Originally published on February 24, 2017 @ 10:00 am
We tend to talk a lot about various marketing techniques and best practices. When to post online, which social media channels do you need, how to use each one. How to hold conversations with your audience, engagement — things of that nature. One thing we haven't discussed very often is what other tools you can use or create for your book marketing plans.
One awesome tool is a book teaser.
When done right, they are amazing and they can draw readers right to you. When done wrong, they can leave a reader confused and possibly even lead to legal issues. So it's worth taking some time to talk about creating a book teaser for your books.
What is a book teaser?
A book teaser is a graphic image used to create anticipation for an upcoming book. It can be a banner, a poster. The real key is that these graphics give a little bit more of the story than the book cover, advertising, or even the book's blurb will.
Types of Teasers.
There are several types of teasers. Most of them will include the same information: book title, author name, and some sort of graphic. After that, there are a lot of differences. Book teasers can include excerpts, hooks, short blurbs, questions…anything really. And you can use them to introduce the reader to any part of your book: a character, a plotline, even a setting.
Let's take a few minutes to look at some examples of book teasers from a couple of friends of mine. First, E. A. Copen, author of the Judah Black series.
This graphic contains a longer excerpt along with the book title and the chapter in which you'll find this excerpt. To be honest, this is a bit long to be considered a “teaser.” But it still works the same way. By providing a snippet from her book, readers are granted a closer peek into the book they wouldn't otherwise be granted. E.A. Copen chose this snippet to drum up anticipation. Zombies? Strippers? “You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a decent dancer.”
So many questions! And the only way to get those answers is to read the book.
Next, another teaser from E. A. Copen. This one is a little different:
E.A. Copen takes it a step further by introducing you to her main character: Judah Black.
She's a single mom, a federal agent…and the only thing standing between a killer and his prey.”
Then she goes on to include her snippet from the book, but this time that excerpt includes dialogue involving Judah. Once again, it drums up anticipation for the book, but from a different angle. Instead of raising burning questions about the plot and story, E.A. Copen has drawn attention to her character and given her readers a reason to start liking Judah even before the book was released.
But you don't need a long excerpt to drum up interest. Let's switch gears and take a look at some other teasers, this time from my good friend Ayden K. Morgen.
I love Ayden's book teasers, they are small, easy to share, and powerful. In this teaser, Ayden K. Morgen gives you one sentence, but that one sentence is a doozy. Who is this guy? And who is he talking about? How is he taking everything from her? Why can't he just give her the world?
And here's another example:
Deep thoughts from Dace Matthews give the reader insights into the character with just one sentence. You can almost feel his frustration in this quote.
And finally, an example from me:
Here, I leverage a conversation between two main characters from one of my works in progress. In just these four sentences, readers learn quite a bit about these two. Szandor is clearly Celyna's mentor and guardian, Celyna is scared of the dark, and she's having nightmares.
Why do you need a book teaser?
In the world of social media, there are two rules you want to remember:
- Graphics rule, especially original graphics
- People don't like being sold to on social media — but they do like sharing.
Notice anything about these teasers? Only one of them mentions that the book is available for sale. None of them include phrases like “Buy Now!” or “Buy Me!” or “On Sale Now!” In fact, even the one that mentions the book is available doesn't even give the exact link, only that it is out on Amazon. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with promotions and advertisements, book teasers are a welcome break.
This is what makes book teasers genius. They give you a way to share something with your readers — something that they will feel comfortable sharing themselves because they aren't covered in spammy-buy-me messages. Your information will still get around, but you won't harassing anyone to buy your books. You're simply giving them a closer look at your books.
How a book teaser helps your marketing plan.
As you may have guessed already, having a book teaser made helps your marketing plan by giving your readers something to share. Word of mouth is still the most trusted form of advertising, even if it has changed over the years. Additionally, it gives you something to post.
I've already talked to you quite a bit about my love affair with Pinterest. And sometimes I'm pretty sure Pinterest was invented for book teasers. Book teasers are visually appealing, and people go to Pinterest all the time looking for new things to read. And you can link the pin to anything: book reviews, your site for more information, release posts, giveaways.
And Pinterest isn't the only social channel where your teasers will get a lot of interaction. People love to share things on Facebook. In fact, Facebook is one of the first places people go to when they want to share a recommendation. And Twitter is very popular for book teasers because it works so well for breaking news and current announcements.
And as these other places all link back to you and your site, your overall reach will expand. People find the teaser on social media, decide they want to know more and head over to your site, and from there they go wherever you want them to go: sign up for your email list, buy your book. Whatever you want.
What not to do when making a book teaser…
Is there a wrong way to make a book teaser? Yes. By choosing the wrong snippet, including too much information, or including too little information, you can leave your readers more confused than before. By choosing the wrong fonts, you can render the teaser difficult to read — and readers won't share something they can't read. And finally, those background images can come back to bite you if you don't have permission to use them. I've seen plenty of authors simply run a search on Google to find an image they want for their book teasers, only to be contacted by the photograph's rightful owner to have their teaser removed or face legal action.
What do you need to make a book teaser?
Making a book teaser is actually pretty easy, and you don't need a whole lot of fancy software to do it. All you need is your favorite graphics editing program (I really like PicMonkey), a quote, and a legal photo.
And there you have it. Without being overt advertisements, book teasers strengthen your marketing plan and help expand your reach, all without you being spammy, icky, or begging people to buy your book.