In 2016 there were a lot of Community Promotion Ads for Literature SE on various other sites around the network, which a few of us posted up during the Definition stage of the Area 51 proposal. Now that the new cycle of CPAs has started for 2017, I've reposted many of these ads in the hope that they will again reach the required score of 6 in order to appear on the front page of the respective sites. Each one currently displays the default image supplied by Area 51:


But now that we're in public beta and the site is accessible to everyone even without going through Area 51, it would be nice to have a less generic image and use something which really gives off the idea of 'literature'. Since we already have five Community Promotion Ads in place, all that's required is to edit in a new image to each one - and of course to have an image to use in the first place.

Thus this meta post. I've already asked @BESW, a qualified professional in graphic design, if he'd be willing to make the image for us, but even those of us who lack the skill to make a nice image can still discuss ideas for it. (If anyone else has the skill to make one, that'd be great too, of course.)

What should a Community Promotion Ad for Literature look like?

When people see the image, what do we want them to think? What immediate impression are we hoping to give them of our site and community? What particular aspects of the rather broad field of 'literature' do we want to emphasise? What message, if any, are we trying to convey?

Progress so far:

  • Science Fiction & Fantasy: DONE (ad designed by @CreationEdge and posted by @Mithrandir)
  • English Language & Usage: DONE (ad mostly designed by @BESW)
  • Worldbuilding: DONE (ad designed by @BESW)
  • Movies & TV: DONE (ad mostly designed by @BESW)
  • Role-Playing Games: DONE (ad mostly designed by @BESW and posted by @Riker)
  • Anime & Manga: ad (posted by @Torisuda) has enough upvotes but still needs a fancy design

Update for 2018: I've reposted ads for Literature on SFF, M&TV, Worldbuilding, and ELU. Someone else needs to do A&M and RPG, since I don't have accounts there.

  • 2
    We also need that pesky "elevator pitch". Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 8:54
  • We could potentially find some open license book art, like this, or this (except open-licensed, unlike these pictures). This could make for a unique community ad.
    – user80
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 9:40
  • @Emrakul I've got some material like that lying around from an old project, yes.
    – BESW
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 11:11
  • @Emrakul I was thinking more of a stack of books ... but then we don't want to be mistaken for Academia ...
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 12:14
  • @Randal'Thor I've got that too, in several different flavours. Let's talk about message first: audience, feeling, impression, atmosphere. Then we can see what visuals fit that.
    – BESW
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 12:15
  • 8
    I'd highly recommend considering the possibility of having different images and different text for the various sites showing the ad. Consider why each audience would benefit from what this site has to offer. SFF readers might be interested so that they can ask about non-SFF works, so an ad there could focus on that, but the ad on English or Worldbuilding wouldn't want to communicate that message. Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 17:04
  • @Nathaniel That's a very good point. First of all, let's get a list of all relevant sites where it'd be worth posting CPAs for Literature. Are there any more beyond the five listed above? (Writing would also be good, but it's still in beta and doesn't have CPAs yet.)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 22:54
  • Thinking outside the box, perhaps the language sites would be open to an ad describing how this site can be used for literary analysis of literature in that language. I don't see any graduated language sites other than Japanese though, sadly. Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 0:13
  • 2
    I could try tossing an ad on Anime. There might be a few people who would be interested, and we have a lot of non-US users over there, so they might bring some interesting variety.
    – Torisuda
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 14:35
  • @Torisuda sound like a good idea but will work better if someone can come up with catchy related elevator pitch rather then generic lame area51 ad Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 6:55
  • @Ankit Yes - which is precisely what this meta post is for.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 12:12
  • @Randal'Thor to me elevator pitch for anime can work good if we can incorporate famous Japanese literature reference in it, like Ringu Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 12:48
  • Sorta related question: literature.meta.stackexchange.com/q/699/481
    – Shokhet
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 21:52

6 Answers 6


Before we think about visuals or text, we need to have a message. "Message" doesn't mean an elevator pitch or an ad blurb--that comes later. First we need to know what we have to offer and who we're offering it to. It's a feeling, a service, an invitation, an atmosphere. Why should people join our community, what can they expect, and what will be expected of them?

I'm starting by thinking in terms of what kind of physical space lit.se would be, if it were a physical space. Seems to me we should be aiming for a sort of "comfy cafe" or "friendly local used bookstore" atmosphere. This means lit.se's a casual place with room for serious conversation. We have no real claim to the ivory tower of academia, but we have aspirations to insight beyond just casually liking to read stuff.

Our target audience, at least now, isn't really professional academics--we'd like to have 'em, but I think we need to grow into that over time. So our audience is the deep reader, the amateur analyst. We want lit.se to be a place where people who think carefully about books talk to each other. So that's the message I propose we convey: a place to think and talk carefully about books, at whatever intensity and depth that means for each user.

What might this look like? A bookish (clean, serif) typeface and a handwritten (but neat and legible) typeface. Visuals should be kept minimal to avoid being cramped or busy, and probably simple illustrations rather than photographs. Possibilities include an open book, or a pile of books; a comfy reading chair; eyeglasses. Colors--I'd start with warm leather-and-coffee-nook with Stack Exchange Blue accents.

This doesn't address what the text should say. I'm not sure much is needed, especially if we've got a solid visual, but I'm open to suggestions. I expect that as others post their ideas in contrast to mine, more useful text will float out of the discussion.

  • My gut says to go for less text rather than more. We don't need both a tagline and a list of topic covered, like in Mithrandir's example ad.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 13:55
  • @Randal'Thor right, that's why my second one got rid of the extra text.
    – Mithical Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 14:03
  • 2
    *topics (damn, it's annoying to have a time limit on comment edits)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 14:05
  • Absolutely agree that message needs to come first. I think that actually does correlate with elevator-pitch, though, no?
    – Standback
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 15:05
  • @Standback elevator pitch is something to get people to buy/participate, he means he wants something to tell people what it is. Not necessarily get them to participate immediately.
    – user72
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 16:40
  • @Riker I always feel that knowing what a thing is, goes hand in hand with being able to tell people why it's worth their time :-) Also, knowing whose time it'll be worth. They all pretty much go together.
    – Standback
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 16:56
  • @Standback "knowing whose time it'll be worth" - yep, that relates to the point made by Nathaniel that we could design different ads for the different sites where we'd like to advertise Literature.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 22:55

@CreationEdge created this image for me, over in Mos Eisley:

Note: This is specifically for SFF. The other sites will have their own.

enter image description here

This has been posted over at meta.sff.

  • This would be a great add for scifi.se: let's use it.
    – user111
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 20:45
  • 3
    I like it other than scifi and fantasy should be lest prominent on the list, since they have their own site anyway. let's promote the OTHER topics more
    – DForck42
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:15
  • 2
    @Mithrandir "this one is specifically for SFF; it was designed to be relevant to them. There will most likely be a different one for other stacks." - This is a good idea indeed, but it might be worth pointing that out in the actual answer. Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 15:21
  • Looks quite good, +1ned there too Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 5:50

Based on my thoughts shared last week, here's an ad! The text version uses handwriting kindly contributed by our own kristan.

Literature Q&A: "A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it." Samuel Johnson

And a blank version for folks to customise with their own tagline:

Literature Q&A: blank quote line

(Click through each ad to get a double-size version.)

  • 1
    The font isn't too bad, it could just be a little less bold to be recognizable easier. And maybe the author doesn't need to be in handwriting at all. Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 21:05
  • @CahirMawrDyffrynæpCeallac Thanks. I've got some ideas toward improvement, but don't have the time for another day or three and I wanted to get something out there now we're in public beta. (And that's part of why I offer a blank form.)
    – BESW
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 21:17
  • Is there any chance you also have a 600x500 version readily available? Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 21:19
  • The smaller versions link to larger versions.
    – BESW
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 21:21
  • It feels a bit busy; perhaps adding some transparency to the background would help the text stick out more. Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 21:31
  • I've gone ahead and posted this one up on Worldbuilding. Thanks for designing it!
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 1:17
  • (I felt that that tagline fits Worldbuilding particularly well, as their questions tend to come from a writer's point of view rather than a consumer's. I haven't posted a version of this ad on any other sites yet.)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 1:18
  • @Randal'Thor I noticed that one is the computer-font version; any interest in updating it to this version? :-)
    – kristan
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 23:07
  • @kristan No offence, but I found the original version easier to read :-)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 23:51
  • @Randal'Thor sigh... You mean all that trouble of digging the scanner out of the garage was for naught? :-(
    – kristan
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 0:44
  • @kristan I appreciated it.
    – BESW
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 1:49
  • 1
    Hi! Would you happen to know instances of the quote by Samuel Johnson in his works/correspondence/etc.? Commented May 20, 2019 at 6:53

How about something with famous literary quotations in it?

A sample, which took me about 5 minutes and should probably not be considered "finished":


A close up of a well-studied book.

I'm imagining a tight close-up of a book, with all signs that somebody has been studying it and marking it up -- a highlighted passage; a note scribbled in the margin, a bookmark. (I'm not finding an attributed image I can copy here, but maybe an angled, close-uppier version of something like this.)

I think that would convey the tone we're aiming for really well.. We're not here just reading books; the joy of curling up with a good novel is awesome, but that's not what the site is about. We're here discussing them - digging deep, discovering secrets and neat connections. I think that would show the value and character we want the site to have, and be more attractive to those who will appreciate analysis, theories, and examination.

  • Oooh. I know NOTHING about graphic design, but maybe the highlighted text, or a highly-visible scribble, could say "LITERATURE.SE". That would be cool.
    – Standback
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 15:23
  • 2
    – Mithical Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 17:01
  • Tell me what you think of that :P
    – Mithical Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 17:03
  • This is exactly what I'm thinking of :-) It would need to be artfully arranged, but: Yes, this please :-)
    – Standback
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 17:09
  • I don't know what I can do about 'artfully arranged'... But I'll try.
    – Mithical Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 17:11
  • Let people do with it as they please...
    – Mithical Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 17:14

How about this quote by Neil Gaiman:

A book is a dream that you hold in your hands

It even has a nice matching image:

Click for full resolution

I learned about this quote from Did Neil Gaiman say “A book is a dream you hold in your hand”?


  • It's Neil Gaiman
  • It's Sandman
  • It's about books


  • This quote is everywhere, like Ubik. There is no inspirational image or a postcard that hasn't been printed with this quote. It's even been adapted to tattoos.

    Click for full resolution

    Using it may make us look like some hipsters. I'm not saying we shouldn't use it, but still.

I'm not saying we use this particular image, because it's probably copyrighted either to American Library Association, or Vertigo, or P. Craig Russel himself; but the quote is nice, and there are other quotes by Gaiman here. Some examples:

Picking five favourite books is like picking the five body parts you’d most like not to lose

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.

Or maybe lend that one to Libraries and Information Science? :D

  • Or that other Gaiman quote about libraries that (I think) @StackLiterature retweeted the other day
    – Shokhet
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 13:14
  • @Shokhet That too, I think, we could sell to Libraries SE for endorsement :) Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 13:20

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