Sometime in July 2021, before The F Words was published, a maxim occurred to me: a picture is worth a thousand words. I thought about that. I was writing thousands of words: these blogs. And I was speaking thousands of words, too: podcasts.
But I wasn’t using many pictures. Other than the book cover, that is. I was getting maximum mileage out of the book cover, sharing it everywhere, creating bookmarks that feature the cover.
So I decided to make some posters about The F Words and share them on social media. To do this, I started a free account on Canva, a graphic design site that offers both free use and upgraded paid use. My intent was to create posters with a live link: a URL that viewers could click on and buy the book.
Unfortunately, it took me many experiments to learn that JPEG files cannot contain live links. PDF files can contain live links. But Facebook does not permit the posting of PDF files. This inability of graphic files to contain live links should have registered with me before I even started. But sometimes I need to go through a process to really learn about it.
So. No live links.
Nevertheless, I went ahead and made posters anyway and shared one on social media very third or fourth day.
One of the Canva decisions I had to make regarded my “color palette.” Based on the book cover of The F Words, Canva suggested five colors. But these were browns and neutrals such as ash and white. I wanted something more lively, so I ignored Canva’s choice and chose colors that pick up on the subtler aspects of the cover; the teal, the yellow-orange, and the black. By default, teal, orange, and black became my “brand” colors.
My intention was to make at least twelve posters, maybe as many as twenty, and to concentrate on the themes of fighting injustice; the writing of poetry; Cole’s worries about his father being in Cook County Jail; Felipe’s running for class president; Cole’s interest in Treva; and Cole’s running cross-country. I figured that the wide variety of topics stood a chance of appealing to more teens. Those who weren’t interested in cross-country might be interested in poetry. And vice versa.
Generally, the two things that help sell books the most are reviews and personal recommendations. But I think that these posters must have helped sell a few books, because each time one was posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I saw sales go up on Amazon.
Among all the things I’ve done to help get the word out about The F Words, I don’t know whether posters rank in the top half of successful efforts, or the bottom half. But I do know that I enjoyed making them — and I hope you enjoy looking at them.
The F Words is available wherever books are sold: from the publisher, City of Light Publishing; from IndieBound, the site for independent bookstores; from Barnes & Noble; and from Amazon. To get updates and the latest news on The F Words, subscribe to Barbara Gregorich’s Newsletter.