Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Marketing: Spruce Up Your Site with Images and Video

The image came from Wiki Media Commons. Proper attribution that is an eye-sore: "Giant Rubber Duck by Yoshimasa Niwa [CC-BY-2.0 (]."

Finding Images Made Easy


Adding art (images, screenshots, and videos) to your blogs and Web sites can be a pain, but it's worth doing for several reasons:

- Readers like art.
- Google likes art.
(Supposedly, adding art will improve your ranking in search engine. Be sure to add some descriptive text to the image properties.)
- Linked In and Facebook like art.
(When you add a link to a blog in Linked In or Facebook, a thumbnail of the art often appears, which makes the link that much more inviting.)

For one-stop art shopping, I like Creative Commons, which offers a selection of Web sites offering free images. I typically start with Wiki Media Commons. Finding a suitable image is relatively easy.

Creative Commons lets you search for images or videos from multiple sites -- but not simultaneously.

Using Images Made Hard

Figuring out how to give credit the photographer is tricky. (I just spent an hour looking for a consensus on proper protocol. Ha!)

My latest strategy (as of today)
- If the photographer issues long, involved instructions for using their image -- I skip it.
- The attribution I used above duck image is pretty standard and includes: the work's title, name of the author, and the specific license the work is under.  But this creates a mess for blog subscribers. I will likely put the attribution at the end of blog posts. 
- Here's the least mind-numbing discussion on using Creative Commons licensed images.

Editing Images

You can edit, crop, and resize images using a photo editing tool. The only problem is these programs can be slow to load and overwhelming to use. For resizing, cropping, annotating, and editing screenshots, I like a freebie called Irfranview. The program has a few quirks (or maybe I haven't bothered to read all the instructions,) but it's quick to download and use.


Creative Commons also lets you search for videos, on services, such as Youtube.

 This is same rubber duck in a video -- do not watch! It's ten minutes of the duck from different angles.

Uploading video from Youtube to a blog like Blogger is now pretty straight forward. Adding videos to a Web site can be trickier because it involves embedding and copying some code onto your site.

Note on Youtube copyright issues:  It appears that if someone posts a video and enables the embed feature you can embed it. For a convoluted discussion that's more that you'd ever want to read, go to section 6C in Youtube's terms of service.

Another hassle: The videos are never the right size for my site. To get them to fit in a narrow space, I manually adjusted the height and width specifications as highlighted below in red. I always start by reducing the height and width by half and increase or decrease each measure by the same proportion. (Double, reduce by half, etc.)

To add video to your Web site, copy the embeddable code and then adjust the height and width by the same proportions for good fit.

For more tips on beautifying your site, see CopyBloggers' guide to basic page layout. (The piece is mentions WordPress in the title, but the tips apply to any Web page.)

For More of My Book Marketing Tips, See:

- Blogging for Writers: Tips, Tools, and Resources

- Query Letter Confusion: When One Agent Says A and Another Says B

-  Greetings from Book Marketing Hell: SEO for Authors

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