I have so much fun creating ads for my campaigns. I like the picmonkey to help me with the designs, although there are many other sites–not to mention photoshop or others that come with your computer. I find the pictures I want to use on bigstockphoto and the slip on over to picmonkey and start working.
There are a lot of photo sites: bigstock, iStock, Flickr, morgueFile, DreamStock, Getty, to name a few. Many of them offer free photos — which is great for blog posts, as long as you credit the photographer — but for ads, book trailers, and book covers, it’s best to buy the rights to the photos used. Several years ago, I used a picture for a blog post that I found on the internet. I got a borderline nasty letter from the photographer demanding that I either pay for it or take it down. I’ve heard of people even getting sued over the illegal use of a copyrighted photo, so it’s best to be careful. Whenever you go looking for photos to use, always check the usage rights. I noticed recently that some of the photos also include a “signed model release”–another thing to watch for.
I’m also learning to keep the information pertaining to the photo when I save it into my files. Saving it allows me to find it again, which allowed me to find the photographer whose photo we used for the cover of Give the Lady a Ride–which was great when we wanted to use the same model for The Final Ride:
These two pictures are of the same woman. Since she portrays the main character in both books of the series, this is great. There’s one more of her, so I’m hoping we can figure out how to use it for the third novel in the series, Ride to the Altar.
Now that I have my pics, I can use them however I’d like–and I like to play! So, over to picmonkey.
This time I’m just going to add text, so I got to the site, click on “edit,” upload my photo, then click “Tt” to add text:
Picmonkey offers a variety of fonts and ink colors to choose from, even in its free program, but you could really go wild if you pay. I haven’t yet, but I tell ya, I’ve been tempted!
Okay, next up, I want my cover on this ad, so, choosing the butterfly icon, I upload it and slap it on:
With the butterfly icon, I can position the cover of the novel anywhere I want on the ad, make it larger or smaller, angle it, whatever. You have to be careful, though, because messing with the size can distort the image.
I love this, but can you see what’s wrong with it? I forgot my purchase information. Doesn’t mean I won’t use it. I can put this up on any social site with the notes Available for preorder on Amazon! and the link in the comment box. I can also use its “vanity” link: http://dld.bz/TheFinalRide in the comment box. Now that I have the base ad, I can put whatever I want in the comment: “Limited time! 99c for preorder on Kindle!” “A Circle Bar Ranch novel, Available on Amazon!” “Coming July 5, 2016!”
So am I worried I don’t have all the info I need on the ad itself? No. But I can say this: it will never make it as a print ad.
One of my favorite ads came from idle hours of searching on BigStock. I wasn’t looking for this, but when I found the first:
and made the ad from it:
I knew I’d have to find the artist to see if s/he had more. And the answer was yes!
So, off we go back to picmonkey.
This time, I clicked “collage,” and uploaded both pictures and my cover jpeg. Clicking on the icon of little boxes, I chose the set-up I wanted to use, then dragged the photos into place in the collage. I chose from the “color swatches” icon to pick a background color for my text, then I went down to the artist palette icon and chose to eliminate all the spacing between the collage squares.
From there, I hit “edit,” which prompted me to save what I had done, and finally, I went and added the text:
In this ad, I did include purchase information, but soon, the first in the Circle Bar Ranch series will be $2.99 instead of 99c. Does that mean I won’t be able to use this ad again? Nope–I can go back to pic monkey, use the butterfly icon to slap something else over that bottom box. Or, since I was actually using my noggin at the time and saved a copy of this after each step, I have a template to use and can alter it any way I want to.
Which brings me to the idea of “files.”
When you’re hunting your pictures, take advantage of the sites’ “lightboxes” to create files on their site. Then have files in your computer to keep everything organized once you start saving them. You’d think this would be self-evident, but I kinda learned the hard way. I still have images in my head of pics I’ve used that I can’t find anymore and have no idea where I got them. Yeah, that’s me. Queen of Disorganization.
Finally, just for fun: If you just want a quick ad, check out photofunia:
For this one, I’ll definitely have to use the social site’s comment box, but hey–it’s quick, easy, and fun!
I love Pic Monkey and use it a lot. I have Photoshop Essentials and Swift Publisher (a publishing program for Macs), but Pic Monkey is so easy and they have a ton of different ways to enhance the design photo. The butterfly icon Linda refers to is the Overlay feature. That is one very essential layer as it’s how I get pics of my books or people I want in what I’m designing to come from my own computer. I have the premium and pay a nominal amount for it but it gives me more enhanced features than the free version. Check it out!
Overlay feature! *That’s* what it’s called!!! I swear I believe there’s a short in the synapses to my brain sometimes. Can’t think of words, names, peanut butter brands. Sigh.
You can get free photos from Pixabay and Pixels, too. Especially for memes. I wouldn’t use a freebie for a cover, though.
Oh, you’d be in for a world of legal and financial hurt if you used a pic for a commercial purpose without having the rights to it! I don’t trust the freebies. Stopped using them long ago!
There’s no such thing as a free lunch and that goes for freebie pictures. They are okay for some things, but not for book covers and publishing on the Internet. I am using them in a presentation I’m giving to my local chapter but they will never be published anywhere. The stock photo site that you pay for that I like is Shutterstock. They have a pricing system that seems to be the most economical and an awesome collection to pick from.
Thanks for the tip on Shutterstock!
What a positively informative post. I really appreciate the step-by-step directions. Going to pass this posting’s site along to fellow NETWO & ETWA membrs.
Thanks for passing it along! This just skims the surface. I learned most of what I do by playing on the site, but I think I gave enough info to get someone started.
Very fun, Linda. Thanks for sharing the steps. Looking good!
This is amazing information. I’m totally unfamiliar with this process, but I haven’t published a book either. I truly am enjoying your eclectic style. I’ll pass your blog on to my writing groups.
Thanks, Gwynn! It isn’t always devoted to promoting my books, but I have a new release. After July 5, we’ll be back to my writing/editing posts.
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Really interesting, thanks for all the great information. I recently signed into Visual Hunt, which is a program that searches for “free” pictures from all the photographic sites–Flickr, for example. You just type in the subject you’re looking for (in my case “horror”) and up comes several pages of suitable, downloadable, pictures. I’m new to it, so it might not work out as I hope!
Oh, check back with me and let me know. I’m not familiar with that site. Thanks for commenting!
Computer graphics are so fun! Your ads look great!
I get a kick out of making them.
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