Using Book Videos to Market Your Books

youtube video illustration

Everyone knows Google is the #1 search engine. Any guesses for #2?

YouTube.  

Video is quickly become the de facto way in which people interact with the Internet, which means you are missing out on a world of opportunity if you don’t have at least one book video (and preferably more). The good news is that it is easier than ever to make videos.  In fact, you probably have everything you need in your pocket right now.

Every major social media site (SnapChat, Instagram, and Facebook included) is jumping on the video bandwagon and most of them are following in the shadow of the one that popularized it all: YouTube.

Youtube is for authors, too.

The YouTube app makes it easy to record videos on your mobile phone and then upload them to a channel that you can create exclusively for your book. If you write multiple books, you may be better off creating a channel about you as the author and then include videos about all your books in one place, rather than uploading them across multiple channels, since managing multiple YouTube channels is more trouble than it’s worth.  And besides, you’ll already be busy uploading the same videos to Instagram and Facebook and other video sites, like Vimeo.

You can easily download the YouTube app from the iTunes App Store, but if you prefer not to use the YouTube App, it’s still easy to record videos on your phone and then upload them directly. Another alternative is a webcam. Nearly all laptops and tablets come with video cameras nowadays.  Just aim and shoot and upload. Of course, you can always go “higher-end” with a GoPro camera or something even higher-definition, although the price and the complexity makes it less worthwhile. Start small, start cheap, and as your experience with shooting videos grows, so too can your budget and quality.

The technical aspect is actually the easy part.  More difficult is deciding WHAT your video is going to accomplish, or what it is going to say.  While it is certainly simple to record yourself reading passages from your book, that may not make for the most exciting video to watch.  

Entertaining and/or educational videos are the way to go.

How-to videos, for instance, are very popular. This means authors of non-fiction how-to books have a large pool of content from which to draw.  Every chapter could be its own video; heck, perhaps even every page if you wish to make a series of shorter videos (which are more popular than longer ones, and drive more subscriptions to your channel to boot).  

Children are almost as popular as cats in videos, so children’s book authors … rejoice!  Let the little ones be your stars and reap the rewards for their cuteness. If you’ve written a cookbook, you’re golden. Film yourself cooking some of your recipes.  The point is, no matter what kind of book you have written, you can create a book video to market it. If all else fails, use stock photography sites to pull some still images down and edit them in with memes or quote cards and tell the story of your book or summarize its plot or message.  With the right selection of music, even these can be effective. Slide.ly and Animoto are two third-party video sites that make this process relatively simple and relatively inexpensive.

Once you make one video and upload it, make another one, and make it unique. Then, track the views and comments to see which type of videos are most popular with your audience.


brent sampson
In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.
In his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including the bestseller Sell Your Book on Amazon, which debuted at #29 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

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 : Lights! Cameras! Action! Taking your book to the movies

There once was a time when book marketing was mostly a print and maybe occasionally a radio affair. Then came television, and the publishing world absorbed the change. Later came the internet, and the publishing world was faced with a new dilemma: how to make use of the new platform and opportunities provided by the internet to build successful marketing campaigns? Always one step ahead of the curve, self-publishing authors began to look for websites like Youtube and Vimeo as possible platforms to connect with new readers and share their book trailers. And they have been wildly successful!

A book trailer is, in short, a kind of movie trailer for your book. Because videos tap into two fundamentally important human senses–both sight and hearing–at the same time, they have the power to both introduce new readers to your book and inspire them to purchase it.

A good book trailer presents images related to the book’s theme and content in an entertaining way, and is set to music that conjures up the appropriate atmosphere. A mystery novel might be set to a brooding tapestry of minor-key notes, while a romance novel might take advantage of a light-hearted upbeat tempo to clue readers into the nature of its story. Just as moviegoers might find themselves on the edge of their seats at the theater, your potential readers will wait with bated breath for the chance to pick up a copy of your book. It’s all about creating that “buzz” around your book’s release.

YouTube Screenshot

Crafting a book trailer that connects all of the dots in order to inspire this kind of reaction is, of course, quite a challenge. Video editing demands a certain professional creative skill set, complete with a deft hand at image placement, talent with text arrangement, and a nuanced way with transitioning from one frame to the next. And the timing must be precise: the entire trailer must take place over approximately sixty seconds in order to communicate all that it needs to and command a viewer’s attention.

The value of a well-made book trailer is, however, unquestionable. Short movies are the most portable of marketing tools, and are easily shared across all of the major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and elsewhere. They can be embedded into blog posts or the link distributed by email. And chances are, nine out of every ten video links you’re going to click in the coming year will lead to something on YouTube–a website which generates its own enormous slice of direct internet traffic and has proven a reliable source of many “viral” marketing campaigns already. But you never know what the next video application could be–even Amazon is getting into the video game these days.

As a self-publishing author, you’re already strategically placed to take advantage of video–but creating a book trailer? That might be outside of your comfort zone or even fully beyond your abilities. There are, of course, hybrid publishing companies that offer these services as part of a package, or you can commission someone to assist you. If you opt to pay for assistance, your music selection, image identification, and text integration will all be taken care of for you, and a draft of your book video trailer delivered to you. As I recommended last week, check the fine print: as author, you should retain the right to review the draft and suggest changes before final modifications are made. You should also own any and all rights to the final book video trailer outright and therefore use it throughout your marketing efforts–by uploading it to Yahoo! Video, MySpace, Daily Motion, Twitter, Metacafe, and other popular video hosting websites.

Book marketing is all about human connection, and your book video trailer is no different. A book trailer puts all of video’s greatest assets–its immediacy, its ability to convey a lot of information succinctly, and its visceral impact–at your command. Movies have the power to move people, and a book trailer has the power to capture your reader’s attention and then translate that attention into engagement on social media as well as drive sales. Your book video trailer is a backstage pass into who you are as a writer, and an all-access ticket to the theme park of your book’s greater universe!

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.

How to Promote Your Self Published Book Using Video

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?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Weekly Wednesday Podcast: Using Video Marketing as Part of Your Book Promotion Strategy

Today we’re covering:

  • What is a book trailer and why should you use one as a part of your book promotion strategy?
  • How long should it be?
  • What to include in the trailer?
  • Where to upload/promote your trailer?
  • How can they benefit you, as an author?
  • Should you have someone else create your book trailer for you?

Here’s today’s podcast:

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Here is an example of a book trailer:

Here is an example of the book teaser you can win by entering our Facebook contest:

 

DISCUSSION: What would you like us to discuss on next week’s podcast?

Win $109 Worth of FREE Video Marketing for your Book!

Are you planning to launch a social networking campaign for your book? If so, a video would be right on time. Right now, we are running a Facebook contest where you can enter to win $109 worth of video marketing for your book. All you have to do is “Like” our Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/selfpubadvice and fill out the entry form at http://bit.ly/SelfPublishingAdvisorContest.

The contest is running until March 29 and our official rules can be found on the contest page on our blog.

Good luck and stay tuned for the winner announcement on March 30.