On March 30th, all Facebook pages will be forced to move to the new Timeline look. (This applies to PAGES, not your regular Facebook profile; so far, you can avoid changing your own profile page to the timeline look).
So what does this mean for authors? Well, if you have an author page (used to be called a fan page), and/or if you have pages for your books, you’ll pop open your Facebook on March 30th and see the new timeline look. What does this REALLY mean? – it means that if you don’t create a new cover image (and possibly change your page’s profile picture, too), your page can suddenly look horrible!
Rather than wait for March 30th, you can go to your page and click on preview to see what it will look like. Looks awful? Well, I’m going to give you some pointers on how to make it look better. There’s quite a lot to do… so I’m going to break this into several blog posts. The first, and most important, is to create a cover image.
For some reason, Facebook is vague about what size this should be, and tells us “a minimum of 399 pixels”. This is completely wrong! – and you’ll waste a lot of time resizing your cover image to get something that works; the correct sizing is 851 x 315 pixels.
However, for those of us who don’t have a great image that fits those dimensions, or maybe you need several images, you can have several images side by side, but you need to put them together in a graphics program and then save it as one image. For my author page, I wanted all my book covers, so I stitched them together in Photoshop. The image wasn’t tall enough, so I then added a chunk underneath. You’ll have to play around a bit to get something that looks good (and I’m not saying mine looks great – I don’t have all day, every day, to monkey around with graphics every time Facebook changes something, either!)
So now I’ll walk you through how to do this.
In the screenshot of my page, above, the five book covers with the ‘Welcome…’ are all ONE image; this large image is called the COVER IMAGE. The smaller square with ‘Jody Kihara Books’ text is the page’s PROFILE PICTURE. (You already have one of those… but once you’ve uploaded your new cover image, you may want to change it.)
Hover over the area where the cover image is, and you’ll see a Change Cover button appear. Then click on the down arrow and choose Upload Photo. (Remember, the dimensions MUST be 851×315 pixels!)
It’ll take a sec… when you see your new image, choose SAVE.
OK, now you need to look at whether you want to change the profile picture (the small one in the lower left square), because it may no longer “work” with your new cover image. For example, my profile pic was the cover of my book The Frankincense Trail, but now that my new cover image has the same image on the far left, they looked kind of weird together.
To change your profile picture, hover over the profile pic and you’ll see an ‘Edit’ button pop up again. Click on the down arrow, and then you can upload a new photo or choose from an existing. The dimensions should be 180×180 px, so I suggest you make one exactly this size and then upload it. Also, if your cover picture is busy, like mine is, choose a very plain profile picture. Otherwise, it will all look like one big, busy mess.
Now you should have a final product!
Although when I say ‘final’… there’s still more to do to get the page looking good, but that will be in my next blog post… for now, at least you’ve got the most important thing done!
I hope this helps… feel free to leave comments if you have any questions.