A book cover is portrait but we live in a landscape world of social media images
Have you noticed that your book cover image often gets cropped on popular social media sites and on platforms like Facebook and Twitter?
It is a big problem because people judge a book by its cover. You share images of your book covers because it is your principal marketing strategy in attracting readers to your book.
I am forever tearing my hair out trying to find ways to promote books with a high-quality full cover image showing on social media sites.
Unfortunately, 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, these specifications can change depending on what device people are using to view your social media account.
Let’s look at what happens to book cover design on different social media platforms.
First, let’s look at how Facebook handles social media images.
Facebook is by far the most restrictive of all the social networks.
If your cover image is very large it will be in landscape, but medium and small images will be cropped to a square.
However, if you share a Facebook post on to 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 creating a 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.
The first is how the post appears on a laptop and the second on an iPad or iPhone. So my expensive plugin is only good for laptop and desktop users.
Pinterest is the only platform that handles visual content perfectly for all book and ebook covers.
Hooray! At least one of the social networking sites loves book covers. Pinterest is the only platform that always accepts portrait images.
So what can you do to get your image viewed in full on social media?
There is not a lot you can do, unfortunately.
The only workaround is to create design templates for a landscape image that you can then use on all social media platforms.
I use Canva to create images for my blogs, which is a free online image maker. You can create stunning 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 quickly for this post.
I am sure you could be more creative 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 the various social media services that 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 shhet 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 you could also 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 in some way. Even when you send messages. For photos, videos and even gifs, be prepared to be cropped. It is also worth double checking your cover photos and profile pictures to make sure they are appearing correctly.
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 minimise this effect by adapting your promotional book images to suit each network’s specifications.