Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. Henry Ward Beecher
There is wasted space on the internet. Have you noticed it?
I’m specifically talking about Twitter header images. How often have you visited an author’s Twitter profile only to discover that the header image is solid blue, or green, or a picture of an author’s dog?
Twitter gives you ample space, 1500 pixels in width X 500 pixels in height, to extend your brand, publicize your books, or upload an image that matches the mood of your newest book.
What so many authors do instead is they leave the space blank, or fill it with pictures of puppies, kittens, or flowers. Or their images leave you questioning the purpose or reason for the chosen header picture.
Like I said, there’s a lot of wasted space on the internet that authors could be using to promote their brand, their books, their successes, and their careers.
Let’s look at how some authors neglected this valuable online real estate.
This historical fiction author could have, instead of the floral image, created a lovely header image that promoted her books. With a free tool, such as Canva.com, or a paid tool, such as PicMonkey.com, you can lift a scene from your book, include your book cover, or create another image that reflects your genre.
The picture below doesn’t do much for this author’s brand, does it?
Believe it or not, the author with the scary header writes romance novels. There’s a definite mismatch between her brand and the header image.
Here are a header image and avatar from another historical fiction author. Let’s look at the avatar. Your avatar needs to be a picture of you. Not your canary, dog, Frappuccino, or cat. You.
It shouldn’t even be a drawing of a character in your novel. Readers want to connect with you, see you, and engage with you. When you use a depiction of a character, as in this example, readers wonder who you are.
Now, for the header, it’s difficult to know if this castle is part of a story. As it stands, the image is boring.
Don’t ever follow this example. Use that blue space to promote your books and don’t be an egghead. Ask someone – a professional photographer, friend, or family member – to take a picture of you and upload it to all of your social media profiles.
There are a couple of things wrong with this header image. First, no one cares (except you) about the name of your publishing company. Secondly, your image needs to be properly centered.
In this example, I can see that this author tried to get it right. He probably uploaded the cover of his book, without resizing it first, and was only able to capture part of the title. Unfortunately, his avatar blocks part of the title.
Now let’s transition to some header images that work.
This author writes mysteries/thrillers, and I can’t think of a better mood picture to match his genre.
This is header image for Joanna Penn. The image reflects her two brands: the nonfiction side (TheCreativePenn.com) and her thriller side (JFPenn.com). Sometimes she uses this space to promote her new books.
This image reflects Carla King’s brand perfectly. She’s a motorcycle adventure travel writer, just as the image conveys.
In this example, I’m using my Twitter header to promote my three newest books, all published within the past seven months.
Cozy mystery author Elizabeth S. Craig uses her header to display all of her books.
In the past, Romance writer Sharon Hamilton excerpted this scene from a cover of her book. I think it works perfectly.
But these days she’s using this header image of three of her recent books.
10 Recommendations for the Perfect Twitter Header Image
What steps should you now take to improve your Twitter header? Here are some guidelines to consider.
- Go to Canva.com. This free app has the correct template for creating your Twitter header image. Or use the dimensions above and use PicMonkey.com.
- If you need a background image, as in my header image, go to LibreStock.com. This excellent resource pulls images from 47 free stock photo websites.
- Include your brand colorin your image when it makes sense.
- Let your readers know about your success in publishing. Did you make the New York Times Bestseller list? Are you a top Amazon writer? Let your readers know.
- Did you just write the first book to a new series? Promote that book in your header.
- Show your readers how many books you’ve written by including the covers of each of your books.
- Follow Sharon Hamilton’s example and excerpt part of a cover that clearly demonstrates your brand, indicates your genre, and promotes a feeling.
- Create a mood as in the example of the thriller writer above.
- Promote a series by giving away the first book. Include that language in your header image.
- Are you a nonfiction author promoting a free email course? Use your header image to let your followers know.
Don’t leave your header image blank or upload an image that doesn’t relate to your brand or genre. I’m a huge dog lover but when I visit an author’s profile, I want to see a picture of the writer and I want the header image to communicate the writer’s genre and books.
Twitter is giving you a gift with that header image so use it thoughtfully to reach out to your readers.
Whether you’re setting up your social media for the first time or wanting to take it to the next level, get the newest edition of Social Media Just for Writers.
This book is a very useful tool for writers looking to extend and reach their audiences. It has systematic detailed information about how to set up accounts and create a professional online profile and author branding. Recommended to anyone curious about why social media is still such a big thing for everyone, particularly for writers.
Want to know all of my best social media marketing tips? Get a copy of Social Media Just for Writers.
Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!
Author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.
Online Book Marketing Strategies for Writers