Desperate to market yourself but don't know where to start? Your prayers have been answered. Welcome to our new occasional series featuring geeky tips for the hapless writer trying to make an impact in a big, bad, distracted world.
Dear Reader, you might have noticed these past year that infographics have risen in popularity.
Or maybe not, if like me you spend a lot of time locked in the Writing Cave. Maybe you don't have any idea of what I'm talking about.
Infographics are visualizations of data ... you can look at examples in this Pinterest extravaganza of infographics for writers (although I can't see what's writerly about some of them):
|Click on the image to see the Pinterest page. But please come back!|
If you have a blog, a website promoting you and your books, or any of social media account, an infographic is a cool way to share information or put across a point in a way that followers can easily share on facebook, twitter, or other forms of social media.
How to Use InfographicsHere are a few examples of how you can use infographics to raise awareness about your books:
- Story Guide - For students, teachers and other educators: create an infographic of plot points and characters.
- Biography - create an infographic about you
- How To - make a guide to doing something
- Timeline - the historical backdrop to your book
How to create InfographicsLooking at some brilliant infographics, you could be forgiven for thinking that you would need extreme design skills, or expensive software.
Well, maybe you do.
But there are many tools you can access to create your infographics - check out these links to start with:
- 10 Awesome Free Tools to Make Infographics
- Piktochart Infographic App - a full browser tool kit that to make infographics in minutes - for a fee
Piktochart has a free version that gives you three templates to start with. Upgrading to a paid for version gives you more design options. This is a screenshot of the Piktochart interface.
- Seven Online Infographic Builders
A DIY Solution to InfographicsIf the free tools and Piktochart look daunting (or expensive) ... or maybe you're in too much of a hurry to experiment with them, may I share a recent discovery of an easy (ish) way to create infographics ... POWERPOINT.
Yup, the presentation software everyone loves to hate.
Powerpoint allows you to generate not just slideshows but documents to a custom size. The Powerpoint interface makes it easy to add text, images and shapes, format them adding effects like shadows and borders and glows, as well as drag them around on a page. After you've designed it, you need only save it to the format you need for sharing. I bet other presentation software probably can do the same - if you use other slideshow software, do let me know!
And here's an infographic I created using Powerpoint, on how to create infographics using Powerpoint!
Some issues (Hmm)
*You do have to make sure your design is readable once embedded - I only just got away with the sizing of my fonts here. I could re-do it but I'm tired now.
*When I saved my powerpoint slide as a pdf, I had to make sure that the pdf was saved in the custom size I had set. File > Save As > Select Format 'PDF' ... Before clicking 'Save' click on the Options button (see screenshot below, options is bottom left)
Options gives you the chance to make sure that the width and height matches the custom size you set, in my case, in fact the infographic above is a bit bigger than the mentioned 26cm, I set it at 36 cm x 45 cm. This is what the Options window looked like on my Mac.
These will look slightly different, depending on the age, version and operating system your computer is using.
*More issues you might run into:
- A slow computer, low memory might make saving image files difficult. I'm not sure a netbook could cope!
- I did have to play around with the size of my Powerpoint file before I settled on this 36cm width - and I don't think it's the optimal size yet. I will continue to experiment but if some Powerpoint guru could give advice about size and output, would appreciate it.
- Not all software can convert a pdf to a png or jpg. One way way to convert anything to an image is to take a screenshot! (The cool thing about screen shots is they are already low res so quick to upload)
- You can share the pdf itself.
Do you have any great, geeky ideas that a poor benighted author can use? Get in touch and let us know.
With thanks to The Noun Project for the free icon that we adapted for our Geek List logo.