December 9, 2014 by Mod
Have you heard of teaser graphics? If you spend any time at all on social media such as Facebook or Pinterest, you’ve definitely seen them. Teaser graphics are like magazine advertisements for your book. They are comprised of a quote from your book laid over an image that evokes something about your story.
Roughly, I do two types of teaser graphics:
One, if I have designed the cover then I use the raw images, composed in a way to allow room for the quote while still highlighting the brand of the book. Here are some examples:
Two, if I haven’t designed the book cover or if the author prefers it, for example because they want a number of different teasers, then I use a meaningful background image with the quote from the book over that. In those cases I advise authors to let me include the book cover, as this helps to reinforce their brand.
Here are some examples of this kind of teaser:
Here are a few things to remember about teasers:
1. DON’T USE COPYRIGHT IMAGE WITHOUT A LICENSE!!!
Images used for promotional purposes have the same restrictions as book cover images. Recently I saw a book teaser that used a photograph of actor Alexander Skarsgard. I see MANY teasers made with random porny images taken from Tumblr. Just…no. People think they won’t get caught, but they will. If you’re not sure about what constitutes a licensed image, read this.
2. Watch your language
Even though your book may contain profanity and explicit scenes, think carefully about using them on your teasers, or at least have a set of teasers that are PG for use in certain media. Facebook users frequently get reported for explicit material and too many reports and you may find your account suspended.
3. Include your brand
The point of a teaser is to help you build recognition for your product. If you haven’t included elements of the brand (like your cover) then all a teaser is, is a few suggestive words over a pretty picture.
4. Include your URL
You might think that if you have posted a teaser that someone likes they can just click on it to get to your Facebook profile. However, the point of teasers is that they get shared. When something is shared enough times, or pinned, Tumbled, Tweeted the connection between the teaser and you becomes less direct. Putting your URL right on the teaser means interested readers can always trace it back to you.
5. Choose your images carefully
Try to find images that reflect something of the tone of your story, not just what’s being said in that scene. I’ve seen teasers for erotic books where the quote is something like “His smoldering gaze is like a jolt of electricity to my core” and the image is an electrical outlet or a smoldering campfire.
Understanding how images work is important. You want your teaser to evoke your story, not translate it into a game of charades.
6. A reader on one of my Yahoo groups pointed out that I left out an important issue. It has never come up for me or any of my clients so that’s a poor excuse I guess. I should have done my homework. Anyway – if you’re going to use a teaser on Facebook as an actual ad or “boost post” then the text needs to take up no more than 20% of the image. All the above teasers would fail. The thing is, the 20% rule is so restrictive that I would recommend clients get two different designs – one for public use and sharing and one for “boosts”. Here’s one of the teasers above re-imagined for an ad. You can see the one with Facebook’s ad grid overlay.
Note that some authors have complained that ads including book covers have been rejected because the book cover text is counted as text instead of as part of the cover. Depicting your book as a 3D book, or as I have here, an eBook might help, but with Facebook who knows? This is all the more reason to make ads specifically for Facebook use. I just think Facebook ad-ready teasers lack the characteristics which work so well in other forums where teasers are used, such as blog tours, Pinterest etc.
In this aspect of the design work you’ll do as an author, as in all things, if you’re not sure, consult a professional. I do teasers for several of my clients. Some blog tour companies include teasers as part of their service. Like anything else, if teasers are worth doing (and I think they are) then they are worth doing right.