OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
A few weeks ago Simon & Schuster told authors they should blog, social network … and use video sites. You might be freaking out at the thought of being on video, and consider YouTube a waste of time, but here's why you should seriously consider getting your face, and your books on screen:
- Video search is increasing and you want to be found. People go online to find information and entertainment so if your videos are there, people will find them. If you have a lot of videos on a particular topic, you will become a place people subscribe to and come back to. Videos are also highly ranked in Google (which owns YouTube). You will often find videos at the top of a topic search.
- Future technologies will soon be reality. Google is developing voice recognition and automatic captioning, so that soon videos will be easily searchable through text. This means your ranking for a particular topic could be fantastic if your videos are on a theme. This would be great for non-fiction authors with a particular niche, as well as fiction authors talking about writing and their book ideas.
- Book sales are all about a human connection. If people know you and trust you, they are more likely to buy your book. Video is fantastic for creating an instant connection. When people see your face and your expression, when they hear your voice, they will make a decision as to whether they like you. The greatest proportion of communication is in non-verbal cues, which can't be communicated in plain text.
- Video can be the basis of your platform. Video may suit your style and personality. If it does, you will certainly stand out as an author as most are shy, retiring types! Gary Vaynerchuk got his 10 book deal with Harper Collins on the basis of his video blog and online platform. Or you can use it in addition to your text/audio blogging which adds a new dimension and another way people can find you. I personally don't like watching video all the time, but I definitely check out videos of authors if I can find them.
- Video drives traffic to your main author site. You can pique someone's interest in your book with a book trailer or an interview, then direct them to your site in the notes next to the video or with a website embedded in the video itself. This increases your traffic and hopefully your subscriber list, and potentially your sales.
- The demographics for video may surprise you. YouTube (and other video sites) are not just teenagers loading funny videos. Check out the demographics here. YouTube has analysis for channel videos and mine shows that 60% of people watching my YouTube channel are 45-64 and around 50:50 split between men and women.
- Video is not ubiquitous yet and you still have a chance to be at the forefront. Authors are not very techy people and are often slow on the uptake with technology. (I get so many comments about hating computers when I speak!) Therefore, in the writing/book niche there are not many videos compared to say the internet marketing, technology, health or wealth niches. Certainly, very few authors are producing much video. So you can stand out and be seen as well as get known through video.
So how do you make a video and get it online?
Here are some quick tips, with a full post to come:
- Basic quick start for talking head video. Buy an iPod Nano or a Flipcam, they are cheap (under $200) and just talk into it. Plug in and upload to YouTube. You may also have video capability on your cellphone, or you can use the webcam on your laptop or PC as YouTube has a recording facility.
- Book Trailers. Book trailers: 11 steps to make your own. This post will help you create a basic book trailer with static images and sound. It includes my own first book trailer attempt! Here is another self-made example from author Grant de Graf that includes stock movie footage from iStockphoto.com. For a professional book trailer, check out Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (which will be made into a movie!)
- How to get your video online. Lots of free info from video guru Gideon Shalwick at GetYourVideoOnline.com (warning, pop up video on start so mute first if in public). We will be having Gideon on the podcast in the coming weeks to explain this in more detail.
- Screen Capture. If you want to make teaching videos, you need screen capture video. I have used Camtasia on the PC but it costs to buy the program. You can also use Screenr which is free but only for short videos. You could also try JingProject.
Personal note: I need to practice what I preach, and fully intend to post more video in 2010. Here's a video I did last year on How print on demand has changed my life. Do you feel you know me better after watching even 30 seconds of it?
How will you use video in your promotion activities?