In Your Corner: Taking it to the Big Screen

It probably isn’t news to you that video is an important tool in your toolbox as a self-publishing author, so I’ll skip the part of this blog post where I laud the benefits of using video in addition to written means of promotion in order to sell your book, as well as the part where I defend the book trailer as an indefensible part of your self-marketing strategy.  What you’re interested in–and what we’re all interested in, really–is how to use that video to stand out.  How to actually put it to work.  And since we’re sliding into a new month right now, I thought I’d take August as an opportunity to do some serious work when it comes to this whole self-promotion thing.

video trailer promotion

A Miniature Soapbox

Because let’s face it, those “X for Dummies” books have a point, even if they simultaneously belabor the point (thus falling into the whole “defense of X” rut I’ve said I’ll skip, above) and insult readers’ intelligence while at it.  Sidebar: My father gave me the “Photography for Dummies” book almost a decade ago, but I still haven’t really touched it, even though he insisted he didn’t actually think I was dumb.  The real problem with the “X for Dummies” books is that they assume their readers are insecure in their sense of self-worth when it comes to whatever task or object they’re seeking to learn more about.  But let’s be clear: You’re not a “dummy” just because you want to get down to the nitty-gritty of how to make something work.  A lack of information is not a lack of intelligence.

How (& Where) to Use a Book Trailer

  1. Upload your video to your website & on your YouTube channel

Creating a YouTube channel is free, and it happens to come along with a bundle of customizations.  Take a look at the YouTube channel of your favorite musician if you’re looking for inspiration–and then take a look at a variety of different artists’ and musicians’ channels for comparison–and note what customizations work: banner images, layout alterations, etc.  It’s easy to Google templates and tutorials.  Sometimes the simplest changes are actually the most impactful, so don’t overthink it.  Making your YouTube channel beautiful is secondary to making people aware that you have one, so make sure you not only upload your video, but that you promote it too.

  1. Tweet about your book trailer

Fans accessing links to online videos via Twitter watch, on average, an extra minute of video compared to those who stumble across your book trailer via a search engine.  After uploading your book trailer to YouTube and your personal website, tweet about it!  And don’t just tweet about it once, either.  Spread the word across all of your social media platforms–Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and everywhere else you have a digital presence.  This will serve as part of your promotional strategy for raising awareness about your book video trailer, but it also will serve as a boost to your overall digital footprint.

  1. Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Before you distribute your book trailer on YouTube and elsewhere, you should understand the basics of search engine optimization (SEO). There’s simply no point in creating a website or book trailer or any other content online if that content can’t be easily found. Which means, when push comes to shove, that you’ve got to start thinking like a search engine.  Each website page or blog post should be optimized so that search engines can find it.  And in the same way you optimize your blog, you need to optimize your book trailer so people can find it.  We’ve written about SEO before, in detail–and it really is worth it to take the time to do this right.

You are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner : Putting the Pieces Together

Figuring out how to navigate the world of book marketing can be a hazardous task, with many unmarked dangers–and shortcuts to safe passage–awaiting the self-publishing author. Over the last three weeks, I have introduced some of those campaign components which I happen to think are vital and important:

The problem, of course, is that while all of these probably sound like good ideas, they also require a lot of work.  And by “a lot of work,” I mean they require both time and a fairly discrete set of skills––each.  That is, the skills and even equipment required to craft that polished press release may have very little natural overlap with the skills and equipment required to craft an impactful video trailer.

“Well, what about Google?” you ask, and fairly.  “What about YouTube?  Can’t I look up some tutorials and put something together myself?”

Yes, yes you can!  And there are some really fantastic free guides out there.  I always recommend looking to the “making-related” articles in peer-reviewed periodicals like Publisher’s Weekly and WIRED throughout the year, even when you’re not working on a specific project, to see what sorts of new ideas and tools are being put out there.  And the quality of instruction on YouTube videos has improved greatly!  I’m not going to lie: the Internet is my go-to place when I need to learn how to do something for the first time, whether it’s to refine my (practically nonexistent) origami skills or how to snake my toilet.  (Don’t ask.)

But some of the “barriers to entry,” as we like to call them, are still up–even with the Internet and YouTube and Google in play.  I successfully snaked my toilet … after an hour of “practicing.”  (Read: “flailing wildly.”)  I know I didn’t have an hour to burn that day, but the toilet needed to be done.  And snaking is a relatively simple task compared to some of the many involved in, say, acquiring the rights to an audio file you want to play behind your book trailer video.  Or tracking down email addresses for booksellers, reviewers, and other industry influencers to create an email distribution list.  Templates and virtual instructions can sometimes fail us at crucial moments–or inflate the time required to accomplish what needs accomplishing beyond what we can spare.

If only there was somewhere we could turn that provided professional insight and assistance with our marketing campaigns!  Okay, okay, I know it’s a little on the nose, but I really do recommend paying for at least one consultation with a PR Publicist when you’re looking to put out a press release, a graphic designer or videographer when you’re crafting your book trailer video, and someone on the inside–with real experience–when it comes to tracking down credible book reviewers.

There are, as always, several ways you can go about this–you can contact these people individually, or you can opt to pay for a bundle of services that put all of these professionals under one roof (digitally speaking, at least).  Do your research, shop around for the best deals, and weigh your priorities against your marketing budget.  (Yes, you need one of those!)  Do what needs to be done to get you back to what you really love–writing–and cuts down on the time you spend fumbling around with that toilet snake.

You are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

From the Archives: “How to Promote Your Self Published Book Using Video”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: February 27th, 2013 ]

Video is one of the hottest tools in advertising and marketing right now. Thanks to YouTube and smart devices, people are watching tons of videos, and this tool offers great marketing opportunities for self publishing authors. Here are three ways you can use the power of video to market your book.

Create a book trailer

Book trailers are a hot marketing tool right now. They are like commercials for your book. They are a great item to include on your website and social media pages, and they often increase exposure because readers can easily share videos they enjoy with their friends, family and social media followers.

Record yourself

Video isn’t just used to sell your book; it can also be used to sell yourself as the author. This is especially useful if you write about a topic you are an expert in. For instance, if you wrote a book about weight loss, you could create videos sharing weight loss tips with your readers.

Make it funny

Many of the online videos that go viral include humor. While this technique isn’t appropriate for all books and authors, most people can improve their video ratings by including some humor in their videos. Don’t be afraid to look silly.

I’d love to know, how do you use video to promote your self published book?

by Kelly Schuknecht

We’ve come a long way in three years!  Even in 2013, however, there was abundant evidence that video was rapidly becoming ubiquitous––becoming more than just another tool in the self-publishing author’s toolbox––and that authors like myself needed to catch up.  We now have an entire generation of megastars whose sole platform and original source of popularity was YouTube: Adam MontoyaAmber Lee EttingerBethany MotaCaspar Lee, and hundreds of others have now become household names in large part due to their savvy use of this one video platform.  If you needed proof that video really did kill the radio star, you have it.

Video is so ubiquitous, in fact, that you can now find embedded YouTube, Vimeo, and Instagram clips on every other social media site.  It’s easy to forget that YouTube is its own fully viable social media platform (for more on that, see my entry for YouTube in last year’s social media primer) because it is so fully conversant with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and so on.  Videos can even be embedded into your Amazon author page, your email signature, and your personal website.  Basically, they can go everywhere and be everything to everyone.

youtube video illustration

In a sense, my original points remain relevant untouched.  They are not, however, entirely complete.  The world of video marketing for self-publishing authors has evolved well beyond where it was three years ago, and while to a certain extent it will always continue to be a moving target, I think it well worth a little time and care to catch up, and cultivate a video presence online.  In fact, I think I’ll make that one of my goals for 2016: in some way, shape, or form, I will boost my engagement with online video marketing.  And of course, I’ll update you on my progress here at Self Publishing Advisor!

In closing, I think the most important tip that I left out of my original list is this:

Marketing your book is all about human connection, and video marketing is no different.  Many of video’s greatest assets––its immediacy, its ability to convey a lot of information very succinctly and sometimes entirely through context––tap into the our deepest emotional centers.  Video has the power to move people.  It has the power to capture your readers’ attention but it must do so quickly, in the first few seconds, or else they will move on to other content.  Human communication is almost entirely non-verbal, and within seconds of clicking your YouTube or Vimeo link, people will decide whether they like and trust you.

That’s a lot of pressure, if you approach video marketing this way.  And while I certainly advocate for keeping these facts in mind, I don’t think fear should serve as your primary motivation.  Instead, think about video as a backstage pass into what you do as a writer, an all-access ticket to the theme park of your book’s greater universe.  No single video will make or break your online presence, so make as many as possible, catapulting off of the energy and enthusiasm you feel for our work, and share them across as many social media platforms as you feel comfortable using.  If posting a video clip feels as quick and simple as posting a Facebook update, you’re doing it right!

If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Viral Book Marketing: Video Trailers

Successful self-publishing authors know that book marketing and promotion are part of the deal, and ready to hit the ground running upon publication. Today’s market provides so many new venues to get the word out, including this cool new thing: book video trailers.

This tool alone isn’t going to make you a bestselling author, but used right, could be a colorful piece in your marketing map. Check out the web some interesting dialogue on the topic, and ask your publisher about book video trailers.


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