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Book sales skyrocket when author adds social media images

I connected with guest blogger Randi Lee recently in a Facebook group for authors and this guest post about how she has seen sales climb when she uses social media images is a result of our conversation there. In addition to being an author and blogger, Randi is a freelance writer, editor, and designer living in New England with her family and two much-loved dogs. She recently released her debut novel, Affected, and is currently working on its sequel, Ascendance. Randi loves sharing tips and supporting fellow authors, often posting helpful advice and author spotlights on her website Affected, her action-packed dystopian thriller, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.

Book sales skyrocket when author adds social media images

By Randi Lee

Recently on this site, Sandra Beckwith discussed the importance of using social media images in  your book marketing campaign. She informed us that tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets—that’s how powerful they are!

I’m visiting Build Book Buzz today as a success story, showing proof of this strategy. I’m here to show you how a visual addition to your campaign can have an amazing impact, leading to increased sales, exposure, and recognition—almost instantly.

My story

During the months of July and August, my sales for Affected were on a steady decline. My e-book sales rank on Amazon dropped from 75,000. The paperback sales rank was even worse: I stood at #4,187,643.

Here’s the June 21 ranking:

social media images 1


And here’s the September 3 ranking:

social media images 2

My small publisher requires authors to do their own marketing. If my book sales for Affected were going to increase, it was up to me to make that happen. In an effort to raise sales even slightly, I decided to post daily “image-teasers” for the book—images with book quotes and facts—on my Facebook, Twitter, and blog accounts. My first teaser went up on September 1.

Examples of images to create and share

Each day, I spent five to 10 minutes creating and posting one of these teasers. I used the opportunity to spotlight different themes, characters, and plot elements from the book.

This is an example of one of the first “image-teasers” I released:

social media images 3


Here’s another one:

social media images 4


Sales began to climb

I began doing this on September 1. Two days later, a new trend in my rankings emerged. Here’s the September 4 ranking:

social media images 5


Sales remain consistent through September 7:

social media images 6

Sales remained consistent through September 12:


social media images 7As you can see, my sales rank exponentially increased once I introduced a visual “kick” to my social media campaign. Sales skyrocketed and remained consistent—for only five to 10 minutes of work per day!

My sales rank wasn’t the only thing positively affected by my image-teasers, though. The media took notice of my efforts and I now have a live television interview scheduled with the local news to discuss my book and marketing strategy. I’ve also been contacted by a radio station for an early October interview.

The why and how of images in book marketing

AffectedReaders actively respond to visual stimulants. It helps them see your book’s world more clearly and allows your words to resonate with them on a new and engaging level.

Putting an image-teaser together is quite simple (get the instructions on this site here). This small amount of effort can lead to big results: Affected has also been named a top 50 e-book in three categories on Kobo’s website.

Add image-teasers to your social media marketing campaign today. For a small daily investment of nothing more than time, the results are well worth it.

What book promotion tactics are working for you? What’s helping you get traction?

Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

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  1. Sandra was bang on with that advice. Thanks for demonstrating the point.
    I know it takes an extra push of effort to get the images together, but if it makes that much difference, it’s definitely worth the the time.
    I only have to step back and examine my own attraction to visual media to see the effects. Twitter is the one site, I will re-tweet visually appealing photos, both of art and of books.
    Well Done!

    1. Thanks, Lesley! I really was so happy when Randi asked to write this post because I knew it would help drive home the point!


    2. Hi Lesley! You’re right–there’s a time investment involved, but it’s worth it. I’m glad you can see the value of an image campaign based on your own experiences and preferences. In this social media-crazed day and age, visuals are more important than ever!

  2. Hi Sandra
    A very interesting article. I notice that Randi has over 2000 followers on twitter. I have 75 (most of whom agreed to follow me by accident). So, would this work for me? I must confess, I don’t know much about twitter, apart from, in the UK, it can lead to long prison sentences.
    I would love to try this, as I’ve just learned how to use Photoshop. However, most of my characters are so bizarre – The Implosion Saga (5 novels) – I doubt if I could find models. But it has got me thinking…
    Stan Arnold

    1. Stan, I would recommend learning more about how to use Twitter first. You can also apply this to Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook if your readers use those networks.


    2. Hi Stan! People retweeting my image campaign actually afforded me more of a following because the retweeted visuals were exposing my message to an extended audience in a new and attention-grasping way. Twitter isn’t the only platform you can use to push a visual campaign, keep in mind. By circulating my image campaign around the internet, I was able to attain interest from members of Facebook, Pinterest, Blogger, and more. Good luck, Stan!

      1. Hi Randi
        Thanks for your comments – most encouraging! As a writer of funny novels, I’m aware (at least I think I’m aware) that amazon (and most other book websites) do not have ‘funny novel’ categories, despite the massive sales of the late Tom Sharpe. So I’m looking for alternative ways to reach an audience. I’m just starting to promote the books (I thought it might be more impressive if I had five books under my belt) and I like your ideas, particularly, if the images don’t have to have people in them. So I’m away now to dust off my camera manuals.
        Kind regards
        Stan Arnold

        1. Happy to help, Stan! I might also check out Kobo, if I were you. They’re an ereader/ebook distribution company in line with Nook and Kindle, and they’re quite the global contender! I’ve noticed that they offer more categories/genres for books, so you might be able to find a more comedy-oriented following through Kobo, as you’ll more easily be able to market your book as such. By the way–I love a good comedy and Tom Sharpe is incredible. Looking for a beta reader? 😉

          1. Hi Randi
            I published my novels with Smashwords while also uploading them to Amazon. I believe Smashwords distribute to Kobo. Can I contact Kobo direct and ask them if they have my books placed in the right category? The only trouble is that the versions I placed on Smashwords are now a little out of date, compared with the amazon versions. I haven’t made the Smashwords amendments, as the formatting process is a nightmare.
            One thing I have done is get 50 printed copies of the first two books. These will be sent to important people for review or to generate interest. Believe it or not, I know some Hollywood producers! I’ve only had two books printed, because, if someone reads them and isn’t impressed, there’s nothing in the other three (hilarious though they are!) that would make them change their minds.
            What’s the beta reader arrangement? Are you in the UK or US?

    3. Hi, Stan – Just a quick note regarding the images. I think social media users tend to be more drawn to abstract images vs. pics of real people (i.e., recognizable, facing-the-camera real people), so you may not need to find models, per se.

      If you can amass a small cache of images that symbolize your characters and concepts (even particularly relevant stock photos you can find online for free), then pair them with compelling excerpts/quotes, I think you will see some success (retweets, interaction).

      As you learn more about Twitter and begin to post those images, your follower count likely will grow, too. Best of luck!

  3. Hi Randi,

    Thanks for sharing the difference images made in your book sales. When I share my blog posts, the image I use in the post shows up in the tweet, but I haven’t made a teaser with content on the image.

    Now I’m off to try that.

    1. Hi Flora! Thanks so much for your comment. Good luck with your image teasers! They’re also a lot of fun to make, so not only is it a nice marketing strategy–it adds a touch of fun and creativity to your day!

    1. Hi Jane! I’m not paying anything. The images are just a great way to share your message with those around you. Once you’ve engaged the people you’re surrounded by and gained their interest, they’re more likely to help you extend your reach. Word of mouth is a very important part in social media marketing, and vivid, interesting images are a great way to get the conversation started 🙂

  4. Hi Sandy! As you know from our meeting at AuthorU in Denver, my product is in work. Thinking down the road: Randi’s article and this discussion, have been most informative. Gets the creative juices flowing! 😀

    Thank you!

  5. Sandra,

    I had to make a return visit to this post to let you know how meaningful it was to me. I was already using images in my posts, sometimes even with content. After reading of Randi’s success with creating daily posts, I couldn’t sleep until I created one following her advice.

    Using Canva I created a post using a public domain image, adding an original quote and remembering to brand it. While I was on a roll, I decided to plunge into using Instagram since I’ve noticed other authors and entrepreneurs promoting their work and sharing their work-related activities.

    I used my image on my blog post and Pinterest,shared it on FB and Twitter, but also discovered that I could now send it to Instagram via Hootsuite without the Twitter 140-character restriction. Yay!

    In the process I discovered that Hootsuite offers great help via its Live Chat. Then, I noticed that Social Media Examiner posted an interview with Peg Fitzpatrick that finished my Instagram education, for now. (If you haven’t already, you’ll definitely want to listen and/or read the transcript at http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/stand-out-on-instagram-peg-fitzpatrick/, especially since you mentioned updating your post about social media images.)

    Can you tell I’m excited? For the last few months I’ve been on a learning curve with Adobe products and other tools. Now I can add Instagram to my toolbelt.

    I don’t have the stats yet to show the benefits of taking Randi’s advice, but I will.

    Again, thanks Randi and Sandra.

    1. Flora, I am so thrilled that Randi’s article inspired you! That’s wonderful! And I love that you took action on that inspiration!

      I’ll offer one tip that might help you more than other types of entrepreneurs, since you’re an author. I see a lot of self-proclaimed gurus quoting themselves in their images, hoping (or expecting) that those images will get shared, and it doesn’t happen. What gets shared are those images that others create that quote their “gurus.” That’s why I recommend that authors quote from their book or blog and attribute that wisdom to the book title or company name. For most authors, the goal isn’t to get the author name recognized. It’s to get their book title recognized.

      And now, after reading the article at that link — THANK YOU! — I’m going to pop over to Instagram and see what you created. I’m sure it’s awesome!

      Thanks again for circling back and sharing this. You’re the best!


      1. Sandy,
        I’m glad you pointed out not to attribute to the author. I’ve been trying different approaches and now I know NOT to do that.

        I have been quoting the patient stories in our book and adding a photo of quoted person. I think I will do more of that.

        I was also quoting from our book with the author’s name, name of book. Now I think I will drop the author name and go just with the book name.

        Thanks, as always. You’re the best,
        Patti Ryan
        A-Fib, Inc., A-Fib.com, BeatYourA-Fib.com

        1. Patti, if you’re not the author, then using the author’s name works. If you’re the author, then doing what you’re doing — author name + book title attribution — is better than author name alone w/out the book title.

          When you quote patients, do you include the book title, too?


  6. Randi, Congratulations on your marketing success and thank you for sharing these practical ad do-able tips and how they helped you. I love the idea of sharing images and quotes related to your book’s themes. I downloaded Instaquote but haven’t used it yet. You and Sandra have inspired me to take action!

    1. Hi Kathy! I recommend upgrading to the paid version of InstaQuote if you haven’t done that yet so that you eliminate the InstaQuote watermark on everything you create.

      My other favorite is WordSwag. You might want to check that one out after you get the hang of InstaQuote.

      Have fun with it!


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