Tips to ensure your Twitter photos sell books

A compelling picture always will grab someone’s attention faster than text. Given this, when developing social media pages to promote your book (or any service or product, for that matter), you’ll want to pay close attention to the quality and purpose of the photos you use.

On Twitter, perhaps the most important photo is your profile pic. This shot appears atop your home page, and while not the largest photo there, it is the one that is repeated with every tweet you make. The photo is square and 400 x 400 pixels in size. Because the profile pic is tiny next to each tweet, you want to have a very simple profile picture – usually a headshot or a symbol representative of your books. For my writing guidebooks, I use a headshot of myself, but for my hiking guidebooks, I use a pictograph of a hiker, similar to what you would find at a national park (Yes, I have two Twitter sites, one for each set of guidebooks – writing and hiking.).

A photo that is often an afterthought when designing your Twitter page yet is extremely important is the header. This is the main photo that stretches across the top of your home page. It’s rectangular with a size of 1500 pixels wide x 500 pixels high. When selecting a photo for the header, make sure that it fits this rectangular shape or can be cropped to that size and still look good. Don’t stop with the size, though. Use the header for branding, that is, to establish what kind of books you write. The photo ought to be representative of what your books are about. You also may want to add taglines to the photo, especially if you offer services or have authored a series of books; for example, if you write a series about kayaking, your tagline might be “Hittin’ the Waters: Guidebooks for the Best Kayaking Rivers.”

When tweeting, you can add photos to the wording. When this photo appears online – as an in-stream photo preview – it only appears as a rectangle that is 440 pixels wide x 220 pixels high and will automatically be cropped by Twitter to fit. A reader has to click onto the photo to see it fully and in the original shape that you posted. Because of this, you don’t want to post photos that don’t match the 2:1 ratio, or parts of it will be cropped in the preview. That can look silly and unprofessional, especially if you’ve lost wording (such as your website address or a pithy saying) in the crop.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.