Amanda Luedeke

March 13, 2014

Thursdays with Amanda: Video Critiques, part 2


2014AmandaAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Today, we’re going to take a look at some more author videos (ones that were submitted for critique), and we’ll start by one from The Writing Sisters:


I like the concept of this one in which the authors really sell themselves while providing plenty of things to look at. It does seem slightly dated with the music and the color of the background, but you know…I think it still does the job.

And what job may that be?

This video is a sort of pitch video. It can be used when trying to secure speaking engagements OR, more importantly, when trying to win over a publishing team. In publishing, we do business with people that we like, and authors should take any chance they can get to make a great impression and win over a publishing house. A video such as this would be played during the pub board meeting. It would help the team feel more connected with the authors, whose book they’re evaluating, and in turn would make them more likely to say ‘yes.’ This video I think would accomplish that, as it does a great job of positioning the authors not only as experts and experienced in their field, but as people who will be really fun to work with. That’s a win-win.

The next video is another pitch video, but this one from a brand new writer who is seeking representation:

I think Jessica did a great job maintaining a professional demeanor while also communicating passionately about her book. Her lines were memorized (score!) and she’d clearly thought through what she wanted to say. Lots of plusses there.

My one critique (that could also apply to the first video) is that there isn’t a clear way for us to find more info online. I see Jessica’s blog is mentioned in the video description, but I’d like to see it appear in the video itself, along with the book title, contact info, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I like how she included her email address, but I think few agents are going to email her based on this video alone. She is better off supporting the video with plenty of online social media links so that interested agents and editors can dig around for more info. And you want to make this as EASY as possible.

Lastly, we have a video that author John W. Otte created in an attempt to get some viral awareness:

Basically, John’s idea was to encourage readers to submit their own superhero audition videos for his fictionalized reality tv show America’s Next Superhero. He got the ball rolling by creating audition tapes based on the superheroes that appeared in his book.

I think the idea was really great, but it didn’t go anywhere. In hindsight, I’d say the reasons for that were:

1. John didn’t have a following in place when he launched the campaign. So he was trying to get something out of nothing which is always very difficult, and

2. Nothing much happens in the videos. The characters talk at the camera, but I wonder if the video would have gone more viral had these dressed-up actors hit the streets and actually tried to find ways to help people. Maybe they could have helped the elderly cross the street? Or flagged taxis for people? Or gotten cats out of trees? The stunts could have been staged and if put together in really quick progression, one right after the other and in broad daylight with baffled onlookers included in the frame, the video probably would have been pretty funny stuff…but that’s what you get with hindsight, am I right?

I’m glad John submitted his video, because it’s a great example of what could be when you think outside the box and try something new.

What are YOUR thoughts on these videos and author videos in general?

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