cases for print quality, but usually jpeg images are equally good. You won’t be able to post your tiff images online since the Internet prefers jpegs. If you are savvy with Photoshop or another program that will allow you to crop and alter images, changing image formats may not be a problem, or you may want to learn how to alter images yourself so you have more options later. But if you want ready to use images, make sure you let your book layout person know that anything he crops or changes, you want in its final form as it is reproduced in your book so you have the best images possible to use in your marketing efforts. And make sure you ask for those images as jpegs and in color even if your book will only be printed in black and white. People will look at black and white images in a book, but they will expect full color online. In addition, images for books generally have to be high resolution such as 300 dpi, but you will want lower resolution, such as 72 dpi, if you are going to post the images online because the lower resolution images will take less time to load on a web page.

Multiple Ways to Market Your Book Images

Websites: If you’re a first time author starting out with your first website, you will want your website to resemble your book cover or reflect your book’s content. Use themes, colors, graphics, and images that match your book cover and the book’s tone, purpose, and content. You don’t want to settle for a website that clashes with your book cover or its images, or use pre-made templates that don’t project the right image—or worse, a contradictory one. Talk to your website designer so the best use of the cover and other images can be made. Use those images as a preview so people will want to buy the book.

Blog: Like your website, you may want your blog to reflect the theme and content of your book and your author persona. The blog can have a couple of images uploaded to it within the blog template that are from your book—such as an author photo or a picture from the book. Then use your other images to post in your blog, a couple at a time. Here is one place you will want to make sure you have a lot of jpeg images available, so if you are going to post a blog daily or even just a couple of times a week, your images are all readily available to you and already cropped and sized as needed to save you from spending a lot of time with them.

Post excerpts from your book and upload appropriate book images with each post. Alternate your posts from your book with occasional posts about yourself or things you have done and continue to take new photographs yourself to post. Effective blogging with images may require you to learn how to use a program like Fireworks or Photoshop so your images are of high quality and are cropped or altered to provide the best effect.

Because people will most likely have to scroll down to read all of your blog entry, put an image at the top of the entry so it grabs attention right away rather than hiding it farther down the page. And tease your readers—post one or two of your best images from a section of the book and let them know that more images are available in the book.

Online Photo Albums: In the age of social networking, people love to look at each other’s photos. Whether you’re on Facebook, MySpace, or another site that allows you to upload photos or images to an album, create a photo album for your book, or even several albums for different sections of your book. People will be more interested in your book if they can see some of the images. And don’t be afraid to alternate some of these images for your profile photo as well.

Book Preview Videos: Have a video made of your book. Several professional book promotion companies, including Reader Views, make book preview films for authors. You will want to submit a dozen or so of the best images from your book, again in jpeg format, so they can be used for the video. You may want to include a voiceover script or have one made for you that will help you match up the words said with the proper images to use. Even if your book doesn’t have a lot of images, here is a reason to find additional images, provided you pay for them or use royalty-free images, that will help you promote the book.

Postcards and Other Marketing Pieces: Consider all the possibilities beyond the above usual ones for book promotion. If you’ve written a history or tour book, perhaps you want to turn your images into your own postcard line. If the tourists are likely to buy your book, they’ll buy your postcards also, and because postcards are generally low cost items, you may be likely to sell a large quantity of them. You can do the same with your book marketing pieces—pick five or six of your best images and make a bookmarker series—for children’s books you could have a bookmarker for each character in the book. What about note cards, posters, calendars, children’s trading cards, coffee mugs, tote bags, jigsaw puzzles, or even your own t-shirt line? Even if you don’t mention your book on all of these items, you can earn additional income from your images, and you can sell these products on your website in addition to your book. The local gift shop might not be interested in selling your books, but they might be able to sell calendars or t-shirts. Don’t limit yourself. Market and sell your images, with or without your book.

Images are a key component to marketing a book. People love to look at pictures and they will grab attention when a plain text book may not. Use your images to get attention and promote your book in every way possible. Be creative so those images will create additional income for you as an author.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.