After the the last sentence is penned and the final page edited, re-edited and most likely re-re-edited, your hard-earned book is here. Born of sweat, sleep deprivation and pure brilliance, it now lives to be shared. But your book for all of it’s literary genius needs help stirring the public and convincing people that this is indeed a story that must be read.
Your book deserves to be shared with the world, but first it needs an introduction worthy of the work you put into it. It needs a cover, but more specifically your cover needs that perfect image. How should you use photos to promote your book? Where do you find high-quality photos for your book promotion? What restrictions do authors have on the photos they buy to use? We have all the answers for you and not to mention an awesome surprise for you at the end of this post, make sure you read to the bottom! Or ignore me and jump to the bottom>>
Why Do Authors Need Photos?
In a world where there is still a stigma that paints self-published authors as unprofessional, it is important for an author to do everything they can to come across as polished and professional. Just as editing and other disciplines help establish trust in the author, high-quality imagery acts as a visual ambassador to potential readers. From the start of publishing and throughout the entire promotion and selling process, your book and your author brand will need a steady supply of photos. Almost everything that you do to promote or market your book can benefit from a relevant photo. Below are just a few of the reasons you might use photos in your book promotion efforts:
- Front book cover – The most important visual representation of your book, great photos make great covers which help sell books.
- Back book cover – The back cover of your book always performs better when it is visually appealing.
- Interior book photos – For some genres it makes a lot of sense to use photos to illustrate points and break up the monotony of pages and pages of text.
- Website photos – Your website should be more than just lines of text, add great photos to break it up.
- Blog posts – When perusing a blog it is easier to skim images than it is title text, so if you want to stop a potential reader in their tracks use a photo that will pique their curiosity.
- Social Media posts – Even more so than your blog, social media pages have a lot of stuff going on; if you are going to post something consider adding a relevant photo to pull your readers in.
- Email newsletters – When writing to your email subscribers, grab their attention right away or they’ll move onto the hundreds of other emails they could be reading.
Where Can I Get High-Quality Photos?
When it comes to photos for your author campaigns there will ever only be two options: take it yourself or use someone else’s photo. But within these two criteria you have many many options.
- Take from the web – This is something you never want to do. If you find a photo on a website or through Google images, then that photo does not belong to you. You should only use a photo found online if you have express permission from the person who took the photo. I have seen firsthand authors struggle under the weight of a pending lawsuit all because they took a photo without asking.
- Use Your Own Photos – When taking photos yourself for a book or book promotion, you can use your smartphone or some other point-and-click type camera, or you can purchase thousands of dollars of equipment and invest in training for that equipment. However, even expensive cameras can produce blurry photos if you are untrained. The truth is that unless you are a professional photographer you will typically find more success with using a photo taken by someone else.
- Hire a professional – It can be expensive to hire a professional photographer to get an image for your book, and while most authors would go another route there are times when you are looking for a photo that has never been taken before. In that case it makes a lot of sense to hire someone.
- Stock Photo Site -The most common way to acquire images for your cover or promotional campaigns are by purchasing images through stock photo sites. Their terms and pricing vary from site to site, but a few of the ones we like to use and have found on the lower end of the price spectrum are:
What Restrictions Do Stock Photos Have?
As I said in my last point, the most common way of acquiring photos for any form of book promotion is to use a stock photo site. But there are a few things you will need to think about when purchasing photos from a stock photo site.
- Price – Pricing at stock photo sites range from several dollars to hundreds of dollars. It is always wise to look at the price of credits from a stock photo site before you look through too many and get your heart set on a photo you can’t afford.
- Licensing – Licensing is super important when purchasing stock photos. Each photo comes with a license that covers how you can use it and how much circulation it is allowed to have. Make sure you check the license of a stock photo site to make sure it fits with what you plan to do with the photo.
- Attribution – When purchasing a photo, make sure you take note of their terms regarding photographer credit. Some sites require that you credit the photographer everywhere the photo is used.
- Size – Stock photo sites charge by the size of photo you need. In general, if you are creating a book for print or ebook format you will need to make sure that you at least purchase the large version of the photo. If you are purchasing photos for your website or social media the medium version is adequate.
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