A good poster is hard to find. The next time you’re on the subway take a look at the ads filling the train. Notice anything? A lot of them are promoting books.

Now you probably aren’t looking to buy advertising space in the subway or on a bus shelter. But chances are you need an effective poster to promote your book at conventions, trade shows and really any other author appearances you make. Looking at the style of the subway ads, and my own trial-and-error process, you can see what makes an effective poster – simplicity.

Let’s take a look at some actual subway ads.



What do these posters all have in common? They’ve got a hook, description of the book, a blurb and of course, a large picture of the book itself.

Subway Ad-Mark Up

johnstewartearth-mark up

The hook will catch people’s attention. The description/blurb is the chance to explain what your book is about and why they should care. And the cover is so people will know what to look for.

This is all you need to have an effective book poster. Of course you can also add in a website (if you have one), publisher logo, where available, etc. But these are the basics things necessary to catch a passerby’s attention.

Think of the poster at the elevator pitch for your book. Can someone tell from your poster what the book is about and if they want to read it in 30 seconds? If they’re interested, they’ll get the info they need. If not, you’ve at least left them with an impression.

Here are some examples of posters I’ve used at conventions.

sample posters

It’s really easy to design your own poster like these ones.

Step 1:  Choose a background texture. Remember to keep this simple so it doesn’t distract from the book cover and text.

Step 2:  Add your hook.

Step 3:  Add your description and/or blurb.

Step 4:  Add your book cover.

Step 5:  Add any other information you want to include (i.e. where to buy, logos, website, etc.).

And viola! Your poster is finished and ready to sell your book!

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