I thought I would start to create some tutorial posts and resources for the book community. When I started blogging, I found the resources really narrow and hard to find. The things I’ve picked up, like Canva, are tools others in the community told me about. Much of the information is spread by word of mouth much more often than written in a blog post. The types of blog posts usually recommend things that are not always inclusive of people who don’t have a lot of money or privilege. I also think starting out with graphics is a learning curve. The more you make blog posts the more you learn what looks good and what doesn’t.
For this blog post, I’d like to share a basic graphic for a review or a general post. This is targeted towards bloggers, but all the material I share can also be adapted to youtube or twitter. You use the appropriate dimensions, which I will talk about below. I would find a model type that you want to use and then use that for all your posts, then just change things for a different aesthetic that you want to give off. However, I would make sure to have a separate post type for each, like ‘Review’ or ‘Article.’ This way your followers can quickly garner what they may be getting in that post or content.
The first thing I would suggest is making a mockup, which I typically use for reviews. I use covers without a mockup for recommendation lists and new release posts.
Making mockups doesn’t always mean using Photoshop, which costs a lot of money, and not everyone can afford that. I suggest using this free DIY book mockup generator.
I highly suggest using Edelweiss to download the book covers you use in your graphics, as the publisher uploads the Hi-Res versions on there.
Just as a side note, I also use Edelweiss for monthly releases. Most publishers will place their publicity campaign, including all selling materials, on the page. That’s highly useful for bloggers, as I can summarize and boost the book straight from that material.
The secret amongst book bloggers making such nice graphics is Canva. It is well-beloved amongst book bloggers and booktubers. You can sign up for free or get Pro for $12/month. With the free version, you get fewer options than Pro, but it still gives you pretty much all you need to make great graphics.
The first thing you’re going to do is sign up and create a design (right-hand corner). The cool thing about Canva is that you can create anything you want, and it will already have the dimensions for you. If you’re a booktuber, you can search for thumbnail. You can even edit your videos on Canva using their graphics. You can also make animated graphics for social media, like gifs for twitter or animated stories for Instagram.
For blog posts, you can search for what you want by just looking up ‘blog,’ which will provide you with several different options like ‘blog graphic ‘and ‘blog banner.’ I use ‘blog graphic’ for uploading the image for the blog post, but I use ‘custom size’ for specific blog graphics, such as separators (1500 x 500 px).
By the way, you can pretty much create a lot of the graphics in your posts by just using Canva. So if you want a fancy signature at the bottom of all your posts, use the text box, find a nice font, and then finish it off with a simple element.
If you want something sizable for twitter, you can resize (upper left of Canva graphic) the post to twitter posts and just adapt your graphics to twitter.
When I think of making a graphic I want something that uses colors opposite of each other. Black and white, red and white, or neutral tones. You always want to make sure the colors set a tone with the book. Usually, publishers commission a cover that sets off the genre and tones of the book. So if you have a Gothic Horror go with something dark, like reds and blacks. If you have a romantic fantasy with a rose on it, go with some reds and black but add something light in the elements to make those dark tones eye catching.
You can select what you want from elements, which provide transparent elements for the post. All of your used elements will be saved in ‘recently used’ so you can use them again. You can also filter out the Pro version elements so you don’t have to scroll through a bunch of elements that would cost money if you used them.
Elements I usually look for are paint splashes, geometric, scribbles, abstract, dust, borders, dots, paper, watercolor, gold, red, white, etc. I will not only look for simple design elements, but I’ll look for the colors I’m using in the elements. Most of the elements can be changed to the colors you are using. If they don’t, I would advise not using it.
Beyond the elements, you can also change the color of the background and can even search for the color you would like in photos and see what comes up for you, which will vary depending on whether you have the free or Pro version.
If you want to add a text box to emphasize what type of post it is for your readers or viewers, I would suggest adding a white border in the center and then using the transparency option.
If you’re a booktuber, I would suggest taking a picture of yourself and using the ‘Background Remover’ in the Effects section in place of a border. Then create something similar to what I did with my blog post graphic.
The only advice I would give is to make sure you can fit your text, so it’s easily visible and not hiding behind you or around you, as that is jarring to the eye. I would use Fictional Fates channel as a model, or even Mina Reads. They both have excellent styles.
A word of caution, though. Canva is not the best with layers. It is often tricky if you have a lot of layers. Use the position to make your layers go backward, front or center. If you can’t get to the specific layer you want, that can be a little tricky unless you shrink the borders and then readjust the layer you want. That’s the one qualm I have about Canva. They don’t make the layers simple or easily accessible.
Then, all you need to do is download it. I suggest PNG for better quality.
I hope to make other similar-such posts, so let me know in the comments if you’d like me to do a specific post on something!