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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Book Videos and Marketing

Please welcome guest blogger Sheila Clover English

Book video is a great way to join in the digital age of visual marketing. YouTube is now the #2 search engine in the world, second only to its parent company, Google. The number of venues, platforms and opportunities open to digital video continues to grow, as does the public’s interest and appetite for it.

“The number of unique viewers of online video increased 5.2% year-over-year according to The Nielsen Company, from 137.4 million unique viewers in January 2009 to 142.7 million in January 2010.”- The Nielsen Wire

Does it cost a lot?

I’m sure we all have our own ideas of what “a lot” is.
You can make one yourself with photos or footage you own and the cost will be your time and effort. It can be free to make your own video using whatever editing system came with your computer. Or, you can use a site like Animoto to create something for yourself.

There are companies out there that will create a video for you for $50. But, as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for.

COS videos start at $350 and go up from there. But, the real value goes beyond having a quality video. What you do with the video once you have it is equally important.

What makes a good book video?

I get this a lot. A good book video is one that helps you attain your goals. That’s the big picture.

The mechanics of what makes a good book video include-

No longer than 90 seconds for book trailers, teasers, etc.
No longer than 3 minutes for author interviews.
Good music and/or sound quality.
Good lighting if applicable.
Appropriate pacing for the genre or storyline.
Clear, readable font.
Appropriate assets (pictures, footage, etc.)
Include the book cover, author URL at the end
Give people enough time to read the text
Don’t have too much text on the screen at one time.
Don’t let your pictures and text compete for the viewers attention


What can you do with a book video once you have it?

A book video is a wonderfully versatile tool.

You can use it to attain goals –

• Name branding
• Cross-genre promotion
• Audience expansion
• Sales
• Reaching bestseller lists
• Highlighting when you change genres or have a new series
• Selling movie options
• Help with foreign sales

They can be used for-

• Announcements
• Advertisements
• Publicity
• Marketing
• Public Relations
• Media Kits
• Book signings and other public forums

They can reach a multitude of venues and platforms-

• Online social sites, bookmarking sites, reader sites, hobby or entertainment sites
• Online advertising
• Google TV
• Traditional television
• Email campaigns
• Movie theaters
• Digital billboards
• Mobile and hand held devices
• Apps
• DVDs
• Thumb drives for giveaways
• Hotel TVs
• Out-of-home advertising (busses, taxis, etc.)
• Ebook embeddables

You can give it to your publisher, booksellers, friends and book clubs. You can get genre specific and even subject specific online. With advertising you can choose your audience right down to their age, income bracket and region. You can reach millions of people with a single tool.

Book video has the greatest longevity of any marketing tool you pay for. As long as the book is for sale, the book video is promoting it online.


How do you measure the success of a book video?


You measure success by how well the video performed in accordance to your goals.
It doesn’t matter if it is the best looking video on the planet if it does not help you attain your goals.

Goals always include sales, but it is very difficult to track sales directly to a single marketing tool unless you have set up a specific way to do that from the onset. A coupon code, designated website so you can track traffic, etc.

If you are trying to brand yourself you need to look at the video to see if your brand is clear in it and if it got to places that would help establish your brand or associate your video to the brand you desire.

Number of views are great. You want your video to be seen by as many people as possible, but you may have goals that are more important to you than that, like getting the video in front of a very specific audience such as teachers, executive producers or the media.

There is no one formula that cover everything. Every author is different and every book is different at least to a degree. Finding that thing that makes you unique and making sure people know that you’re unique is a goal as important as a million views.

Do it myself or hire a professional?

This isn’t a “right or wrong” answer. It is a decision. If you have the ability and time to do your own and you want to save some money then certainly you can make your own.

If you are going to hire a professional don’t be afraid to seek out references first. Are their videos good quality? Do they have a good reputation in the industry? Do they understand your goals and create a distribution strategy for you? Do they have distribution beyond what you can do for yourself?

Book videos are great tools, but like any tool you need to know how to use it for it to be valuable to you. And just as it takes more than a hammer to build a house, it takes more than one marketing tool to make a successful campaign. But, with the flexibility and longevity that a book video offers it is a very important and effective tool.


Sheila Clover English is a marketing visionary and entrepreneur who works specifically within the publishing industry arena. In 2002 she started the book trailer market and in 2003 trademarked the term “book trailer”.

She has worked with top authors such as Christine Feehan, Douglas Clegg, Gail Martin, Heather Graham, LA Banks, Lisa Jackson and publishers such as TOR/Forge, St. Martin’s Press, Penguin USA, Simon & Schuster, Kensington Publishing and Harper Collins.

2 comments:

ciaraknight said...

I've had several friends/authors utilize local high school and university graphic art majors to make a video for free. Some turned out great. Others, not so much. Just one more possibility. Thanks for the great post!

Liz Kreger said...

I can attest to the quality of COS book trailers. Whenever I see a number of trailers, I can always pick out the ones that were done by Sheila's company.

I've also seen a lot of good trailers done by the authors themselves and some of them are really good. But as Sheila says, it takes time and know-how ... something I have neither of.

Great blog, Sheila.