I’ve been spending a fair bit of time learning how to use Canva.com to create graphics to promote my books. These are generally called teasers, although there’s some debate whether they should or shouldn’t include quotations from books. As always, I sit on the fence and have both.
Someone asked me the other day why I thought teasers were so important to selling our books (see how I left out the weasel word “promote” and flat out said “sell”; i.e. what brings in the dollars). For once, I had a well thought out answer because I’ve been thinking on this for a long time.
The internet privileges images over text. There’s a ton of articles on this, but there’s also the proof in the pudding: big marketing campaigns concentrate on images (for the moment, I’m adding video in under images) and the search giant Google has a whole search function just for images. Anecdotally, people will tell you they get the most engagement on a social media post when people’s attention is caught first with an image.
But the internet privileges images over text for a reason. Visual communication is our preferred form. That’s why the old phrase existed: a picture is worth a thousand words.
I even wonder if there’s a cognitive bias that enables images to tap emotions more directly than words can. So an image potentially presses a person’s “buy” button faster and with less work (to break down resistance) than does text.
The irony, then, in this age where the challenge is discoverability, is that to get readers to buy our books, we need to communicate visually with them.