Monday Musings: Let Me Be Graphic

by Kathleen Valentine

As I continue to navigate the torturous path of using social media to improve my book marketing, I am finding that a lot of advice sites talk a lot about using graphics to capture attention. For me this is a good thing because I have a degree in art and worked for 30 years as a graphic artist. You’d think that would mean I’m all set, but such is not the case. I know HOW to create art, I just don’t always know what to create.

I mentioned in a past post about the Daily Inspiration for Writers quotes that I’ve been posting on Facebook for a couple years. I make a new one every day and post it first thing every morning — to my personal page and then I share it to my Author page and my design page (which needs work!) This is easy because author quotes can be found all over the internet and I select pretty backgrounds from free or public domain image sites. A few weeks ago I started posting these images to Twitter, too, scheduling 4 or 5 of them throughout the day. I notice they are getting retweeted a lot and I’ve picked up some new followers.

In a recent Twitter #BookMarketingChat on using Pinterest, I got the idea to also start sharing quotes from my books on an attractive background (above). Those also seem to be retweeted and shared enough for me to consider it worthwhile. I use Photoshop to make my graphics but I realize not everyone can do that.

Two very useful online sites that let you create graphics are Canva and Pablo. Both are free and are easy to use. I registered on each of them in a matter of minutes and watched the tutorials which were very easy to follow. What they provide are catalogs of backgrounds, selections of typefaces, choices of colors, etc. that let even a novice designer make pretty cool graphics that you can then save and post on any social media site. I have read that posts/tweets with attractive graphics are shared/retweeted much more frequently than those without.

Another fabulous resource is Hubspot’s Ultimate Cheat Sheet. This is a great resource because it has compiled all the sizes you will want for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. That way you won’t create a lovely graphic and then upload and discover it is badly distorted or cropped in a way that chops off parts of your design.

Like most authors, I’d love to be able to just focus on my writing and not spend hours and hours marketing. I know some authors that have done well enough that they now hire assistants to do their social media scheduling but even the most successful authors seem to rely on regular interaction with their friends and followers. These days even those authors who are published by traditional publishers are doing more and more social media. It’s where marketing is done today.

So, play around with Canva or Pablo. Use the dimensions specified on the cheat sheet, and see if you can add some pizzazz to your pages. It’s fun, it’s attention getting, and you might find a new passion.

Thanks for reading.

Originally published at on June 6, 2016.