Promotional Image Guidelines and Examples for Authors

Authors can use promotional graphics can be used in a number of ways:

  • on a website (and where on the website it will go: in a post [square or horizontal rectangle], in a sidebar [square or vertical rectangle], at the top [narrow horizontal rectangle]
  • on social media (either as a post or as an ad)
  • as an IRL banner
  • as a bookmark (which can double as a vertical banner if it’s created with this in mind)
  • as a postcard (yes, some authors still market their books via snail mail)
  • in a magazine (digital or print)

Step 1: Identify where and how the image will be used.

As with any graphics, step 1 is knowing how and where the image will be used. This will dictate the parameters for the project.

For example, a square image will work for most (if not all) social media platforms, whereas the platforms that use rectangular images will have specific dimensions that need to be met for best display.

Hoot-Suite has a great cheat sheet for the leading social media platforms.

Step 2: Decide what to put on the image.

Options for promotional image elements:

  • a quote from the book
  • an endorsement from someone in your space
  • your face
  • a mockup of your book
  • your website or social media handle(s)
  • call-to-action text
  • places where your book is available
  • release date

When deciding on promotional graphics, less text is best. Social media is the highway of today. Billboards with too much text are just wasting your money, because no one is going to slow down to read them. The same goes for social media graphics, specifically ones that are viewed when scrolling. You want to select the best morsel from the endorsement that you want to share.

This promo image has way too much text. It’s a great endorsement for the advance praise portion of your book but not so great for a promo graphic.
Much better! Not only is this shorter text, but this endorsement packs more punch, because it’s from someone in her space.

Examples of Various Promo Images

Here are several different layouts I’ve used for clients’ promotional graphics over the years.

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