According to a recent article in Scientific American, "video files will be part of 90 percent of all consumer Internet traffic (that generated by households, universities, and Internet cafés) in 2013." This statement is part of a report issued by Cisco, which is the leading supplier of networking equipment and network management for the Internet.
Cisco issued that report just one day after Apple announced that their next iPhone will be able to not only record video clips, but will also be able to edit and send them via email or upload them to YouTube using voice commands.What this means is that it will no longer be enough to provide great text content for online marketing. As a promoter, you'll have to make it visually entertaining as well. Fortunately there are a lot of free or inexpensive applications available that you can use to make your own videos to promote your book. In fact, if you're on a PC, Windows Media is already available to you. There are even more programs available for MAC users.
You say you don't have the money for a slick, high-budget production? No problem. Folk-style video is so common that even the most reasonable efforts to make it a quality production will stand out. And, there's another perk to making your own videos. They will have a genuineness and sincerity factor that high-budget productions can't match.
If you’re a little intimidated by the learning curve and expense of equipment you’ll need to produce a video, don’t be. The best way to get started in promoting your book with video marketing is to make a movie trailer from still shots. The software to do this is free and may already reside on your computer. Following is a list to get you started.
If your operating system is Windows XP or Vista, then Windows Movie Maker is probably already installed. If you use a Mac, look for iMovie software that is either already installed or free for download.
Photo Story 3 is another video editor and is available as a free download and makes movies from still shots, like book covers. It also has a way to edit a sound track. (Works with Windows.)
Paint.net is a free image and photo editing software that will allow you to customize your still shots, like your book cover and such. It will also allow you to create new stills for text.
Audacity is an audio editor (for your soundtrack), and is available as a free download.
A warning about copyright: There are lots of sites that offer stock clips and soundtracks. Do not use anything that does not have a public domain or Creative Commons license.
If you want to make a live video, there are several inexpensive digital cameras with built-in mics and a USB connector. Two of the most popular models are the Flip Video Mino and the Kodak Zi6. Both come in high definition models. If you get the HD Flip model, be sure to get it bundled with a tripod. It works great sitting still, but doesn’t provide clear detail when being moved around.
You’ll also want to consider your lighting source and background when you shoot a video. Follow the KISS principle and Keep It Simple, Silly. Remember, there’s a difference in hokey and folk-y. Keep your background clear of clutter.If you don’t want to put yourself on camera, you can still make an interesting video with still slides and a voice-over. Mics come in a lot of price ranges and the general rule about higher price – better mic holds true. However, if you are simply doing a voice-over after you have the video edited, you can probably make do nicely with a good USB headset mic, which is the same kind you would use to make a call through your computer on Skype. Plantronics makes a very good one that is affordable. And, you can use it for podcasts too.
So, jump right in and start making a movie. You might be surprised at how much fun it can be. You can find the cameras and headsets listed above on Amazon.com.
MaAnna Stephenson is degreed in electronics and is the author of multiple technical manuals. With over two decades of experience as a Web site director, she has helped many non-profit agencies and small businesses achieve their online goals.MaAnna is the author of the Just the FAQs series of e-books that teach the technical aspects of online marketing to non-geeks. Visit Just the FAQs for more.