#WW How to Create Book Teasers on a Small Budget

15 Jun

I love book teasers! I mean, who doesn’t? They are gorgeous, fun, and an easy way to get a feel for a book. But book teasers can be a pain to create, not to mention expensive, and because of this, many authors shy away from them. That being said, it might be easier than you think. Yes, even on a small budget. Yes, even without Adobe Photoshop. Yes, even when you have to make them all on your own. How do I know this? Because I did it.

1. Pick A Stock Photo Website

This is where you are going to spend your budget. In fact, this is the ONLY place I spent money. The rest of my process is free. I currently use Fotolia, though my example is from Deposit Photos. On a fun note though, there is a completely free stock photo website I love using for articles—Pexels—but it’s limited, so I highly suggest subscribing to another website as well. An important step in choosing a stock photo website is comparing prices (some charge by photo, some charge by how many times you use the photo, and some charges change based on the license you buy). Once you choose a company, though, you aren’t done. Understanding how photo licenses work is vital. Figure out if you can alter the image, if you have to credit the photographer, if you can use it to sell items, and if there is a limit to how many times you can use the photo. Once you find images you can use, you are ready to go on! Below, you’ll see a stock photo I transformed into a #TeaserTuesday. (I kept the watermark in the original to ensure the image would not be stolen.)


A stock photo transformed into a book teaser

2. No Photoshop? No Problem. Use Pixlr.

I don’t own Adobe Photoshop. (It’s on my goals of software to own!) But not having Adobe Photoshop can make editing photos really difficult, especially when it comes to sizing photos and editing layers. Solution? Pixlr. In Pixlr, you can create a perfectly sized photo, add layers, edit layers, and transform your piece. (FYI: The dimensions for Instagram photos is 612 x 612 pixels. The dimensions for a FB cover photo is 851 x 315 pixels. Other dimensions can be found online.) Pixlr is where I start, because I can create those perfect dimensions for my pictures and see how my various layers will look. In my example, this is where I edited how I wanted the woman’s face to appear and where I wanted the logos to be. I will confess that I do not add my book covers as layers on here, because the clarity doesn’t transfer once saved. For that, I downloaded Collage Creator Lite, a free app from the Apple Store, and while that means I end up with a lot of white space when I click save, I crop the white space out in the next step and my original dimensions remain the same. I also find the Pixlr fonts rather plain, so I save that for the next step, but you can use Pixlr’s fonts, themes, and more.

3. Finish Up in PicMonkey & Ribbet

I live on PicMonkey. I love the filters, the stamps, the texts, and the themes. I find it easy to use, but more importantly, I find it fun! If you feel like spending money, you can buy a Royal account, which gives you access to more fonts and pictures, but I think the free version is perfectly fine. You can even add your own fonts if you own any on your computer. The clarity stays after saving, though you can only save your work as a jpeg file, so make sure it’s what you want before you exit out, or you will have to start over. The other thing I would mention is to use Google Chrome. I find it works best on there. But overall, I love finishing my photos with their fonts and other fun options. Ribbet is another free website I use, and it’s very similar, so finding which one you like better is up to you.

Additional tips?

Try to target different types of readers (as long as it’s appropriate for your book). For instance, I focused on various aspects of my Bad Bloods novels when I set out to create teasers. I knew I wanted sci-fi/dystopian scenes, but I also wanted to show the romance, the mystery, the political heartache, and the threat of death. I went through my manuscript and found lines that focused on those emotions, and then, I went from there. I kept an open mind, searching for both symbolic photos (like a grave for death) and literal photos (like a blonde woman for Serena, my protagonist who is blonde). In the end, I created 13 differently themed teasers for my marketing plan. Though how to create a marketing plan in another story, I created my teasers FAR in advance so that I could share a new #TeaserTuesday for the ten weeks leading up to the release dates, while saving three teasers for after the release. (And of course I can use them again in the future). I revolved my teasers around other marketing plans, such as releasing a full moon teaser on July 19, which happens to be a full moon that night. I definitely believe in planning ahead.

Making teasers doesn’t have to be overwhelming or expensive. Sure, it takes time, and sometimes, you’ll spend an hour on something before you scrap it, but in the end, I think it’s worth it, and I will definitely create more teasers for future novels.

Keep an open mind, test out different themes, make a plan, and have fun!


teaser12Did you see the new Bad Bloods teaser? If not, now you do! A new one releases every Tuesday, and a new origin story releases this Friday on the Bad Bloods Prequel, FREE on Wattpad. Also, I’m looking for book bloggers to read and review Bad Bloods, so send me an e-mail at shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested.

What are readers already saying? 

“The best duology I’ve ever read! Action packed. Fast paced. Heartbreaking. The ending brought me to tears and made my heart melt.” – Crazy Beautiful Reads

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads


8 Responses to “#WW How to Create Book Teasers on a Small Budget”

  1. Anthony Dobranski September 21, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    This post was a huge inspiration! I give you full credit in my post talking about my book teasers –
    Thanks so much for sharing your skills and knowledge – this writer learned a lot from you!

    • Shannon A Thompson September 21, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this article! Love your trading cards idea. That is fantastic. 😀


  1. June’s Ketchup | Shannon A Thompson - June 29, 2016

    […] 3. How to Create Book Teasers on a Small Budget: Book teasers are so much fun, but they can be daunting. This is how I created 13 teasers for my book release on a relatively tiny budget. (It’s not impossible!) I’ll definitely keep creating teasers in the future, and I hope this article helps authors have fun creating them like I did. […]

  2. #WW How to Manage a Book Launch | Shannon A Thompson - July 20, 2016

    […] you wrote it, your writing journey, etc.). If you want to know how to create book teasers, read How to Create Book Teasers on a Small Budget. Between these two things—visual and readable—signing up to other marketing opportunities will […]

  3. Fun with marketing – book teaser trading cards | the anthony dobranski blog - September 21, 2016

    […] long ago, writer, blogger and ace self-marketer Shannon A Thompson  posted about her book teasers, single-image character bios she puts out well in advance of her book’s release. I can do […]

  4. Bye Bye Blogging (For Now) | Shannon A Thompson - October 1, 2016

    […] 9. How to Create Book Teasers on a Small Budget: Book teasers are so much fun, but they can be daunting. This is how I created 13 teasers for my book release on a relatively tiny budget. (It’s not impossible!) I’ll definitely keep creating teasers in the future, and I hope this article helps authors have fun creating them like I did. […]

  5. Learning To Market My Book – Guest Post: Tony Dobranski – The Fictorians - December 15, 2016

    […] single image “book teasers” with a character’s backstory and a clipart image. https://shannonathompson.com/2016/06/15/ww-how-to-create-book-teasers-on-a-small-budget/ I saw them as a great way to create interest in the story. Not only were they vastly less […]

  6. Book Marketing Woes | Shannon A Thompson - July 31, 2017

    […] This is a big one I hear from clients and companies, and it’s such a big one because it’s essential to success. What do I mean by that? You need to know your budget, and you need to stick with it. If, for instance, your self-publishing budget for the year is $2000, but you spend all of that on ads, how will you buy cover art for your upcoming release? Where are you going to earn that back? Are you going to earn that back? Being honest about your financial situation is important. Advertisements and traveling can rack up a bill…fast. Be careful about what you spend and where. Apply for grants and scholarships. Volunteer at conferences. Ask for help from other authors. Example? Guest post on one another’s blogs or switch mailing lists for a day. It’s free and a great way to increase exposure. Keep your head up, and don’t let your lack of funds bother you. There will always be more opportunities, and support is all around you. Related Articles: The Struggling (Sometimes Starving) Writer & How to Create Book Teases on a Small Budget […]

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