Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

I’m a member of the Author Toolbox Blog Hop.  What is it?  A chance for authors at any stage in their career to connect by providing helpful posts related to all things writing.  The Hop occurs once a month, with the exception of November and December.  My post for April 2020 is creating the dreaded graphics for book promotion, so read on…

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

I’ll be the first to admit I am not a graphic artist.  And I will also admit I loathe making graphics for book promotions.  I seriously do.  I’m far from an artist.  I do have photoshop elements.  For my personal blog at LiveJournal, I used to love making icons.  Not that my icons were award-winning or anything, but I did have fun.  Plus, my LJ is locked down to private, so only my friends so my poor attempts at design haha.

But what of those without Photoshop elements?  Or the big Photoshop program?  Or anything else that costs money?  I did find a couple of photo editing programs online.

My fellow writer friend V.J. Allison uses GIMP.  She swears by this program, and she does some pretty nifty graphics for her books.  Gimp promotes itself as a free, open source image editor.  Now, I haven’t tried using this program myself.  And it looks like you have to download the program.  But it’s something worth trying if you don’t have your own personal graphic design program.

ATSM Background 2

Made by V.J. Allison using GIMP.

Then there is BeFunky (love the name, by the way), that calls itself an all-in-one creative platform.  I haven’t tried the available programs, but it’s there for you to check out.

Putting aside the graphic design programs, there are also other nifty ways you can dress up your promo images for your books.  There is DIY Book Covers.  My good friend V.J. pointed me in this direction.  I don’t design my own book covers; my publisher’s graphic artists do that.  But I do love the 3D book mock-up maker available at this web site.  It allowed clumsy me to make some nifty graphics.


Made my Maggie Blackbird using 3D book mock-up maker.

Another author friend uses Smilebox to create something similar to a book trailer, but yet it’s not a book trailer.  There are tons more features at Smilebox if you register for the premium program, but I chose to go with the basic because it’s free.  You can make slideshows, cards, and other neat things.  I made two.  Since I don’t have the premium option, I can only provide a link to my Facebook Page where you can see a full slideshow and a collage.



I’m not the most technologically savvy person out there, so I hope the links work for you.  LOL.

How about you?  What free programs have you found to promote your books?  I’d love to know what you are using, because I’m always on the lookout for freebies!

8 thoughts on “The Dreaded Graphics – #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop

  1. Oooh, the slideshow and collage are pretty nifty. I keep dreaming that someday I’ll have something to be able to get creative in these programs with! Thanks, Maggie. 🙂


  2. emaginette says:

    I had no idea there were so many out there. I, too, have PSE.

    Anna from elements of emaginette


  3. Thanks for these tips! I’ve done some work with GIMP and like it a lot, but it definitely takes a lot of research to figure out how to do particular things. I’ll have to check out these others too. Cheers!


  4. Elliot Chan says:

    GIMP was my go-to before I invested in Photoshop… and GIMP honestly works GREAT for what it is! It saved my life many times. Canva is super simple to use and is a wonderful platform to start practicing good design principles. I recommend sticking with what works until you are really ready to invest in the expensive Pro software, because it is honestly hard to go back after you do lol


  5. Rhonda Strong Gilmour says:

    Thanks for the practical tips! So far, DIY Book Covers is the only one I’ve tried. I like what you’ve done with Smilebox and will try that for my 3-book series.


  6. J.Q. Rose says:

    Thanks so much for these tools for graphics. They are all new to me. I love, love, love I’m afraid I am guilty of playing with that program instead of writing. I like making images for social media with it and some promo graphics. I think your slideshow and collage were well done. You’ve got the touch!
    JQ Rose


  7. KJ.Chapman says:

    I like using I make a lot of promotional images for social media using their free templates and stock photos.


  8. zakarrie says:

    Thank you 🥰 I used Befunky for a few of the graphics I made for Beast, and thought it was great. I also used Fotor – a similar platform to Befunky – which was excellent too, although they have a 3 free graphic limit before a paid account is required. (


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