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The Role of Visual Content in Building Your Author Platform

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Learn about the role of visual content in building a recognizable and thriving author platform that creates a genuine bond with your audience.

visual content for authors

Whether you’re a seasoned author or a budding writer, writing is a journey. That journey extends beyond the pages of your books and into the vast (and sometimes overwhelming) online world. As a self-published author, mastering the ins and outs is paramount. One key aspect of navigating this terrain is incorporating visual content.

We live in a visually-driven society, so visual content is crucial in building your author platform. Relying on your writing alone is insufficient; you must also be a master of images, a collector of visuals that complement your storytelling, and the visualsmith of your digital identity.

No matter your goal, the strategic implementation of visual content can make a difference. In this blog, we’ll delve into the art and science of leveraging visual content to build a robust author platform and provide you with strategies and tips for taking your visuals to the next level.

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The Power of First Impressions

“Two things remain irretrievable: time and a first impression.” Cynthia Ozick | American Short Story Writer and Novelist

First impressions matter in building a thriving and profitable author platform. That “first contact” with a potential reader holds the power to shape their perception, ignite curiosity, and establish a connection that can lead to profitability and long-lasting relationships. Here’s how.

↬ Capturing Attention: Readers are constantly being bombarded with content from every direction when they go online. Some things they see hold their interest, while many are algorithm spam they roll their eyes at. Be the creator readers want to interact with by latching their attention with visuals that resonate with their wants, needs, and desires.

Your first impression needs to be attention-grabbing. It needs to make readers pause their scrolling and take notice. Your visuals need to say what they want to hear for you to stand out from the crowd.

↬ Setting Expectations: Your first impression sets the stage for what readers can expect from your work. It’s like the opening lines of a novel; it should provide a glimpse into your writing style, genre, and the unique voice that distinguishes you as an author. Readers who get a clear sense of what you offer are more likely to engage further.

↬ Building Trust: Trust is a cornerstone of a profitable author platform. A solid first impression conveys professionalism, authenticity, and credibility. This trust forms the foundation of the reader-author relationship, making readers more inclined to invest their time and money in your books.

↬ Creating Brand Recognition: Consistency in first impression elements, such as your logo, color scheme, or visual style, helps create brand recognition. Over time, as readers encounter your work across various platforms, they begin to associate these elements with your name and writing. This association increases your visibility and memorability.

↬ Inviting Engagement: A well-crafted first impression should invite readers to engage with you. It could be a call-to-action to sign up for your newsletter, follow you on social media, or explore your books further. Engaged readers are likelier to become loyal fans and advocates for your work.

↬ Boosting Discoverability: Search engines and algorithms often prioritize content that receives positive engagement and has a good first impression. This means that a compelling first impression can improve your visibility on platforms like Google, Amazon, or social media, making it easier for readers to find you.

↬ Fostering Emotional Connection: Emotions influence how, when, and where we spend. Your first impression is an opportunity to evoke emotions in your audience to influence their decision. Whether humor, curiosity, excitement, or empathy, creating an emotional connection with readers will make them more invested in your journey as an author.

↬ Maximizing Profitability: A thriving author platform is not only about gaining followers; it’s about building a community and converting those followers into loyal fans and paying readers. A compelling first impression catalyzes this conversion, leading to book sales, speaking engagements, and other revenue-generating opportunities.

Invest time and effort into crafting a memorable, authentic, and impactful first impression that resonates with your target readers and sets you on the path to thriving as an author.

author branding

The Role of Visuals in Branding and Marketing

Visuals play a pivotal role in marketing and branding for authors, and their importance cannot be overstated. With the shortening attention span of your audience pool, readers and potential fans gravitate toward impactful images that instantly grab their interest and attention.

Visuals such as book covers, author photos, social media graphics, logo designs, and website aesthetics have the power to convey your brand’s identity, engage your audience, and drive book sales. They provide the first glimpse into your work, visually narrating the story that your writing holds.

But is there a hard and fast rule that you need visuals?

Yes, there is. Here's why.

↬ Visuals Play a Key Role in First Impressions: According to research by the Missouri University of Science and Technology, a visitor takes less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression of your brand’s website. Visual elements such as color, layout, and imagery influence this initial impression.

↬ Content with Visuals Gets More Engagement: Content with relevant visuals receives more engagement than text-only content. For example, social media posts with images or videos receive significantly more likes, shares, and comments. According to ZipDo, striking visuals increase conversion on social media by 2.3x.

Social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok are highly visual. If you want to make a dent on these platforms, your visual content strategy is your way in.

↬ Visuals Enhance Brand Recall: The human brain processes visual information much faster and more effectively than text. This means that well-designed visuals, such as logos, book covers, and promotional graphics, are more likely to be remembered and associated with your brand.

↬ Consistency Builds Brand Recognition: Visual consistency across your marketing materials is vital to brand recognition. Consistent branding across all your platforms can increase your book revenue by up to 23%. Brand recognition is essential for authors as it helps readers identify your work among the multitude of books available.

↬ Book Cover Design Influences Purchases: The book cover is an author’s most critical visual element. 99 Designs conducted research offering four author free redesigns for their covers to make them more “on brand” for their target audience. The results: redesign covers received 51% more clicks than the originals.

An eye-catching and professionally designed cover can significantly impact your book’s sales. Bonus points if the cover conveys the right genre, tone, and what the book’s about.

↬ Video Marketing Is on the Rise: Video content is becoming increasingly crucial in author marketing. According to HubSpot, 87% of marketing professionals use video as a marketing tool, and 85% of consumers want to see more brand video content.

Author videos, book trailers, and live readings are all effective ways to engage your audience visually.

↬ Visuals Drive Website Traffic: Blog posts and articles with images receive 94% more views than those without. Visual content makes your website more appealing and encourages visitors to stay longer, explore your content, and potentially discover your books.

To unlock the benefits your visuals offer, curate images designed to align with your brand voice and aesthetics. Investing in high-quality visuals increases the effectiveness of your book marketing efforts and reinforces your brand.

visual marketing for authors

Visual Elements of an Author Platform

The list of options for visual content you can create is long, but for the sake of this post, we’ll focus on the primary elements in your visual strategy toolkit:

  1. Author Logo Suite

  2. Book Covers

  3. Marketing Collaterals and Promotional Graphics

  4. Website and Social Media Images

Author Logo Suite

As an author, success hinges on your identity. You want to be recognized and remembered; the easiest way is through a professionally designed author logo.

While not all authors use logos, having a unique author logo can help establish a memorable and recognizable brand identity. Your logo can be as simple as your name stylized in a distinctive font or a small emblem representing your writing niche or personal brand.

Your Logo as Your Platform’s Centerpiece

A well-designed logo will help you establish a strong brand identity you can utilize across all your marketing materials.

Your logo is the face of your brand, and it should represent your unique style, voice, and personality. A professional designer will work with you to create a logo that captures your essence and appeals to your audience. They will consider your genre, your target market, and your personal preferences to create a design that is both memorable and effective.

A professionally designed author logo that truly represents who you are as an author is an essential and invaluable component of your brand identity. It will help bolster your visual presence, differentiate you from the competition, and create a lasting impression on your readers.

author brand image

Book Cover Design

As an author, you’ve spent countless hours crafting the perfect story. You’ve labored over every word, every sentence, and every paragraph. But have you given the same level of attention to your book’s cover design? It’s easy to overlook, but a professional cover design is a game-changer when selling your book.

First impressions matter, and your book’s cover is often the first point of contact between readers and your work. A well-designed cover will instantly catch their eye, pique their curiosity about what’s inside, evoke emotions, and increase the chance of sealing the deal with a purchase.

On the other hand, a poorly designed cover is a turn-off for most readers and makes them pass over your book entirely. It’s the counter effect of the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Readers will judge you, and some will judge you hard. This poor reception can overshadow your entire author brand and future releases.

book cover designs

Marketing Collaterals and Promotional Graphics

Visual book marketing is a powerful tool for boosting the credibility and growth of an author’s brand. By creating visually appealing designs that capture the essence of your work, book marketing can help you build a loyal following of readers who are eager to explore your work.

Here are the key benefits of using visual marketing to build your author brand:

  • It helps you establish a strong visual identity that is instantly recognizable by readers.

  • It helps you create a cohesive and professional image when you use consistent design elements across all your marketing materials.

  • It helps build a sense of excitement and anticipation around your work, fostering reader engagement and buzzworthy reviews.

  • It helps you build credibility and authority within your niche and among readers.

Be sure to include your visual branding elements, such as bookmarks, posters, business cards, or banners, in all aspects of your book-related events. These materials provide tangible reminders of your brand and can leave a lasting impact on potential readers and collaborators.

Marketing and promotional graphics that feature your book covers, author logo, and relevant brand colors help generate buzz and recognition for your work.

marketing design for authors

Website and Social Media Images

Author Website

Your website serves as a central hub for all things related to your author brand. It’s a sanctuary for your readers to immerse themselves in your literary universe. To give your site visitors the best experience possible, your author’s website should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and responsive on different devices. This will:

  • Create a positive first impression and add to your brand credibility.

  • Enhances the overall user experience for readers, reducing bounce rates and keeping visitors engaged to explore what you offer.

  • Effectively communicate your brand message, showcase your books, share your writing journey, and promote your upcoming releases and events.

Design your website’s visual aesthetics to help you stand out in a crowded market and say, “I am here, I am unique, and I have something extraordinary to offer.”

Social Media Platforms

Social media graphics are an essential part of an author’s branding toolkit. Social platforms open avenues for authors to connect with readers and promote their work.

A visually appealing social media presence can lead to:

  • Increased engagement and follower growth

  • Enhanced brand recognition

  • Effective book promotion

Investing in visually appealing content and maintaining consistency in your visual branding across your social media profiles allows you to create a robust online presence and connect with readers on a deeper level, ultimately advancing your author career.

Your social media should be a reflection of your authenticity, your passion, and your journey as an author. Maintaining visual consistency across social platforms reinforces your brand whenever someone engages with your online presence.

brand recognition for authors

Tips for Creating Shareable Visual Content

Creating shareable visual content is a game changer. It’s your way of breaking through the online noise and getting noticed by your ideal readership. Not only does it give your readers a glimpse into your creative process, but it also helps you reach new audiences and build your brand.

But creating shareable visual content isn’t just about making pretty pictures. It’s about crafting a visual narrative that supports and enhances your message. If you’re working with a professional designer or illustrator, they’ll come to the design table with previous experience. But if you’re tackling it independently, you’ll have to learn the rules of strategic design.

The Basic Rules of Strategic Design

Creating visuals independently as an author requires a strategic approach to ensure your visual content effectively supports your brand and engages your audience. Here are five rules of strategic design for authors:

↬ Consistency is Key: Maintain a consistent visual style, color palette, typography, and branding across all your visual content. Consistency builds recognition and trust, making it easier for readers to identify your work. Create a style guide to ensure uniformity.

↬ Prioritize Clarity and Simplicity: Keep your visual content clear and straightforward. Avoid clutter and overly complex designs that can confuse or overwhelm your audience. Simplicity enhances comprehension and readability.

↬ Align with Your Author Brand: Your visuals should reflect your author brand, personality, and the themes of your books. Ensure that your design choices resonate with your target audience and the emotions you want to evoke. Consistency with your writing style is essential.

↬ Think Mobile-First: Many readers access content on mobile devices, so optimize your visuals for various screen sizes. Test how your visuals appear on smartphones and tablets to ensure a seamless experience.

↬ Incorporate Accessibility Features: Prioritize accessibility in your design. Provide alternative text (alt text) for images, use readable fonts and contrast, and ensure your visual content can be navigated and understood by individuals with disabilities.

Accessibility makes your content inclusive and helps with SEO and discoverability.

Effective design is more than making your visuals look aesthetically pleasing; it’s about conveying your message clearly, aligning with your brand, and engaging your audience effectively. By following these rules, you can create visuals that enhance your author's platform and connect with readers in a meaningful way.


​If you’re an author who wants to create stunning visuals for your book but doesn’t have the time to learn design strategies, Writerly Owl Designs is here to help!

Let us bring your vision to life while offering guidance and collaboration. With our expertise, you can focus on what you do best - writing your book! Contact us today to start your visual design journey.


Tips for Creating Visual Content that Grows Your Author Platform

↬ Know Your Audience: Knowing your audience is the first step to creating a branding or marketing strategy. Understand your target audience's preferences, interests, and demographics. Tailor your visual content to resonate with their tastes and needs.

↬ Tell a Story: Craft visual content that tells a compelling story related to your book or author journey. Storytelling makes content more relatable and shareable.

↬ Leverage Quotes: Use visually appealing quote graphics featuring excerpts from your book or inspiring quotes related to your genre. Shareable quotes resonate with readers and generate interest in your work.

↬ Design Eye-Catching Book Covers: Invest in professional book cover design. A visually striking cover will make readers more likely to share and purchase your book.

↬ Share Behind-the-Scenes Content: Take your audience behind the scenes of your writing process, research, or book launch. Authenticity fosters connection and engagement.

↬ Design Memes and GIFs: Memes and GIFs can inject humor and personality into your content. Create shareable ones that relate to your book's themes or characters.

↬ Incorporate User-Generated Content: Encourage readers to share content related to your books, such as fan art, reviews, or interpretations. Repost and credit them on your platforms.

↬ Utilize Hashtags: Research and use relevant hashtags in your posts to increase discoverability and encourage sharing within niche communities.

↬ Include a Call to Action (CTA): Encourage sharing by adding clear and compelling CTAs in your visual content. Ask readers to "Share if you agree" or "Tag a friend who would love this."

↬ Be Consistent: Maintain a consistent visual style, color scheme, and branding across your content. This helps build recognition and trust.

↬ Track and Analyze Performance: Use analytics tools provided by social media platforms to track the performance of your visual content. Identify what types of content resonate most with your audience and adjust your strategy accordingly.

↬ Experiment and Evolve: Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of visual content and strategies. Adapt and refine your approach based on what works best for your author brand.

The key to creating shareable visual content is to balance creativity, relevance, and authenticity. Keep your audience at the forefront of your mind and adapt your content strategy based on reader feedback and engagement patterns.

Over time, you’ll be able to refine your approach and create visual content that resonates deeply with your readers and encourages them to share your work with others.

visual storytelling for authors

Visuals Are Your Brand Ambassadors

Visuals are your brand ambassadors. They embody your unique voice, message, genre, and personality. They are the bridge between your words and your readers’ hearts.

Look around you at the world we live in today. It’s a visually driven society. We communicate through images, emojis, and videos. In this fast-paced digital age, you have seconds to capture someone’s attention. Your visuals need to tell a story, your story, and they need to do it swiftly and powerfully.

Whether you’re a seasoned author or just starting your writing journey, your brand is your promise to your audience. It’s the emotional connection you build with your readers; visuals are the keys to unlocking that connection.

If you found this blog helpful and insightful, consider sharing it with other authors who might benefit from practical tips and guidance on building a thriving author career with branding and marketing strategies that create an immersive experience for your readership.

Unlock the power of professional visuals for your author brand! Let Writerly Owl Designs bring your vision to life, elevate your online presence, and captivate readers with stunning visuals. Get started today and focus on what you do best—writing!



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