Friday, December 18, 2009

Book Videos - Again

Editor’s Note: Today I'm giving you another video. At four minutes, thirty-eight seconds, it is lengthy for a book video. Most of the ones I have seen come in at less than half of that. But please watch the video and then we'll talk about it.

This isn't the first time I've talked about book videos and it won't be the last. The current understanding of book videos seems to be that they probably help sell some books, some of the time, but we may have been able to sell those books anyway, using a cheaper method. In other words, we don't know how much book videos help with sales and we don't know if they are worth it, but they may be. They are certainly not a silver bullet. You can't just put a video out there and get thousands of people to read the book. For that matter, it is hard enough to get thousands of people to view the video, and it is free.

If you are a bestselling author, your publisher might foot the bill for a book video. For the rest of us, that is questionable. I did, however, notice that Thomas Nelson's Westbow Press includes an Online Video in the services they are offering. It will cost you $6,999. That video had better sell a lot of books if that is what the going rate is. Needless to say, a lot of us have looked at cheaper options. But what most of the book videos I have seen do is show images of the book, show images that look something like the area in which the story takes place and display text over the graphics. The text reads something like the Back Cover Copy.

For the video you see above, I took a different approach. If I'm watching a video for any length of time, I don't like having to stare at the screen the whole time, so a video without voices bores me. Voice actors are expensive, as is stock video footage. So, I hired some virtual actors who would work very cheaply. I then wrote a script that would have them introducing the story from the book.

Question: What do you think? Is this method more effective than the typical book video? Do the virtual cartoon characters detract from the more realistic characters in the book? Do you feel that the video has given you enough information to be able to tell someone else what the book is about?