Memes: How to Put Together Free Advertising in a Fun Way

I’ve listed five reasons why authors should create a meme as well as what they should put in one over on From the Write Angle today. So if you aren’t sure what a meme is and you want to get a quick crash course, pop over there and then come back here. I’ll wait. Probably.

In the meantime, here’s a proper definition of meme:

A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena. Wikipedia

But really the basic principal of a successful meme is that it is something of value to others whether it makes them feel something or simply laugh. A good meme is something they will want to share. Something they will want to like on Facebook and repin on Pinterest.

In the other post I mentioned how memes are free advertising and listed five things you might want to include in your meme such as a book quote. This post is where we get specific.

If you have a book published on Amazon, you already have a great place to start when it comes to culling good quotes from your book–good being ones that resonate with readers. When readers read books on their Kindles, they have the option to highlight passages. If they have sharing enabled on their Kindle, what they have highlighted magically appears on your book page. (Example: Check out Champagne and Lemon Drops’ page–scroll down a ways and you will see things readers have highlighted.) Ta da! Half your work is already done AND in a way that rocks–these are things from YOUR books that resonated with your READERS. How sweet is that? As well, they are generally nice, bite-sized bits you can use to advertise yourself, your book, and your brand.

Quote feature from Kindle for Champagne and Lemon Drops. Great for making your own memes.

Here’s a screenshot of Champagne and Lemon Drops’s quotes page on Amazon. Incidentally, these are some of my favourite quotes as well.

Oh my God. Are you as excited about this as I am?

Okay, let’s put a meme together. You can use free meme generators online which can be okay but be sure to read their terms of service. Some DO NOT allow you to use your meme for advertising–can’t credit yourself or your book–NOR can you post your meme on Facebook or your website. Seriously then, in our case, what is the effing point?

Sorry. Just be sure to read the terms. And then if their terms don’t suit your needs maybe do something like I do, which is use a photo editing app on my smart phone or a photo editor on my computer using an image I took. (I use my phone to snap interesting and strange and romantic kind of photos all the time just in case I can use them as a background for something webby). Of course, you can also buy stock images. But again, be sure to check their terms of service–and if you aren’t sure give their 1-800 number a call. I’ve found these companies to be AMAZING at helping me figure out whether I would be within the license to use an image in a certain way. Sometimes you can use the image more than once making that $2 image really cheap in the end!!

However, I don’t recommend using the same photo in a feature type way often as it could make all your memes look like they are the same one. If you are using something like a paperclip or something beside your URL–something that might be a smart branding move to the lady running this site–then that is a cool reuse of an image. But using a big paperclip behind each and every one of my memes lessens their stand-out and makes them all blend. Not exactly the goal. Usually. As with everything, some exceptions apply.

Next up–don’t be boring or uncomfortably crazy. Humour is a winner. Think mass appeal. Think likeability. Think… entertainment. In other words don’t hit people over the head with your meme being an advertisement. Because then it isn’t a meme, it’s an advertisement and you missed the point. A meme is something people should want to share. We share funny ads, but we don’t share selly-sells, do we? No. The fact that your meme is selling should be subtle. A URL in the corner of the meme. This meme below is not really a meme. It is an advertisement. BUT it is also a little something for my readers who have read the series. And when I shared it on my Facebook page, I made sure I related the image back to a scene in Champagne and Lemon Drops–therefore relevant and meaningful to my readers, but not so much to others. Therefore it is not going to carry a cultural idea that will influence others such as a successful meme might. (At least I don’t think it will.) However, the second meme in this post is less advertising and more sharey.

A more advertising slanted so-called meme. Not taking on cultural relevance here!

More advertising than a meme about to go viral.

Quick Break and recap:

What Not to Do When Creating a Meme (Tips for Creating a Good Meme)

1. Use copyrighted material to which you do not have the license to use. DANGER!

2. Use the same images repeatedly in a way that lessens the appeal or stand out quality of your meme. BORING!

3. Be boring. BORING AGAIN!

4. Selly-sell-sell. GAG!

Got it? Great. Let’s keep truckin’.

So you have your background image and maybe a book quote you want to use. But what if you aren’t an author yet or you don’t have quotes yet? That’s cool. Use something you’ve said in an interview on someone else’s blog, or your own blog, or even something you say all the time that sums you up. (Just be sure it isn’t someone else’s quote!)

Put it together. Image, blurb, and some way to link it back to you.

But one last thing… make sure your font is EASILY readable. When you are making your meme, it might look big enough, but once it is smaller on being shared on mobile devices, etc., it might lose some of its effectiveness if people can’t read it properly.

Now what to do with your book meme…

A cinderella quote from the book Champagne and Lemon Drops.

This meme is more likely to mean more to a variety of people rather than just readers of Champagne and Lemon Drops. In theory, that should make it more shareable.

What to do with a Meme

1. Social media it

Pin it on Pinterest, Facebook it (photos increase engagement), Tweet it, Google+ it, whatever! Get it out there and don’t feel discouraged if your first couple don’t take off like a viral rocket. It may take your audience time to figure out what to do with them. It may take you time to figure out the right angle for best engagement and sharing. Heck, maybe everyone is off social media this week because they are drinking beer in the shade. Who knows. But don’t give up. These things can take time to build and spread.

2. Blog it/Website it

Stick them in a blog post. Stick them on your website. (And keep a notebook if your muse gets going on things you can meme!)

3. Mailing list it

If you have a mailing list, add one to your newsletter and be sure to tell your readers it is SHAREABLE–people can be afraid to share images sometimes so be sure to let them know in a kind way that they are welcome to share it. People like images!

4. Card it

Got some good ones you are especially proud of or have been a real hit? Use it as a contact info card/postcard to hand out, etc. 🙂

What else? What are some good ones you’ve seen? Any tips, ideas? Share them in the comment section and help a writer.

Click to tweet it and help your followers: Free advertising using a meme–your book + your quotes = online love!

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2 comments on “Memes: How to Put Together Free Advertising in a Fun Way
  1. Jemi Fraser says:

    Love your brain! I never would have thought of these! Great ideas. I’m definitely going to keep these in mind when I’m going through my latest draft! 🙂

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