Graphic Design Secrets To Enhance Your Author Platform With @PaulineWiles

By Rachel Thompson | Author Marketing

Mar 01
Graphic Design Secrets To Enhance Your Author Platform With @PaulineWiles via @BadRedheadMedia #GraphicDesign #design #AuthorPlatform

What’s the secret to a great author platform? There are many components, not the least of which is attractive graphic design which draws the reader in.

I’m not a graphic artist, so I go to the experts for that, like my #BookMarketingChat guest this week, author, graphic designer, and website designer, Pauline Wiles

And right now, she’s recruiting beta testers for her step-by-step course on building a basic website in two weeks. Apply here if you’d like a $497 value for $0 in exchange for giving her feedback + testimonial: 

Pauline is great! She helps authors create simple but effective websites to delight readers and encourage them to take action. This often leads to graphic design questions too, which is what we covered this week on chat. 


I started #BookMarketingChat about five years ago – to help writers learn not only how to use social media (that’s in my book), but also how to use it specifically for book marketing and to gain insider publishing info. I also wanted to help writers gain confidence in the writing and publishing process

I was really pleased to have Pauline as my guest on my weekly #BookMarketingChat! She is a talented author and graphic designer. She shared a ton of amazing tips writers can use right now to help create a robust design and author brand. See the Q&As below to immediately implement the strategies she uses or read the entire summary (all tweets and replies) here.

You can also find more detailed information in my updated for 2020 BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge – lots more tips on book marketing and social media as well. 

For more awesome info, join my weekly #BookMarketingChat on Twitter – every Wednesday at 6 pm pst/9 pm est. New guests and topics each week! Just type in the hashtag to join us OR catch the summary on Facebook.

Now, onto the Twitter Marketing Chat!

Graphic Design Secrets To Enhance Your Author Platform With @PaulineWiles via @BadRedheadMedia #GraphicDesign #design #AuthorPlatform

Q1: Graphic design is way beyond me. Where do I even start?

A1a Your starting point is your genre and your audience. What are the norms, what does the reader expect, and will you intentionally break any of these unwritten rules? (Be sure it’s intentional!) #BookMarketingChat

A1b Notice the colors, fonts and “vibe” of covers that are selling well in your genre. You need reason to stray from this path and if you’re a beginner designing on your own, it’s safer to conform. Fiction & non-fiction tend to have different looks. #BookMarketingChat

A1c Example: consider the book title “Waiting For You” in these 2 fonts & colors. Do they signal different genres to you? #BookMarketingChat

A1d Remember your readers might meet you in person someday. As a tiebreaker for designing your online presence, take into account what you look like in person and what you love wearing. If you hate wearing green… don’t choose it as your main brand color. #BookMarketingChat

Graphic Design Secrets To Enhance Your Author Platform With @PaulineWiles via @BadRedheadMedia #GraphicDesign #design #AuthorPlatform

Q2: Fine, I have a rough idea of what might work. How do I make it look good?


A2a Pay attention to other design examples. Everything from food packets to local event posters are informative. Can you see these 3 graphics for different night-time bike events? What works? What doesn’t? Which demographic is each aimed at? #BookMarketingChat

A2b This monthly book cover critique is super interesting too. See what you agree with and what you don’t. What would you change on each cover? What can you learn? #BookMarketingChat

A2d For beginners, less is usually more in your design. Stick to 2 accent colors and 2 fonts for safety. Pair a plain (sans serif) font with something fancier, like a script or serif. Narrowing your eyes & squinting at your work is surprisingly helpful! #BookMarketingChat

Graphic Design Secrets To Enhance Your Author Platform With @PaulineWiles via @BadRedheadMedia #GraphicDesign #design #AuthorPlatform

Q3: I don’t have the budget to hire a graphic designer to work on my entire platform. What part should I focus on?


A3a Ack, sorry, but your website, book covers, newsletter, social media, biz cards, bookmarks… all need to look like the same family. But a perfect starting place is your book cover. Get that right and the rest can follow. #BookMarketingChat

A3b: This website uses the book cover as the anchor for the whole look: And this one uses colors & font from the cover: #BookMarketingChat

A3c So if money is tight, try for a deal where your cover designer gives you the key files you’ll need to mimic the look elsewhere, in a generic format like jpg or png. Or, if you keep it really simple, you can DIY all of it. #BookMarketingChat

A3d To aid consistency, create a Stylesheet: refer easily to your colors (hex codes), fonts & main logo or images. A mood board can be helpful too. Do dreamy travel shots fit your message, or will your images be abstract? High tech? Show people, or not? #BookMarketingChat

A3a Ack, sorry, but your website, book covers, newsletter, social media, biz cards, bookmarks… all need to look like the same family. But a perfect starting place is your book cover. Get that right and the rest can follow. #BookMarketingChat

Graphic Design Secrets To Enhance Your Author Platform With @PaulineWiles via @BadRedheadMedia #GraphicDesign #design #AuthorPlatform

Q4: Are there any low-cost tools that can help me?

A4a Lots! We talked about Canva already. Also try: Bookbrush, , , . Etsy is good for affordable artwork. Also & Creative Market #BookMarketingChat

A4b Watch out for limits in the “free” level of tools, before you set your heart on a certain look. Canva does charge for some of the cooler options. #BookMarketingChat

A4c A great initial skill to learn: use a free image & add your own text. You can do this in Canva or my fave tool, Gimp. This one’s open source (free) but has a steep learning curve. Still, if you master just a few features, you have a lot of options. #BookMarketingChat

A4d And remember to keep it legal: never use an image unless you’re sure it’s OK to do so. Look for a “public domain” license or “commercial use” description. Contact the seller or site, if you’re not sure. #BookMarketingChat

Graphic Design Secrets To Enhance Your Author Platform With @PaulineWiles via @BadRedheadMedia #GraphicDesign #design #AuthorPlatform

Q5: What other common mistakes make a graphic designer cringe?

A5a Take a medium/long term approach to the visuals you create. Aim for something you can stick with for several years, since it’s expensive and a hassle to refresh your whole look. For authors, clashing book covers are a big headache. #BookMarketingChat

A5b Even if you only have one title now, think ahead to how future book covers will look together on one web page, or one social media header. They should all be compatible, even if they don’t “match”. Watch out for consistency if you buy pre-made covers. #BookMarketingChat

A5c For all important images, logos or book covers you create, check how they will look in black &white. And don’t create a logo or cover that’s so detailed, it’s impossible to fathom when viewed on a tiny screen. #BookMarketingChat

BadRedheadMedia @BadRedheadMedia Rachel Thompson

Where can writers find out more about you and your services @PaulineWiles? #BookMarketingChat

Thanks for another fast & thoughtful chat, @BadRedheadMedia + #BookMarketingChat friends. I’m reachable at and always happy to answer questions if I can.

These are fast, aren’t they! lol.

Thanks so much for being my guest, @PaulineWiles!

Pauline Wiles is the author of three light-hearted novels as well as Indie With Ease, which helps self-published authors conquer stress. She believes pragmatic self-care is the foundation of a long and happy writing career. Her own version of this includes plentiful tea, cake, and running.

Get more tips on purposeful productivity for writers and a free mini-course, Focus for Writers, at

For a more detailed plan on developing your book marketing, purchase Rachel’s new book,
The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge
Now on Amazon!
Readers’ Favorite Silver Award Winner! 

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About the Author

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…),,, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

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(2) comments

Pauline Wiles March 3, 2020

Thanks so much for having me as your guest, and for this useful summary!

Billy December 24, 2021

Okay! I feel that you have covered most of the things about the graphic designing and I am in complete awe of your knowledge that you kind a possess shows how intelligent your are, I would say its not a rocket science I have worked in business logo company and my experience in working there was immensely great, I started actually from there and now look at me, I am an professional now.

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