“Where do you get your ideas?” is one of the most common questions for fiction writers. So how can you answer that question at the same time as allowing readers to get to know you a little better — and market your books?
In this article, I share how I'm doing this for my thriller writer brand under J.F.Penn and you can check out the video below.
(1) Decide on the medium — article, video, or audio
I decided to use video as it is a great way to connect and my fiction readers don't get to see me in person very often. The video also has a transcript with images and links at www.JFPenn.com/ideas. In this way, even though the video was the primary goal, the text enables others to read or check out the images, plus the SEO (search engine optimization) is better with text.
I use audio at my Books and Travel Podcast every few weeks and have done personal episodes on places I have visited. I think that indie authors can sometimes obsess so much over paid ads that they forget content marketing is still a great way to connect with readers, and it gives you something to put in your email newsletter!
(2) Prepare the material
I wrote a script that highlighted my research process and prepared the images for each segment. This was a text document that I could use to read from and I had it open during the recording process. I used that as the basis for the notes under the finished video.
(3) Record and edit the video/audio
I used ECamm Live which has a Record only setting and enables the lovely overlay features. It also has a function for going live on Facebook and YouTube which I have also used for live Q&A videos.
I edited the video in Screenflow for Mac. There are many options for recording and editing video, so find what's best for you or whatever comes as standard on your computer.
As ever, recording video is not a smooth process! It takes many false starts to get a take that you like but that's OK! No one will see those out-takes so you can keep going until you're happy. Allow 10x as much time as your finished video e.g. a 5 min video will take an hour to record, and at least that again to edit, etc. Video is very time consuming but it's worth it so that readers can see your face and your smile and connect with you more personally.
(4) Post and share the video
I uploaded the video on Facebook.com/jfpennauthor first and also shared it on my new Thriller Books and Travel YouTube channel. I posted it on my JFPenn blog with full notes and links and also shared it on social media under all my profiles. It is an evergreen video so I can keep sharing it over time.
Watch the video below or here on YouTube.
Video continues to be an important part of marketing, but I know it can be daunting for many authors. Please do add a comment if you have any questions or feedback.
Donald Schniepp says
You have tremendous energy. I have started reading many of your writing books already. I have to learn the video and other markets you employ. I also have bought books through your links to other authors. I hope you received the money associated with that endeavor.
How you got your ideas is intriguing. I have not traveled, like you have, but can see doing such. I also have read a great deal on your idea of being an indie author. It is a great amount of work, but I like the control aspect. I am just learning to write, especially about memoirs and fiction. I experienced many of the same issues that you faced in your career. I never felt I had the talent, but I always knew I could learn anything. My background is in the business world, both corporate and my own private company. Because of having my own business, I understand the work that you discuss in your books. You have really made me see the benefits of being an author entrepreneur. I am retired and 68 years old–but I am a workaholic. I love writing, but also understand the work aspect. Your traveling is fascinating and being able to expense that is an added perk. I am an introvert, but love talking to groups and teaching on what I know.
I have an added sense of urgency, because I am old and want to do more before I die! So keep doing what you are doing and I will keep watching and visiting your site. (and also buying your books!)
Joanna Penn says
Thanks, Donald. I’m so glad you’re finding the site useful. I hope you can do a lot more in the next third of your life 🙂
Carmen Amato says
Joanna, I’m finally getting my video plan together and you gave me a number of ideas for great content. Like you, I write in the International Thriller genre and have boxes of research materials culled from travel around the world. Video editing feels like a daunting skill but I’m taking heart from your example! Have a great week, Carmen
Joanna Penn says
Glad it inspired you 🙂
Thanks for sharing. I would love to do a video but a little nervous as I am not a speaker.
Any tips to help?
Joanna Penn says
It’s about practice 🙂 Get started where you are, hold up your phone and talk. No one need see it 🙂 You can improve from there. All the best.