Videos are hugely popular online, from grumpy cats and music videos, to breaking news and movie trailers. In fact, YouTube (owned by Google) has become the second most popular website worldwide.
Today I want to share with you practical, actionable information on how to create and use video to promote your book and yourself. First, here are a few of the ways that authors can use video:
- For nonfiction authors, content-based videos (where you discuss the book’s topic) can be very effective. You can even do a series of videos dealing with different aspects of your topic. Options include “talking head” video where you are filmed speaking about the topic, demonstrations of how to do something, a slideshow with voiceover, or a combination of these. Be sure to promote the book at the end of the content-based video and include your website link. You can also work in mentions of the book earlier in the video (“Here are some of the top tips for _____ from my new book ______.”) but be sure to provide useful content rather than just promotion.
- Video trailers (short commercial-style videos, similar to movie trailers) work best for novels, narrative nonfiction, and children’s books. Usually these include a series of images and text with music or voiceover in the background, with a promotion to buy the book at the end. Don’t forget the link to your website or a short link to your Amazon page.
- Children's book authors can post videos of book readings or related activities for kids.
- Authors can also share short video clips from live events such as presentations, television interviews, and book launch parties. These work best on the author blog and social networks.
- Videos can be used as blog posts in place of, or in conjunction with, written articles on your blog and guest posts on other sites.
- Some authors include a video greeting on their website. These are most useful for nonfiction authors and it helps people feel more connected. I don’t recommend videos that start playing automatically when you land on the page because some people find that annoying and it may slow down your page load time.
Where to Use Book Promotion Videos
Videos are great for attaching to posts on Facebook and Twitter. Having a video or photo added to a Facebook post makes it stand out and usually causes the post to be shown on more of your friends’ timelines. Also post your videos on your Author Page on Amazon.
Video can also be used on your author website and posted on YouTube and other video sites. When posting videos on YouTube, be sure to include important keywords in the video title and description, and begin your description with a working link to the book sales page on your website or Amazon.
Remember that anything on YouTube can be “embedded” elsewhere online by simply copying the “embed” code from the YouTube page and pasting it onto your website or another site. For example, if you’re doing a virtual book tour or a guest post on another blog, you could offer a video to the host.
How to Make Book Promotion Videos
Remember to keep videos very short – generally 30 seconds to one minute for trailers and one to three minutes for how-to videos. People have a short attention span online and you don’t want them to click away before they see the end, where your book promotion is located. If you have a lot to share in content-based videos, make several different videos.
Professional video producers can create a slick video, but in general I don’t recommend spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to produce a single video solely for book promotion. Before hiring someone, consider your goals, how you’re going to use the video and profit from it, and how many books you would need to sell as a direct result of the video to pay for the cost of production.
With a little research, you can learn how to make your own videos, and it's fun! Keep in mind that it’s okay for videos to look a bit "homemade," and once you learn how to make videos you can make several.
To learn everything you need to know about promoting with videos, check out the Video Idiot Boot Camp. Katie Davis designed this comprehensive training course to teach even the most technophobic authors how to plan, create and share a variety of author and book promotion videos.
Here are some other resources for learning how to make your own videos:
- From Blog to Vlog – How to Turn Your Written Blog Posts into Video Blog Posts - article by Lou Bortone
- Top 5 Tips to Use Book Trailers to Drive Sales - article by Darcy Pattison
- Book Trailers: 11 Steps to Make Your Own - article by Joanna Penn
- 16 Types of Videos You Can Create - article by Lou Bortone
Here are some tools for creating videos:
- If you have PowerPoint on your computer, check the Help menu for instructions on making videos from slideshows.
- Videos can also been made using screen capture tools such as Jing.
- Movie Maker is a video recording and editing tool that’s usually pre-installed on Windows PCs. iMovie is typically pre-installed on Macs.
- If you're a nonficiton author who plans to use a lot of video, consider investing in a more sophisitcated video production tool like Camtasia.
What are some of the other ways that authors can create and use book promotion videos? Please share your ideas and experience in the comments section below.