I feel it's time to put my past job as a web designer and coder to good use here and give three brief tips on making effective teasers for your book.
I've got news for all y'all, people surfing the internet have the attention spans of gnats. If you don't capture them in the first millisecond, you've lost them. I've seen many user test cases where people couldn't even find basic information that was right in front of them, so a book teaser image has to grab them right away.
You'll need to decide what images work best for your book, so I can't give you many tips there. Perhaps you feel like a hot, muscular guy is your thing since you write romance or a kick-ass woman in leather because you write urban fantasy, or whatever. Your image will either appeal to a reader or not.
But if you've grabbed them with the image, here's how you can keep them long enough to digest your information.
- Keep your text short and sweet! Please do not be that author that makes a 600 pixel wide image and 80% of that image is 10px type with 5 paragraphs of text. Here's a tip: make your image, and then load it on your iPhone or other mobile device. If you can't read it without zooming, don't use it! 25% of the traffic on my website comes from mobile users. When you put your image on Twitter or Facebook, most people view that on their phone. Make it easy for them to glance at it and get it right away. I wouldn't go over 100 words for your teaser. Anything more, make it an excerpt on your website.
- Go big with contrast! And learn to love white space! Low contrast between text and the image it's on (i.e. dark grey text on light grey or red on pink) means people can't see your text especially if the image is small on a mobile device. Go with black and white or red on white. Etc. Be sure the text is readable or people will move on. And don't crowd the image. Leave breathing room and keep it balanced with some white space (blank space) around your text or image. Believe it or not, a cramped image makes people feel claustrophobic. Not exactly the happy feeling you want to give people when looking at your image!
- Make sure to include important details! I once saw a teaser image that had the name of the book but not the author's name or website! WHAT? Why would you spend the time making an image and then have the reader have to hunt you down? I don't care how famous you are, at the very least your name and/or your website URL should be on every teaser image. Fit it in there somewhere. If a reader loves your teaser and wants more, you want them to hit your website, sign up for your newsletter, etc. Don't do everything right (right image, right amount of text, right contrast) and then leave them hanging. Now, some people will Google you, but the vast majority of users will not. Most don't want to be bothered. Give them your URL, just in case. You don't want to miss that opportunity!
Other than that, it's up to you what else you want to add or how you design it. Release date. Series information. Landscape, portrait or square. Black and white. Vintage. There are so many choices! But if you make sure to do at least these top three things, you will hook in your reader and keep them long enough to find out more.
Do you have effective teasers you want to share? Link to them in the comments! Here's are all of the teasers I have made for my books.