Thursday, August 24, 2017

Video Killed the Literary Star

Did you know that video has been the #1 search engine for some time?  YouTube has become the largest search engine behind Google.  My husband swears by it; every time I ask him how to do anything he comes back with "Look it up on YouTube" and darned if he isn't right.  There is a video on how to do just about everything. There are even videos that tell you how to sell a book.  Or how to blog
  • In 2017, video content represents 74% of video traffic
  • 4x as many users would prefer to watch a video about a product than read about it.
  • up to 85% more emails are opened if "video" is in the subject line - including a link to your video channel is a way to engage.
But what is there for an author to blog about?

Several years ago, someone came up with the idea of a book trailer.  On paper, it completely made sense and was the perfect way to get in on the video craze that was just beginning to take hold.  For whatever reason, they never caught on.  Quality was most likely that reason.  While authors were thrilled to have a visual for their words, readers not so much.  So, if anyone is trying to tell you to invest time or money into a book trailer, please save both.

This doesn't mean that authors can't have a video page.  There are possibilities, even if you need to create them yourself.  What activities are you participating in?  Have you done any bookstore appearances?  Library lectures?  Readings or open mics?  If you haven't, ask yourself why not?  All of these are opportunities to record.  It's rather simple in these times, with our phones ready to use.  Invest in an inexpensive tripod of any size for those times when a friend or colleague can't help out.  If you're appearing in a bookstore, ask an employee to record you.  Be sure to include their signage if any is displayed.  Simple editing apps for a computer or your phone can clean up these videos and make them easy to post.  If it's something you don't wish to do yourself, check online to see about hiring someone.  Inexpensive help can be found just about anywhere.

If you're not being included in these events, people may not be aware of you or your work, so ask.  Better yet, create your own!  Organize an event, or even do something easy like have a friend interview you.  Videos shouldn't be more than a few minutes at a time.  Let's face it, an attention span isn't what it used to be.  Especially in lectures; people don't want to skip through a half hour to find the nugget that they want to hear.  They should be edited to no more than 5-10 minutes.  Be sure to title them appropriately with a description so that they know just what they're getting.  Interviews are a great way to get information to the public that you want them to have about you or your books. 

If you are trying to promote an audiobook or a podcast, you can create video with audio by using a still background - a great use of your book cover.  Again, it's either easy or inexpensive. 

These are only a few ways to make the most of the internet, and should be a large slice of your online platform.  It may seem daunting at the moment, but like anything else it just needs some roping lessons to control it.

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