Using Video for Promotion
By Maggie Ball
Video is hot. It's official. In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views, or almost 140 views for every person on Earth. More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years. Video is a very powerful promotional medium and a fantastic way to connect with readers around the globe. Creating a video can be as complex as making a movie (and indeed it can be a small movie), or as simple as opening your webcam and reading a little from your book. I've done both in the promotions for my new novel Black Cow.
The formal, fancy cinematic video is more of a showcase - it's stylised and designed to promote or focus on the key theme of your book. It's quite powerful but also detached somewhat from the author. This creates a very professional impact, especially, as in my case, you hire a professional to create the video with moving images and a voiceover. You can, of course, create your own cinematic video using products like Windows Movie Maker which usually comes with MS Office using your own recorded voiceover, royalty free stock photos or your own photos, and cinematic effects, but unless you've got a high quality mic and are reasonably tech savvy, the end result may not be of a quality that matches your book. If you do want to make your own, Joanna Penn has a very good primer here: Book Trailers - 11 Steps.
Here's my video, which was created for me, to my instructions, by Accent. The whole thing took less than a week to make and was under $80 including the voiceover. Even if you only take into account the time it takes to make your own (I'd say at least 6 hours work), and not the quality, I think it's a pretty good deal.
Of course book sales today are very much driven by human connection. You want to draw your readers in, not only through the book's theme and plot which you've presented in your professional cinematic video, but also through a sense of trust in you, the author, the brand they're purchasing. The best way to do that is to allow your readers to see you, hear you speak, get a sense of you as a person. To do that is relatively easy -- you just need to use your webcam and video yourself reading a portion of the book. Choose good lighting, take a little care over your appearance, speak clearly and smile often to what you imagine as your supportive audience, and you will almost certainly engage readers.
Personally, I think all books need both. And of course with the reading videos, you don't need to stop at one. You can read from different parts of the book, in different settings and contexts. I'm actually planning a visit to an area near one of the settings in Black Cow later this year and plan to do some more video work on location as it were, which lends context and depth to the fictional setting.
Humans are basically visual creatures. Over a quarter of our brain tissue is dedicated to analysing images. So presenting elements of your story in a visual well is a natural and compelling way to draw readers in, and should be part of any book campaign.
Black Cow is a story relevant to today's desire to become less dependent on all the pressures and materialistic 'things' we're all so burdened with. It's a story we can all relate to. Here's a brief description:
Freya and James Archer live the high life in a luxury home in Sydney’s poshest suburb, with money, matching Jags, two beautiful teenage kids … and they couldn’t be more despondent.
James wakes weeping each morning, dreading the pressures of a long and grueling work day ahead, and
Freya is struggling with her foundering real estate career.
Global recession is biting in Australia, and the Archers are afraid.
In a desperate bid for happiness and security they shed the fragile trappings of success and cruise over into the slow lane to take an unmapped turn-off on a country road and live off the land in a remote old farmhouse on the peaceful southern island of Tasmania.But is this an end to their old misery or the beginning of an even greater one?
Magdalena Ball is the author of the newly released Black Cow.
Be sure to order your copy today.