Amanda 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.
This topic was sparked by a question from Evangeline. She noticed on her own site that video clips and vlogs resulted in the most comments and interactions from fans/potential fans.
But what are the rules for putting together a great video post?
First of all, there are different kinds of ways that you can use video to promote yourself as an author.
- There’s the book trailer,
- There’s the pitch video,
- And there’s the vlog (video blog).
I’m sure there are other avenues, but these ones stand out to me as having the most potential. So let’s look at each in depth.
We’ve all been to the movies. We’ve all seen movie trailers. Book trailers are no different. They’re 30-second advertisements for your book. They focus on the book’s hook and should connect the audience with no more than three characters (hero, heroine, villain). To get an idea of what a GREAT book trailer looks like, take a look at this one for Ally Condie’s Matched.
This one is quite a bit more high-tech than others, but even then, it’s simplistic in that it doesn’t use live-action scenes. It uses catchy design techniques to create a sophisticated look.
Here’s another one, this time by my author, Conlan Brown:
Conlan made that one on his own. Granted, he’s educated in film-making, but still…
If you don’t trust your trailer-making abilities, you may want to consider hitting up the local college. For a few hundred dollars, I’m sure you could employ a student to do your bidding.
Pitch videos are 1-2 minute videos that can be used when pitching your book to an agent or editor. A few of my authors have employed this technique, and I see it as a great way to help your audience feel comfortable with you and get interest in your project.
Your pitch video should include information about you and your story. It doesn’t have to be polished or perfect, either. Stock photography and obviously-scripted lines are ok. Here’s a look at the pitch video my author, Jill Williamson, put together when we approached Zondervan with her book (now entitled Replication):
As an author in the 21st century, it’s important to connect with your readers. Video blogs are ways in which you can break out of the samey-same blog mold and provide something different. The rules for these are similar to blogging rules:
- Stay on topic
- Keep the focus off of the writing craft and on your genre, comparative books, topics that would interest your readers, etc.
- Think about the visual/auditory experience. There should be a reason you’re vlogging and not blogging. Your content needs to have some sort of visual or auditory payoff for the viewer.
- Have fun and be entertaining. This is essential, because people can’t skim through a video like they can a blog post. Once you lose them, they’re gone.
- Keep it concise. We’re talking 2-minutes max. Beyond that, you start to lose people.
Not many authors are using vlogging, but I was able to dig up this gem from my author Clay Morgan (his book, Undead, releases this fall). It’s a bit long and it doesn’t have the views to back it up, but I think it’s a great example of an instance in which writing a blog post just wasn’t going to cut it…he had to do a video, otherwise he’d lose the humor behind his idea. And consequently, he got to connect with his readers. That’s what great vlogging is made of, folks.
So there you have it! Any questions or insight on using video? Which of these options sounds most do-able?