One of my favorite writing-related activities has to be creating promo memes for my books. It’s a wonderful way to jump-start the creativity when it’s slowed to a stutter or ground to a halt. The very act of creating something fun, informative, and useful always revs my brain and gets me back on track.
And the beauty of it is … you don’t need expensive software to create an attractive, share-worthy meme. All you need is what’s right there in your Microsoft Office suite … namely Powerpoint. Not as fancy as Publisher or other creative software, it gets the job done just as easily with equally beautiful results.
Earlier this year, I put together an ad for The Romance Writer’s Report (RWR) entirely in Powerpoint. The ad/graphics turned out great, both on the computer and in print. I’ve done the same for ads in online e-Mags with excellent results.
The first step in the process is the most important. Most magazines, either online or print, require the materials to be at least 300 dpi (aka dots per inch). The standard dpi output for Powerpoint is 96. Nowhere near what you need for a quality product. There are other programs on your computer that can change the dpi of a finished meme/ad. However, while skewing the output, they can also skew the image making it fuzzy and unusable. Your safest bet is to manually change your computer’s dpi settings.
The thought of messing with any of the standard settings on my computer scared the crap out of me so I went to my favorite source for step-by-step video instructions, namely Youtube!
Here is what you need to do in order to change your output:
- Exit all Windows-based programs.
- Click Start, and then click Run.
- In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
- Locate one of the following registry subkeys, depending on the version of PowerPoint that you’re using:
For PowerPoint 2013 under the “office” folder, choose 15.0\PowerPoint\Options
For PowerPoint 2010 under the “office” folder, choose 14.0\PowerPoint\Options
For PowerPoint2007 under the “office” folder, choose 12.0 \PowerPoint\Options
For PowerPoint2003 under the “office” folder, choose 11.0 \PowerPoint\Options
- Click the Options subkey, point to New on the Edit menu, and then click DWORD Value.
- Type ExportBitmapResolution, and then press Enter.
- Make sure that ExportBitmapResolution is selected, and then click Modify on the Edit menu.
- In the Edit DWORD Value dialog box, click Decimal.
- In the Value databox, type 300.
- Click OK.
- On the File menu, click Exit to exit Registry Editor.
You are now ready to go to Powerpoint to create your meme or ad as you would any other presentation. Once created, you want to save as a picture (.jpeg, .tif, .gif, .png). You will be prompted to save entire folder or “this slide only”. My recommendation is that you create no more than one slide at a time, so “this slide only” will be your default. You’ll also want to save your worksheet in the event you want to go back later and make changes (e.g., add buy links once they’re available) and use to create a new/updated meme.
I often create memes to advertise upcoming books either before I have my cover, or in lieu of a cover reveal. Such is the case with my Egyptian-inspired time travel, Eye of the Pharaoh coming out on October 19th from Soul Mate Publishing.
Prior to my upcoming September 15th, cover reveal, I’ve created three different memes using aspects from both the cover and the text which I happily spread across my social media. I even created this teaser meme to recruit bloggers/authors to assist with the cover reveal.
I guess it’s obvious by now that I love creating memes!
One of the other reasons I stick to Powerpoint for these promotional memes is time management. I’ve had the fancy programs before and, quite truthfully, they’re fun to play with. So much so, I often find myself reluctant to leave. With Powerpoint, it’s easy to get in and get out without the urge to dawdle.
I hope this post has given you some ideas for creating your own promotional materials. If you have any specific questions, please either post them below or feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until my next stint on the SMP Blog, writers keep writing. Readers keep reading…you are why we do what we do!