A book cover is a portrait, but we live in a landscape world of social media images.
Have you noticed that your book cover image or Kindle cover gets cropped on popular social media sites and platforms like Facebook and Twitter?
It is a big problem because people often read books by first judging its cover.
You share images of your book cover art because it is your main marketing strategy in attracting readers to your book.
It doesn’t matter if you have made your book cover for free by using an online book cover maker, or paid for a pre-made book cover template or have a professionally designed cover.
Most times, when you start designing a cover, it will be in portrait.
The only books that sometimes have a square cover are children’s books.
I am forever tearing my hair out, trying to find ways to promote books with a high-quality full cover image. But showing them in full on social media sites is not easy.
Unfortunately, even though you might have a great book cover design, social platforms like Facebook make the rules, and fitting a portrait peg into a square or landscape hole is not easy.
Not only are there restrictions on the size and orientation of images, but these specifications can and do change depending on what device people are using to view your social media account.
Social media is an imperfect world. So imperfect that is is common to find a book cover cut in half.
Let’s look at what happens to book cover design on different social media platforms.
First, let’s look at a sample book cover–Facebook handles book cover images in two different ways.
Facebook is by far the most restrictive of all the social networks.
If your cover image is large, it will be in landscape, but medium and small images will be always be cropped to a square. In this form, it can hardly capture the essence of your book cover.
However, if you share a Facebook post on Twitter, the small square image suddenly becomes landscape. It also depends again on what device people are using to view your post.
Your front cover art fairs a little better on Twitter.
On Twitter, you can successfully post portrait images in full if you compose your Tweet manually.
However, to achieve the same result using automated posting, I had to invest in an expensive paid plugin for WordPress that forces Twitter to accept and post a full portrait image.
If you are posting from your blog that has Twitter Cards enabled, you will find that image posts are always in cropped to landscape.
When you are designing your book cover, it is common practice to have the title at the top and the author name at the bottom. With cropped landscape posting, both will be lost.
But alas, when it comes to mobile devices, once again, the cover image gets cropped by Twitter. The two images above are from the same post to Twitter but on different devices.
The first is how the image appears on a laptop and the second on an iPad or iPhone. So my expensive plugin is only useful for laptop and desktop users.
Pinterest is the only platform that handles visual content perfectly for all book and ebook covers for book designs in any format.
At least one of the social networking sites loves book covers. Pinterest is the only platform that always accepts portrait images.
Can you get your cover image viewed in full?
There is not a lot you can do with portrait covers, unfortunately.
But here’s a way you can post a book cover on Facebook in full.
The workaround for books on Facebook is to create quality design templates for a landscape image. You can also use them on other social media platforms.
I use Canva to create images for my blogs, which is a free online image maker. But you can also create stunning book cover images in just a few simple steps.
You can use Canva to make a landscape book promotion image such as the one below, which I prepared very quickly for this post.
I am sure you could be more creative with the color palette and design something eye-catching with a bit of imagination.
There is a good selection of stock images on Canva to spice up your promotional book image.
There are so many image specifications for social media services.
It is impossible to know and understand what will happen to your beautiful book cover design when it is shared on social media and viewed by an active user.
You can use a cheat sheet of social media image sizes to give you a guide.
Apart from using Pinterest more, or investing a lot of money for a WordPress plugin for Twitter, the best advice I can give is to create a design type using a few landscape versions of your cover image to use on social media.
One of the design tips on cover ideas you could consider is having a second version or your book cover with the title in the middle to use purely for your social media marketing.
Unfortunately, images on all forms of digital marketing will almost always be manipulated, resized or cropped in some way,
even when you send them as messages.
For photos, videos and even gifs, be prepared that they might be cropped. It is also worth double-checking your cover photos and profile pictures and your Facebook cover photo to make sure they appear correctly.
Even if you hire a designer, your book cover is almost certainly going to be cropped or reduced, depending on what social media platform and device someone is using.
But you can minimize this effect by adapting your promotional book images to suit each network’s specifications.