Basically, images are your most effective and efficient marketing tool. People simply expect them, and pictures are what people notice.
But we writers don't work in a visual medium. We use words. So how exactly do we take this modern picture-driven sensibility and make it work for us? Here are a few ways.
1. Magazine Cover Style: I talked a bit about this in a blog post a few weeks ago, but I think it's worth mentioning again. This strategy is best used in correlation with a blog. Basically all you have to do is take an image and create a text overlay as if you were making a magazine cover for your blog post or article. If that sounds difficult, don't worry. It's made pretty simple using sites like PicMonkey. I'm still fiddling around with this, learning how to do it better, and it can actually end up being pretty fun. This strategy works particularly well with sites like Facebook and Pinterest. Here's an example:
2. Poster Style: Even though we work with words, we can still find ways of making those words look pretty. There are lots of online tools that even do this for you. The principle of overlaying text on an image is the same, but instead of using it as a link to an article, this is more of a motivational or cool thing that can be spread around. Take your favorite quote and put it over a beautiful and appropriate image, or just make the words themselves look pretty. Again, there are lots of online tools to help you do this and lots of ways to go about it. Posters are even easier to spread on basically any social media site. Here's an example:
3. Accompanying Story Style: One possible strategy is simply using the image as a jumping off point. Have you ever seen those pins on Pinterest with a paragraph story explanation? A news image with accompanying story on Facebook? This works because the image is the attention grabber, and if it does it's job, people will stop and pay attention to the story, which is where you as a writer can really shine, right? Find ways to use this. One of my favorite examples is the hilarious Tumblr blog "Yacht Cats." The internet already loves cats, and the images themselves are easily and quickly sharable. But then once you're attention is grabbed, you get down to the accompanying story and see how hilarious and witty and fun the writing itself is. Check it out, you'll see what I mean. And see if trying something similar might help you in your own online presence.
So there's that. Thoughts? Can you think of other ways writers might use images in book marketing?