Ten Things Authors Can Do with an Animated Book Cover
1. Post your animated book cover on your personal or author website
Your website is the ideal place to show off your animated cover. To wow your visitors, choose a prime spot on your author website to showcase it. Don't hide it away on a less-trafficked page; place it at the top or near the top of your home page to guarantee they won’t miss it.
You can also make a web banner that looks similar to your book cover by taking elements from the cover and creating a banner that spans the top of your web page. Many book designers offer this service in addition to cover design, or you can try to make one yourself. Once you've got a matching banner, you can animate it as well for extra effect.
2. Post your animated cover on your Amazon author page.
Your Amazon Author Page is the place where you can put additional information about you and your books. Amazon allows authors to post video content related to their work in this space, so don't miss the opportunity to add your book trailers and animated book covers there.
Many authors don't utilize this portion of their space on Amazon, so you'll be ahead of the game if you fill it with good content. Visitors checking out your author page are probably not expecting video, but they are likely to be impressed by a well-made animation. They might even be persuaded to press the "follow author" button, or even better, to give your books another look. Getting potential customers to return to the sales page is, after all, your ultimate goal on Amazon.
3. Ask a reviewer to upload the MP4 of your animated book cover when they review your book on Amazon.
Amazon allows reviewers to post videos and images along with their reviews (or they can add one on later after they review). As an author, you can't upload videos like book trailers or animated covers to your actual Amazon sales page, but getting a reviewer to do it is a creative work-around.
You could try asking on Goodreads or in your author newsletters/emails for a reader to upload the animated cover along with a review. Make sure they know where to find it.
When a reviewer uploads the MP4 of your animated cover, it will be front and central on the image and video gallery above the reviews on the sales page. It will also show in the review itself.
Persuading a reviewer to post for you is the only way potential customers who visit your book's sales page on Amazon (and don't end up navigating to other pages) will get to view your animated book cover. Seeing your book cover in action just might persuade browsing customers to make a purchase.
The sales page is the place you'll get the most traffic on Amazon, so making the effort to get your animated cover there is a good idea. Although you can and should post your animated cover on your Amazon author page, the reality is the majority of people who find you on Amazon will only view your sales page.
4. Make you animated book cover your pinned tweet on Twitter
A pinned tweet is a tweet that stays on your Twitter profile right below your bio. It's where authors often post info about a new or old release, and an image of their book's cover. Because a pinned tweet stays put, anyone who visits your Twitter profile to see what you're all about will immediately see your book. Including an animated cover on a pinned tweet makes a great first impression.
Include a link to purchase in the body of the tweet and a very short blurb or other interesting info about the book. Attach an MP4 file of your animated cover to the tweet.
To pin the tweet, you'll have to tweet it first. After tweeting it out for the first time, go to the tweet on your profile and select "more” and then “pin tweet" from the choices at the bottom of the tweet.
5. Use your animated cover in place of a still cover when you tweet about your book on Twitter.
Tweeting about your book from your own Twitter account is free advertising, and if done with careful planning and knowledge of your audience, can impact your exposure and even your sales as much as some types of paid advertising. An animated cover is a great tool to have as you attempt to reach this audience. To make the most of an animated cover on Twitter:
Tweet out your animated cover sparingly, so followers don't become immune to its effects.
Change up the content of your message often, so it's not the same tweet paired with the cover each time.
You’ll also want to follow best Twitter practices to ensure you're not tweeting to an empty room:
Cultivate an audience (follower list) that is likely to be interested in your tweets about your book, rather than just scooping up random people. Focus on finding groups of people that are represented in your books or that represent your likely readership.
To interest followers in your book or attract new followers, try connecting the themes of your book to current events and other popular topics. (Yes, this can work with fiction!)
Make your tweets less about selling your book and more about engaging conversation around these related topics.
Enter into others' conversations about these topics, particularly if no one is responding to your tweets.
Let your Twitter profile speak for itself. People are likely to check out your profile when you enter conversations, and if your profile and pinned tweet clearly show you wrote a book with the themes under discussion, it's a pretty effective advertisement. It’s often a better strategy than talking directly about your book, though you can do this too in the right situation.
6. Include your animated book cover in your author newsletter or emails
Give your newsletter a boost with an eye-catching, animated version of your cover. You can insert the MP4 of your animated cover right inside your email.
Most author-to-reader communication doesn't contain video elements, so a moving, lit-up book cover is bound to get your subscribers' attention. When it's time to publish another book, this is a great way to get subscribers excited about a new release.
If you're struggling to think up content for the regular emails you send out to your author mailing list, one idea is talk about how you advertise. Many readers have no idea what goes into marketing and may enjoy learning a bit about the process. You could give subscribers a behind-the-scenes look at how you promote your book. Involving readers in your various marketing efforts gives you something to talk about and may even elicit brilliant suggestions you hadn't thought of.
You could also talk about the challenging process of creating the original cover (DIY or hiring out). There's often a story behind that.
Share your animated book cover with subscribers, how it was created and how you plan to use it in advertising. You can then invite readers to post it in different places.
7. Put your animated book cover in your personal email signature
Many authors set their email signature to include their book titles, website links, and social media handles. It's a wise business practice since it's fairly unobtrusive and alerts all kinds of people you interact with that you have a book they may not know about.
Typically, authors put website links and brief book information, but you can also display a book cover or even animated book cover in your email signature if you want.
8. Make a video with your animated book cover
You can feature your animated cover in any kind of video you make for your book. MP4s of this size can usually be inserted into video as easily as still images.
If you are planning to make a book trailer, use your animated cover for one of the images. Most book trailers reveal the book's cover at the beginning or end of the video (or both); you could place your animated cover in one of these spots and a still version in the other. This would work well for longer book trailers that are designed to introduce the story and characters.
But you might also consider making a simpler, shorter video (20-30 seconds) that just highlights the animated cover itself. These are often set to music and always contain purchasing information. You could also choose one quote or a review to highlight as well.
9. Display your animated cover at a sales booth.
If you are selling at a book fair or convention, you'll need to make your booth inviting. You'll also want to fill it with everything book-related so visitors have interesting and relevant focal points and plenty of reason to check your books out further.
You can display your animated book cover on a computer screen at your table. Set it to play in a loop and make sure the screen is propped up and visible. You're likely to have people stopping to look closer. It may even spark a conversation.
10. Incorporate your animated book cover into your presentation at author events.
Nobody really knows what you're supposed to do with an author event; we authors just know we're supposed to have one! One idea for an author reading or signing is to bring your animated cover into your presentation.
To add pizazz to any author event, try playing your animated cover in a loop in the background. If you're presenting at a bookstore that has a TV, large monitor, or projector you can hook a computer up to, you're in business. You could even break the ice with your audience by talking about the cover and the story elements represented on it before you launch into a talk or reading.