Thursday, 17 April 2014

An Easy Promotional Device – One Page, Many Covers

Here’s a fairly quick way to put a lot of covers on one page, so that you can post them together online,  do a large format paper poster, or just have something to put on a table or in a binder.  It uses Microsoft Office products, but  your could use something else.  For the final stage I used Gimp, the open source image program (something like photoshop).

1.       Open up Powerpoint .  You could use various other programs, such as excel word or non-Office programs too.  Powerpoint is kind of nice, as it provides help aligning your images and text boxes on the fly.

2.       Open up a new blank page.

3.       Insert a cover jpg (use insert picture).   It makes sense to use the cover image you put on Amazon, Kobo, whatever but you can uses something else if you want to.

4.       You will want to resize that cover image, and place it somewhere appropriate on the page,  say the top left hand corner.

5.       Now, do a text box (use insert text box).  Add some descriptive text, choose font style and size, and position that text box next to the picture.  Your text might relate to where the books are on sale, prices and so forth.  Or they may be super-short blurbs about the content of the books.

6.        Repeat with more covers.  Probably six covers are about as many as you want to go, as more than that my crowd things a bit too much.  But, you never know.   Experiment.

7.       You could try different themes for different purposes.

o   Your six (or whatever number you choose) most recent books.

o   Your six most popular books.

o   Your six top books in a particular genre, if you write in multiple genres.

o   Six books in the same series (or two trilogies).

o    Six “books of the heart”.

8.       Depending on space considerations, you may have room for a text box with upcoming releases, a short bio, or whatever.

9.       Save that as a pdf (some large format printers want pdf, so this can be handy later).

10.   Open up the pdf in Gimp.

11.   Use the export command in Gimp to create a jpg or gif that you can load into your blog, Facebook site, website or whatever.

Now you have a document in various formats that you can use for promotion – Powerpoint, PDF, GIF and JPG.  You could even do a large format poster and hang it on your writing room wall for inspiration J.  Note that your actual jpgs, once printed, can be larger than what is shown in this blog.  Following are a couple of examples that I put together.

The first batch of covers shows six novels or stories that Helena Puumala has published with Dodecahedron Books.  The text boxes show the prices on Amazon/Kobo for the various novels and stories, including the paper book product for Kati 1.

·         Kati of Terra Book 1: Escape from the Drowned Planet.

·         Kati of Terra Book 2: On Assignment to the Planet of the Exalted.

·         The Witches’ Stones Book 1: Igniting the Blaze.

·         Northern Gothic Stories: An Anthology.

·         Love at the Lake: A Romantic Short Story.

·         The Boathouse Christ: A Paranormal Short Story.

·         Note that there is room for a text box showing upcoming works.
The second batch is similar to above, but has short blurbs related to the books, instead of pricing information.  As you can tell, it’s not easy to come up with short blurbs J.

The third batch of covers shows six alternative covers for Kati of Terra Book 3: Showdown on the Planet of the Slavers.  You might use this to solicit opinions on your facebook page or website to see what people prefer.  In this case, we were looking at what Kati ought to hold in her hand in the cover and we used this format to solicit opinions at an office party (the cover with flag/flowers and the cover with the lace crystal knife got the most votes):
·         A flag and flowers, representing Kati’s work with the Star Federation to bring peace and stability to planets that had been disrupted by the slaver Gorsh and his allies.
·         Kati with a stunner, a weapon she or Mikal has had to use on a few occasions against adversaries.  Used in all books.
·         Kati with a  cookie sheet.  Kati can improvise when necessary, and there is nothing quite like a hot cookie sheet to show an evil alien that you really mean business (note: don’t try this at home, but if you do get surprised by an evil alien while baking, wear your oven mitts while wielding the cookie sheet).  Used in the third book.
·         Kati with rifle.  She’s a country girl, so she knows a bit about rifles and her Granda node knows even more.  Used in the first book of the trilogy.
·         Kati with a lace crystal knife, the sharpest known weapon in the galaxy, for Kati of Terra, one of the sharpest knives in the drawer, when it comes to solving problems.  Needed in the second and third books.
·         Kati, with the bowl of wild raspberries that she used against the alien abductors, which allowed her young son to escape their clutches, back in the forest on Earth, at the beginning of the trilogy.


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