Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WWoW! Designing Your Own Gift Card

WoW! Here's a simple recommendation to simplify your life as an author...
In this weekly feature, I’ll give just one suggestion of a marketing tool to try. TODAY as a special treat, author Sharon Clare stops in today to teach us how to DESIGN OUR OWN GIFT CARDS. She's done it. And she promises it isn't that hard!

In this world of social media contests, it’s easy and cost-effective for authors to email gift certificates to winners of their contests or blog hops. Did you know you can custom design your gift certificates on Amazon? It’s a nice way to promote your books.

I use a free program called GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) for all my graphic designs. It works like a simplified version of Photoshop. I don’t consider myself a technical person, and I have no problem using GIMP. There are great youtube videos to help. Download GIMP here.

This is the gift card image (left) I made to promote my paranormal romance Love of Her Lives.

When you purchase an Amazon gift card here, you are given the option to upload your photo under select a style for your gift card.
To make this photo, I used a variety of GIMP tools. You can make your card as simple as you like.

1. Start by opening a new image. Under file – new – select an image size of 640 wide x 400 height. (These are pixels.)
2. Select a background colour and use the bucket fill tool to fill this layer. I used the colour picker tool to match the yellow and purple from my book cover.
3. Open an image of your book cover in GIMP on a separate page. Under edit, copy the book cover and then paste it on your gift card image. You will likely need to resize. Use the scale tool - click on the pasted layer and drag the edge inward to shrink it. A scale box will appear, you must click scale to save your changes.
4. In the same way, you can use the rotate tool to turn your book.
5. Use the move tool to place it where you like. Now add another layer to paste your floating selection.
6. Use the text tool to add a review or your log line. You can choose the font, colour and size of text. (I added the banner at the bottom of the card, by using a page curl under filters then distorts, but that’s a bit complicated and not necessary.)
7. To save your image, click file then export, then select file type by extension (choose .png or .jpeg or whatever) click export again on the export image box. Remember to notice where you saved it. And voila!
Just as an aside, if you save the file as .xcf as well, then you can always go back and manipulate the layers to make changes. I’ll be doing this to switch out Love of Her Lives for my new book Rhapsody, releasing on Dec. 24th from Crimson Romance...

Rhapsody, a paranormal novella, takes place on a tropical vacation. The heroine is shocked to discover her resort has disappeared and she must play a game of seduction with a man she intended to avoid to win her freedom.

To celebrate Rhapsody’s release, I will give away an electronic version of Love of Her Lives to one lucky commenter! Please leave your email address and I will randomly choose a winner on Friday.


Learn more about Sharon Clare’s books at: sharonclare.comSharon Clare lives in Ontario with her husband and three wonderful grown-up kids who come and go from the nest. She fell in love with writing at the University of Toronto where she graduated with a science degree in psychology and professional writing. She writes paranormal romance and has published short stories, art reviews, newsletter and magazine articles. Her favourite place to write is outside under the maple trees beside the lily pond.

WoW is a Smart & Savvy Group of Authors who host this weekly feature each Wednesday.
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