What do you meme?

If you know how to pronounce “meme”, you should get the jokey title. And if you don’t, don’t worry – you’re not alone! I kept calling them “me-me” up until the last week, and why not? Please, somebody, explain, why is it that a new word gets invented in this day and age, which is hard enough as it is, and for some reason it has to be pronounced exactly counterintuitively? I’ve made my peace with “choir” and “sixth”, and “knife”, because they were invented by your ancestors back when there was no electricity or canalisation. (My ancestors invented Russian, and yeah, it’s not for beginners either).

But why now? Why do you have to remember that a word spelled “meme” is actually pronounced “meem”? Is it to separate those “in the know” from late adaptors? Anyway, enough ranting, let’s get to what I actually was very excited to tell you – despite my pronunciation shortcomings, I now meme with the best of them.

Oh, and if you have not come across the term before – meme is basically something that goes viral, like a funny picture with an even funnier caption. Basically, every LOL CAT ever made. Here is my favorite one of all time:

raccoon meme

I was posting quotes from Shizzle, Inc to my Buffer account, which feeds my Twitter, when it occurred to me that I could easily turn some of those quotes into memes. I was so excited with visions of the Internet exploding with all the sharing of Isa’s dubious wisdom, that I made a few of them right away:

Meme1

Meme2

Meme3

Meme4

I was so excited, that I even made a few with Mr. Hue:

Meme #5A - smaller Mr HueMeme #9 Mr HueMeme #6 Mr HueMeme #7 Mr Hue

So, have they gone viral? Well, not exactly (yet), but I’ve had a lot more “engagements” with these memes instead of the same quotes, which I’ve twitted before with links to Shizzle, Inc Amazon sale page. My average engagement rate with quotes was 1-2%, but the memes got 3-8% engagement.

The only issue was, memes did not get retwitted as much, so the number of impressions was lower. Still, where my quotes got 2-3K impressions and 20-30 “engagements” each, memes got anywhere from 1k to 2K impressions, but 30-80 engagements each. Not only that, my average sales per day (without any other promos) went from an average of 0.5 books per day to 1.5 books per day during last week. Not huge numbers, but enough to have me excited about making more of these…maybe introducing other characters as well?

Of course, I have to share lessons learned, the major one being the size and orientation of the photo. The very first meme I made looked like this:
Meme #3

I thought it was pretty good at the time, but the problem was that when it got uploaded to Twitter, it ended up looking like this in the feed:

FullSizeRender (2)

That was a lesson in “don’t do anything without research”. I had a look at the suggested photo proportions and found that 1:2 was recommended, or 512×1024 pixels. I reformatted my meme. Close, but no cigar:

FullSizeRender (3)Finally, after a few trials, I figured out a perfect size: 512 pixels high by 908 pixels wide. The 1:2 ratio may have been true once, or maybe it’s a simplified version of 512:908, but I do believe my ratio is better:

FullSizeRender (4).jpg

I am using Photoshop to create my memes, but you can also use free online software – just google “free meme maker”. I can’t recommend any, unfortunately, because I have not tried them. If you do try a meme or two of your own, please let us all know how it has worked for you.

Have fun!

70 Comments

Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

70 responses to “What do you meme?

  1. I had similar issues with my book cover being too large and getting cropped in weird ways. I resized it multiple times but it didn’t help. Then I started using Canva to make my little ad blurbs. It’s free and easy to use and has templates for social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Meme” was coined by Richard Dawkins to explain cultural appropriation and social evolution in his book The Selfish Gene. It’s derived from the Greek “mimeme”, which means to imitate.

    That was back in the 70s. It got rather hijacked by the internet thereafter to refer almost solely to viral content or slightly adapted jokes from a core source.

    And I feel your pain on the Twitter images front. It’s a total mess trying to figure out the right proportions to be viewed properly. Not to mention the fact they keep changing it!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I also quite like Canva

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. Ana this is genius. Where do you come up with these ideas? Super cool. I applaud you.
    So you get people to model for you in these Shizzle Inc. memes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂 Hope it helps, and just wait till I reveal my next big thing…I’m currently crying over the technical details, but I’m sure I’ll get it together…

      These are just Shutterstock photos, can you imagine? Took a while to find them, but they are perfect!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You are unstoppable, Ana. Can I have some of your energy?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is a great idea. Also, I have been pronouncing meme as MAIM for ever. And I don’t even think that’s a logical pronunciation when I think about it. Also, always though gif files were said like gift, but, apparently? JIF. I’m so confused. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I might try a few memes on Twitter. You’ve saved us all the task of experimenting with image proportions.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Ana,
    Think I’ll revisit this post and see what I can do for myself. Another good sounding idea that I’d never have though of.
    Oh – and can I just say: I’m currently about 50% through SHIZZLE – I had Mr Hue down as a sort of Boss Hogg type character in my head. Gonna have to revise that thought now. 😉 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cool! have you laughed? Mr. Hue is a bit attractive – I’ve described him at one point as a bit like George Clooney, otherwise Isa would not contemplate…well, things she is contemplating 🙂

      I was a bit worried about choosing people for the characters, because the beautiful thing about books is that everyone gets to imagine whomever they want as the characters, which is part of the fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. As always, thanks for educating us Ana!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Do you have any info on the model you use for your book cover and your memes?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. All very interesting. I just tried your size of Twitter pic and it does look better (slightly wider than my previous template 800 x 500). Like the memes idea too. Great stuff, Ana.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great images, Ana. Also, I think I can add just a little to the discussion of how “meme” is pronounced. When Dawkins coined the term (you’re right about that, Tim), he was making an analogy to a gene. Genes propagate through a species if they are selected by the environment; a gene that helps creatures survive will spread and become more common. Similarly, a meme is an idea that, if it somehow has an advantage over other ideas in terms of being funny or witty or otherwise interesting, will spread through the mental environment, becoming part of what we know in general. Because he was drawing that analogy to a gene, he pronounced it in a similar way: like “meem.”

    I hope that helps!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Another bit re the pronunciation of ‘meme’! Unlike everyone not living in Quebec (or France or Morocco or Gabon or another other place where most of the people speak French), I always thought it was pronounced “MEMM” (rhymes with “gem”). Why? Because “meme” (with a ^ accent on the first e) is a word in French – it means “same” – and it’s pronounced MEMM. Certainly it never occurred to me that instead it should rhyme with “theme.” I kind of felt silly when I found that out. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re not alone, Ellie! Oh, and I’m so jealous of your French…that’s the one language I’m dying to learn, but I have no good reason for it, so even though I’ve taken a class, it did not stick. One day I hope to do that whole thing with hiring a cottage in the South of France for the summer and rubbing shoulders with the locals…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ahh that would be lovely, wouldn’t it! BTW are you British? I ask because you wrote “hired” where we in Canada would have said “rented.” Here we use “hire” only for a person, as in “I wish I could afford to hire a cook!”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! I’m a Russian-born Aussie and I lived in the US for 14 years, so I honestly have no idea 🙂 that’s why I pay editors, and more than one…

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Yeah, it was coined by Richard Dawkins. The idea is that it’s an idea that spreads like a virus. And why are you using photoshop? Get Fotor on your phone. Upload to imgur or tumblr to post to Twitter. But, yeah, I do this all the time too. Took me a sec to get a hang of the Twitting bit. But hey, I like to figure things out. Have fun.

    Like

    • I use Photoshop cause I love it so much…I’m a perfectionist and I fuss over just the right font, size, placement, etc…do you meme quotes? Have you noticed an impact on sales?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I got more followers and likes. Memes should be short, bold, usually sans-serif. The image is actually what people will look at first. That’s why they’re usually from something identifiable. Good typeface over a stock image looks corporate or like a commercial. Pick an image that appeals to your target and put the quote over it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks again – I might experiment in the future with images – my main objective is to introduce and personalize characters from my book. Unfortunately I’m limited by stock images…

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I see…try photos that are in the public domain.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. olivia barrington

    Do you ever sleep??? Between work and all of your genius ideas and the time involved with promoting and writing, really when do you ever sleep??? I’m exhausted just reading everything you’ve been doing! By the way this is genius,too. As for meme, I never pronounced it right until I heard someone on TV discuss how to pronounce it correctly. Meme should be pronounced the way it’s spelled (meme not meem) since it’s screaming look at ME!!! Now get some rest I know you need it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • olivia barrington

      Oh, if you want to do something else cool to promote your books, you should do a book trailer and an author interview on YouTube and possibly put all of your links to everything else on there,too. You’d reach a wide audience with that format. You can put them in categories so when someone is looking for chick lit or comedy, yours would come up. If you haven’t thought of this already.

      Liked by 1 person

      • OMG, DID YOU READ MY THOUGHTS?? I am working on a book trailer as we speak! It requires me to self-teach After Effects, another Adobe program, so currently there is cussing and crying permeated by exhilaration and giggling…hopefully will be revealed in a couple of days…

        Like

    • Haha, thank you, Olivia! I’m pretty tired, actually, but the 5 months off start in just 2.5 weeks, so yay!

      Very good point about me!me! Is it your idea or was it part of that discussion??

      Like

      • olivia barrington

        Yes, I did read your mind, it’s one of my many hidden talents. I know your trailer will rock!! Making you feel a little bipolar doing it ,huh? I can imagine learning another program is more than challenging. I look forward to doing all this fun stuff for my book when the time comes. Thank goodness for You Tube. The me! was my idea. Just seemed kinda obvious. Good luck with the trailer, looking forward to seeing it. Don’t pull out all of your hair in frustration!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a great idea, the me!me!

        I’ll be ok, I think. It kinda seems like Photoshop, only on steroids!

        Like

  17. In the US we would say let alone vs leave alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a great post!! I absolutely love your memes/quotes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Lovely! Going to try it out

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The meme thing gets on my nerves too. Meem just doesn’t sound right.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: Wednesday links: Memes | Miranda Burski

  22. I’m so new to Twitter and pretty clueless, so any ideas are more than welcome, and I love your ‘meme’ ideas…thank you Ana 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thanks again, Ana! I didn’t know how to pronounce “meme.” I didn’t know what one was, either, and was too embarrassed to ask. Now I am “an informed individual.”

    Liked by 1 person

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