Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More On Book Videos

Last week we talked about book videos and whether they are worth the time and trouble. One commenter saw no reason for an author to have a book video unless the money is available to advertise on television. When we consider the cost of television advertising, that would pretty much rule out any book videos except for bestselling authors and for those authors with books that are suitable for infomercials. The argument for that attitude is that no one really watches video except on television. I’m a video guy and I couldn’t disagree more. I promised to address other uses for book videos than expensive fifteen or thirty second ads.

Facebook Status Updates

I was surprised last week at the number of comments from people saying they had only watched one or two book videos. My experience has been that I watch video online all the time. When someone posts a video to a blog or on Facebook, I frequently click on it just to see why they thought it was interesting. I’ll admit that I don’t always watch the whole thing. Often what I do is click on the video and watch part of it, but then I begin looking at other websites, blog posts or whatever. For that reason, a book video without a speaking voice is useless. But when we consider that any of our “friends” on Facebook or any other social networking site might click on the video and let it play, video can be a great opportunity to make casual online acquaintances aware of our books.

Speaking Engagement Lead-ins

One of the things that some authors have the opportunity to do is public speaking. While people don’t want an author to show up and just show a video, videos can be an effective way to get information across to the audience that may not be as easy to convey through speaking. Missionaries trying to raise money for their work on a foreign field will often show a video showing the people and country where they will be working. After people have a brief overview, the missionary then speaks about what he personally will be doing and answers questions. The author of a book can take a similar approach by using a video that introduces the problem the book solves, then the lights go up and the author can provide more information and bring it down to a level that is specific to the audience.

Additional Information

People love behind the scenes information.

That’s part of the reason why people love DVD’s. A book can provide the bulk of the information, but there are some things we can’t communicate except by showing people. A video can allow us to show that information. For the novelist, a video can show the reader a little of what it is like in the home of the author. The video may also provide more information about the characters and backstory as well as the inspiration behind the story.

Conference Booth Videos

If an author attends a conference or his publisher attends a conference, there may be an opportunity to have some kind of display in which the author's book is included in the display. While stacking the book on the table may help get people's attention, a video with the author talking about the book or demonstrating a concept from the book can be running so that when potential buyers approach they will see what the book is about, with no effort on their part. They don't even have to pick up the book. The author, meantime, can be off doing other things, like attending sessions of the conference.