As anyone can tell you, and many people will, the featured image on a blog post can have a strong impact on how many people will read the post. I know it does for me. The problem becomes how do I stand out from others blogging about the same subject(s)?
When I started this blog, I simply used the book cover as the featured image. It was simple and easy. But a year ago I went back and took another look at my stats and views. They weren’t where I would have wanted them. So I made a few changes. And waited again.
Things improved somewhat. I had more followers but the views were still not what I would want them to be. So I took another approach to the featured images. Just using the cover wasn’t cutting it, and Instagram is full of posts that show someone’s phone or tablet with the book cover displayed. This left me thinking harder about Computer Generated Images (CGI).
CGI images are not photoshopped. They are rendered using special programs. This little animation is an example of what these programs can do. Pixar and others do a much better job than I can!
So, how do I create these images? Putting aside the technical details of setting up a scene, let’s look at these. I start by looking at the settings of the book. I use that them to inform my choice. I’m not looking for photorealism in my images. To be honest, one image could take several hours to render that way! But by aiming for a nice images without photorealism, I can cut that time down to just a few minutes.
So, I have a couple of general purposes scenes that I use. This is a single frame rendered using the same setup as in the animation above. While the animation took over 1 hour to render, this took less than 5 minutes. I only have to change the book cover and rerender it to create the new image. I tend to use it for stories that can’t be tied to one setting.
These four settings also fit that category. There’s a simple rustic table, a living room end table, a beach table, and a picnic table. Then you come to the ones that can easily catered for.
This scene was created especially for this series. All of the books are set in a vineyard. So using a Mediterranean setting seems appropriate, although the vineyards are on the west coast.
This series involves a family of business men. The fact that they are all Dragon Shifters just adds to the enjoyment. A desk for a setting seemed appropriate.
So there you have it! A different take on featured images and creating the settings for them. I’ll keep looking for new and interesting ways to display the books from now on!