Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farewell to 2008 and Hello to 2009!

As 2008 closes I wonder, "Where did the time go?!" It's been an extraordinary year and a challenging one.

The economy has made it hard for every industry to flourish and as booksellers try to survive, publishers cut back jobs and acquisitions. Yet, books have not gone away. Nor do I think they will. Ever.

I do think that the competition between books will grown. With fewer books being printed publishers will be more picky about what they take and what they will pass on. I have friends who have been published for years that are now struggling to get their newest books picked up, or contracts renewed. It's a hard time and I don't have a crystal ball to tell us if 2009 will be any better. I hope that it will.

COS will be making changes in 2009 to our audio and video products and distribution of those projects. Because of the tight economy we feel obligated to make our products the most effective marketing tool they can be. So we have made relationships and signed contracts with more libraries, booksellers, book clubs and specialty sites. Not only is our distribution more diversified in platform, but it is more targeted in what audience will see it.
We have someone in our Distribution Department that goes around to our online sites and maintains them. He comments on other people's videos, participates in the community and maintains a general presence there for COS in a very real and meaningful way. And, it allows us to engage in a two way relationship, thus creating deeper and more loyal relationships with people on those sites.

Our distribution has increased and our Gold Distribution package is getting 3 million impressions with 3 million increment increases from there. These are meaningful impressions in vast numbers. Radio and television can't compete with our numbers for the price.

We will be doing more with mobile in 2009 and I'm excited about that. We will do a lot more interactive stuff and I can't wait to unveil that!! Reader's Entertainment TV will get a make over and we are adding two more sites-
In Faith Network (InFaithNetwork.com) will go live in January. It is specifically for our Inspirational videos. And Young Readers TV (YoungReadersTV.com) will be for children and young adult videos only. Both will tie in to Reader's Entertainment TV.

We will be attending several conventions in 2009 including RT, RWA, BEA and ThrillerFest.

I was reading the Advertising Age magazine last night and they are saying that in 2008 there were 10 Out-of-Home advertising venues that really stood out. 3 is cinema, where top agencies are now putting ads before movies. COS started doing that back in 2004. The stats on that kind of advertising are very impressive. And 4 is ads on buses. COS started putting book videos on buses earlier this year. It is always good to know that we're on the right track with advertising. We've been extremely happy with both venues!

Did you know that there is a concentration of book buyers on buses? Research shows that we can hit more actual book buyers with Transit TV than with traditional TV in those same areas. We even know where those people are going to buy their books and guess what? It isn't Amazon. That was surprising to me. A very, very small percent went to Amazon.com to buy books.

We are very grateful to everyone who helped make 2008 such a successful year for COS! Thank you! And we hope you and yours will have a wonderful and prosperous New Year in 2009!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Goddess Prophecies by D.R. Whitney


The Goddess Prophecies: The Cup of Immortality is being heralded as the next Chronicles of Narnia, but it can also be compared to Lord of the Rings. Its an epic fantasy with 20 years of study and research behind the making of this novel.
Author D.R. Whitney is an Arthurian scholar and has studied in the US and the UK. Her new novel, The Goddess Prophecies is published by Crescent Moon Press.
The book has already inspired a video game and movie!

The story has epic fantasy elements and a lot of intrigue and perils as the last descendant of the Lady of the Lake, a modern and daring twenty-something inherits this mysterious amulet that leads her on an epic quest that time travels her through a Portal of Mists. With clandestine organizations and knights from Charlemagne chasing her, she finds herself in another world where she discovers that she must destroy the Master of the Souls and his minions who have stolen the Cup of Immortality to which her inheritance belongs. There her soul mate an incredibly powerful wizard returns to help her and together her quest takes them across these savage fantasy worlds with awesome creatures, powers and adventure that will keep
you turning each page with anticipation. Find out more at http://goddessprophecies.com

Murder Game Thrills

The game pieces determine who kill them. The cards tell them who and how they will die. It’s a game of life and death. Of cat and mouse.
I love a good thriller! And I love it when the plot is complicated enough be intriguing but not convoluted.

Murder Game by author Christine Feehan is one of her Ghostwalker books so it has a lot to it.
There’s the paranormal, military intrigue and of course romance. But, this book is differentin that it is very much a suspense thriller. And a great one at that!

Kaden is a dangerous man whose only family is his team of Ghostwalker elite, paranormal military friends. When a series of murders puts the team in danger he searches out a woman with special abilities. She can see the history of the things she touches. And he wants her to touch a game piece.

Tansy did some tracking for the FBI, but after some brutal cases something inside her snapped and she was hospitalized for months. No longer able to withstand her gift and the horrors that come with it, she stays far from civilization.

Kaden has found her and will get her help whether she likes it or not. Her help with the case will save his friends. But it will destroy Tansy. With an undeniable chemistry between them Kaden now must make choices no man should ever have to make.
You can find out more on the author’s site. She has the first chapter up.

http://www.christinefeehan.com.

Also, a very chilling book trailer for the book is available at-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-r_x60pf1A

An Old Fashioned Romance


PW calls Catherine Anderson “A major voice in the romance genre” and I have to agree. If you’ve not read Anderson and you love a good romance with believable and loveable characters I strongly recommend any of her novels. But, the one coming out January 6, 2009 is the one everyone is talking about.

Star Bright is the story of a woman who escapes her dangerous and abusive husband one night on a cruise ship. She changes her looks and makes her getaway to find herself working for a handsome and charming cowboy.

The chemistry the characters have makes this a true romance of quality.
Anderson has a book trailer for Star Bright and you can find more at the author’s site- http://www.catherineanderson.com

Monday, December 01, 2008

New YouTube Analytics Help Design Book Trailers!

YouTube is doing so many new things that it is hard to keep up! But, we have and now we’re going to share with you.


You’ll notice, when you go to www.youtube.com/booktrailers and click on one of our videos that the player can be seen in widescreen! This is new and so far we’re loving it!

I noticed on some other channels that YouTube is gearing up not only for lower third pre-role but for in-video ads to the right side of a video as well. That seems to be in alpha right now since I’ve not heard any rumblings from beta testers, but I see the writing on the wall.


YouTube will now let you buy ad space and get your video or channel featured. It is very much like Google AdWords and is run by Google.


YouTube has analytics called “Insight”. It can tell you things like the ages of people who watch a video, their gender, number of views, demographics and now they have something called “Hot Spots”. This is the information YouTube gives regarding this new feature-


“The ups-and-downs of viewership at each moment in your video, compared to videos of similar length.

Above the average line, your video is hot: it's retaining more viewers than average and they may be rewinding to watch that point again. Below the average line, your video's gone cold: viewers are not rewinding or may be leaving the video faster than the average.”


This is very important information. It lets us know how long someone is staying interested in a video. We can review the information and find out what people like or don’t like with book video. This enables us to build a better video. One with a greater engagement factor, thus allowing for a greater “call to action”.

According to a new survey done by TubeMogul, the attention span of your average online video viewer is very short. According to the TubeMogul study-


Most videos steadily lose viewers once "play" is clicked, with an average 10.39% of viewers clicking away after ten seconds and 53.56% leaving after one minute.”


Here is the chart they put together that shows how many people continue to watch as a video plays.


According to this study the first 10 seconds of a video is key to get your message in or have something occur that will keep them watching. By one minute half of your viewers have left. Now, they may not be leaving entirely. They may have watched all they needed to in order to make a decision to purchase. But, currently, there’s no tracking system that tells us what they did once they left.


And not all videos are created equally. TubeMogul did not use Hulu.com stats because it is a different environment. There are other exceptions. Notice the Hot Spot analytics for Christine Feehan’s Turbulent Sea video. The video is clearly in the “hot” zone during the entire 2 minutes that the video plays. The majority of COS videos follow this pattern. Since we don’t have access to book videos outside of COS produced videos we don’t know if this is a normal trend for book videos or if it only applies to COS videos. The bottom line is that most COS book videos are being watched to the end. They are the exception to the rule much like Hulu.com is.



As we learn how to best utilize the analytic information we’re collecting we will be able to identify what works best so that we can be consistent in creating videos that are “hot”.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

COS CEO Heads West in November

The CEO of Circle of Seven (COS) Productions will speak on Viral Marketing at Book Publishers Northwest Conference in Seattle November 11.th English is also slated to cover Online Marketing Opportunities in Portland November 15 th at the Pub West’s National Publishing Conference and Book Industry Trade Show.

The workshop on November 11th, Making Book Trailers for the Web, takes place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside N., Room 221, Seattle, Washington. This is open to anyone interested and though there is a $5 suggested donation, it is not a requirement. Everyone is invited to come by and join in!

After the Seattle and Portland events it's back to northern California to work on the new COS website for 2009!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Book Trailers on Robert Scoble's Qik show

While at the RWA convention in San Francisco, CEO Sheila Clover English was interviewed by tech guru Robert Scoble. Check out the 15 minute interview here - INTERVIEW

Sheila talks about how libraries and schools are using book trailers, mentions the new Dorchester/Stephen King/COS book trailer contest and answers the question "What sites do you put trailers on?"

Monday, July 28, 2008

Christine Feehan's Turbulent Sea

NY Times bestselling author Christine Feehan rocks the book world with her new novel and its music video!

The new Christine Feehan (http://www.christinefeehan.com) novel, Turbulent Sea, that comes out July 29th, 2008 is one of her “Magical Drake Sisters” series. That last book in the series hit #1 on NY Times! This book is more about the magic, the rock life and the couple and definitely is a book you can read without having to read the previous books.

Christine was recently interviewed on Reader’s Entertainment Radio and not only did you get to hear a reading from Turbulent Sea, but there was an audio byte for her upcoming novel Dark Curse as well. It was cool to hear Christine talk about her books!

You can check out the music video here- http://youtube.com/watch?v=ECqNxdDWliY

And if you want to check out the radio interview you can check that out here- http://www.cospRadio.com or http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Circle-of-Seven

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pam's Pages: Conspiracy Game

Pam's Pages: Conspiracy Game

Anyone can make a book video right?

During ThrillerFest this year I had the opportunity to chat with people who knew just enough about book video to have one. Outside of that they knew very little. It was a great chance for me to educate people who thought they were already "in the know" about book video.

Just about anyone with imovie or Windows Movie Maker can create a book video. Some of them are pretty good. Some are not. It can take a lot of time and effort to create a book video, so by the time you're finished you feel very experienced in the process. Yet, I still see a lot of very basic mistakes made over and over again. Text at the lower third of a video is not a good thing to do if you're going to distribute around the internet. That's not to say that there aren't times in which breaking that rule are to your advantage somehow, but as a rule the lower third of a video should not have text. There are other, similar, rules that should be followed when making a viral video. Many people learn through their mistakes, which is the way many of us learn.

Now you can insert metadata into your video in a way that gives you better SEO. Whether it is Flash, WMV or MOV formats, you can give your video a better standing in the search engines if you know how. Do you know how?

Better video SEO, lower-third rule, initial abandonment rule, font rules, rating rules...the list goes on and on. If you know those rules you're doing better than half the people I see making book video. If you follow those rules you're doing better than 90% of the people I see making book videos.

So, let's say you're one of the 10% of people creating book video correctly and utilizing all the rules that will get you better placement and quality on the internet. Now what? You've created this great book video and what do you do now?

If you aren't getting your video to at least 40 sites that are specific to your genre, then what are you doing? Are you sending them to booksellers? Are the booksellers taking the majority of what you send? Are they taking everything you send? Are you sending to niche specific sites? Are your videos being used by libraries? Are you creating a buzz with your video? How are you doing that?

If you created a video and someone from BN.com said, "I'll put that up in a prominent place on the BN.com site for $250!" would you pay $250 for that placement? Would it be worth it to you to get your video up on the BN.com site in say 2 places? 3?

How much is this worth? -
Posting to at least 2 places on the BN.com site- $
Posting on Borders.com site- $
Put into a bookseller's newsletter- $
Posting to 30 social media sites specific to the book-$
Posting to 10 bookmarking sites that get good buzz-$
Sent to 5000 libraries-$
Sent to 300 booksellers-$
Posted and highlighted on 2 blogs-$
Highlighted on Reader's Entertainment TV-$

Be honest. What would you pay for each of those things? Can you get those on your own? Perhaps you can. Perhaps you can get great distribution.

Where are book trailers getting the most buzz? Where are people talking about then and using them to make decisions on what books to buy? Where are people passing them around and putting them up on their own sites? Where are book clubs getting them from?

This is where research and development comes into play. Someone has to be following the trends both before and after posting a book video. You track the trends and, over time, can determine where a book video is most effective online.

There is a full circle that happens when you're a professional business. There is-
knowing the market
knowing how to set and maintain goals
knowing how to measure effectiveness
knowing how to create a viral video or commercial
knowing the rules that make that video most effective
knowing what readers find entertaining in book video
knowing where the readers are finding the book video
knowing who is buying after watching a book video
knowing where to best place a video
knowing how to make trends work in your favor
knowing where to go to find out the trends
establishing a quality control measure
reviewing quality control and taking action on it
growing viewership
growing awareness/branding
knowing the market

Anyone can make a book video. But it doesn't make you an expert just because you made one. Some people have a natural talent for making a video that others will love and take action on. If you can grow a viewership organically that's fantastic! But, if you're not getting thousands of hits on your video, not getting media attention or not seeing a correlation to sales, then it might be to your benefit to save your money and invest in having someone who has extensive experience do your video for you. Anyone can make a book video, but not just anyone can make a book video effective.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

An example of a book trailer that works - Residual Marketing Effect

Sometimes it takes a while for an idea to settle into place and take hold. When we started producing book trailers no one knew what it was for. There wasn't a YouTube so it was harder to convince people that a book trailer could work. Now, book trailers are well established for many people. There are still a few who think it's a new idea, but that won't last long.

This blog is the perfect example of what a book trailer should do. Conspiracy Game, the book trailer, came out 2 years ago. At that time, this reader saw the video and picked up the book. She didn't get around to reading it right away. She loved the trailer. The point being that the trailer caused her to buy the book. Now, she has read the book and was so inspired that she blogged about it.

Two years and that book video is still getting hits. It still inspires people to find out more about the book and the author.

I think there will be residual marketing effect for online video that will allow us to monitor data over time, proving that, as long as the book is available, the video will be active promotion for it.

Let's see USA Today or NY Times do that.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Should Publishers Alter Contracts for Book Cover Illistrations?

With the economy what it is many people are asking themselves whether there will be more cut backs in jobs, less books printed, more on-demand prints or less spent in promo/marketing. But one avenue of change that could be helpful to publishers is altering contracts with book cover illustrators.
Don't get me wrong, I think artists should be fairly compensated for work. Book video production is an art form. We want to be fairly compensated for our work. But, like many other artists and companies we are feeling the harsh realities of a poor economy. We have discounted our products or added incentives and in some cases we simply lose work because people can't afford a video or can't afford what we charge for book video. The settle for a lesser quality and less distribution because they only have $100 or $200 to spend.
So, I'm not suggesting that publishers settle for less quality, only that they present to illustrators that the problems with the economy make it necessary to get better deals for the current prices or that the prices need to come down. Why not? Everyone else is sacrificing.

What I would like to see publishers do is to alter contracts so that artwork can be used online for video without having to pay extra or seek additional copyright approval. With the evolution of online uses for marketing it only makes sense to evolve the contracts to cover this additional use. The covers are being used for promotion use only. No one is selling their video. Many artists are allowing web use for video already, but some are still holding out.

We had one artist who was already paid $3000 to supply a book cover tell us that we had to pay him another $3000 to use the cover in a video. Obviously we didn't use it. Then, when the author became a huge success that artist tried to contact the author and the publisher to get more work and the author didn't want him because of his previous attitude.

Alter the contracts. Evolve them. Make sure web use for video is included. And be sure to specify that all of the individual elements of the cover should be available for use in a promotional video.

The publishing industry is a big machine, but it tends to shrink the longer you're in it. Everyone seems to know everyone and during a time of economic down turn, instead of cutting back, insist on getting more for what you're already paying. I would think that artists, especially during times like this, would be willing to negotiate.

Being able to use the elements of the book cover helps to tie in the video, the brand, the title and the overall look. Using those elements helps to encourage recall for the book cover.

The same should be done with fonts if possible. It should be included in the license that the fonts can be used in promo material including video.

And if you're looking to show the video off line on TV, movie theaters, Transit TV, etc. you should be sure that you don't limit yourself to "online use" only.

From a producers point of view, we realize that, often, a great deal of thought is put into what the book cover looks like, what the font is, etc. We would like to benefit from all of that careful consideration. If the publisher things those elements represent the story, we would like to use them in our videos.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Book Video Distribution

The technology side of book video includes several factors. Formatting, SEO and distribution are major concerns and hot topics for COS Productions' R&D team. Our research and development team is made up of internal employees as well as contracted specialists.

Last year our major concentration was in book video distribution. We worked on establishing relationships with booksellers and specialty sites, we submit our videos to over 300 booksellers and 5000 libraries. We submit to specialty sites such as Watch the Book, Preview the Book, DigiGirls Library, TerrorFeed, Dark Scribe Magazine, Romance Novel TV, and so on. Most recently we're working with BooksiRead and GoodReads. We're delving into more niche communities while continuing to reach out to additional booksellers and book clubs.

We have a definite plan for distribution in 2009 and we continue to grow in that direction. We've mastered the RSS feed and are able to do more with less time invested. We can even use RSS to get our blogs out to several areas and then monitor comments using Friend Feed.

Our big focus in R&D right now is video SEO. Now that technology has caught up with SEO opportunities for video we plan on taking full advantage of that. Our team is currently working on a tutorial video and guide for our network partners that will help our videos have greater SEO.

We have reached out to publishers who are now embracing social media and we're sharing our experience and resources with them. This also helps us get greater distribution since we can deliver client video to publishers in those areas online.

We are always asked about our list of distribution sites. And, since we have a list of over 400 sites that we can distribute to online we feel confident that we're on top of the book video distribution game for social media. We've showed the list to publishers who ask to see it, but we do not make it available to the public because it is proprietary.

But, I will share a list of sites that shows our most basic distribution. We have other distribution packages that are much larger than this one, but this is the least amount of distribution that a video, produced by COS, will get.

1) 5min (when applicable)

2) Addicting Clips

3) AOL

4) AtomUploads

5) Backflip

6) Blinklist

7) Blinx

8) Blip TV

9) Bluedot

10) Break

11) ClipBlast

12) Crackle

13) DailyMotion

14) Del.icio.us

15) Digg

16) Diigo

17) Flickr

18) Flurl

19) Folkd

20) Furl

21) GoFish

22) Google Video

23) Internet Archieve

24) iTunes

25) Lycos

26) Magnolia

27) Meebo

28) MeeVee

29) Mefeedia

30) Mixx

31) Myjeeves

32) MySPace

33) Pando

34) Photobucket

35) Propeller

36) PureVideo

37) Putfile

38) REAL

39) REC TV

40) REC TV Blog

41) Reddit

42) SearchforVideo

43) Sevenload

44) Spash Cast

45) Spurl

46) StumbleUpon

47) Sumo

48) Technoratti

49) TotalVid

50) Twitter

51) Veoh

52) Viddler

53) VidPow

54) Vimeo

55) VSocial

56) Yahoo Video

57) YouTube

58) Borders

59) BN.com

60) Powells.com

61) Southern Independent Bookseller’s Association- all bookstores

62) Watch the Book

63) Preview the Book

64) DigiGirls

65) Dark Scribe Magazine

66) TerrorFeed (Horror only)

67) Romance Novel TV (Romance only)

68) GoodReads

69) BooksiRead

70) Ebookisle

71) Night Owl Romance

72) Romance Designs Theater

73) COS Productions website and newsletter

74) Find Me an Author

75) Kim's Wonderful World of Books

76) OverDrive (sends to 5000 libraries)


As you can see there are some sites that are very specific to genre and we do try to match genres up to the best possible audience. So, if you have an Inspirational we won't send that to TerrorFeed, and so on.

To me that is an impressive list of distribution for a very low price. Our Cover Story videos ($250) and our Level 1 Mini Teasers ($750) get that distribution as part of the package when they purchase their video from us.

We have additional distribution such as Transit TV which is extremely inexpensive and gets your video 11 million impressions in one week. We can format for TV, movie theater and other out-of-home ads.

We now guarantee at least 50,000 impressions for our top distribution packages. That's new. This is a guarantee for impressions not views, I like to be clear on that. We now place ads on MySpace, Facebook and Bebo with our top distribution packages. The ads show the author and book name and sends people to see the video.

Recently I had one of our publisher clients look at our list of 400 sites. I told her to choose any 10 on the list. I told her that I would show her where COS has a presence on any of the 10 she chose. I've shared a generic list, one without our specific book sites on it, with the tech world and will discuss it with Robert Scoble in July on his show. Our next step is creating a software program that we input the 400 sites into. We then input specific details about each site. The final product will give us a software program that we input details about a video to and it will then tell us what the top sites are for that book and it will even tell us WHY those sites are good for the book. That will go live in 2009.

It's exciting to see book video on the same playing field as video game trailers and movie trailers. 2009 promises to be an exciting year for book video!



Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Do's and Don'ts of social interaction when building relationships online with your business

This is an excerpt from my talk that I will give at BEA this year-

Many top companies have failed at social media. They have the wrong idea of how to interact with people. They see millions of people out there and they want to reach out to them, but they lose site of the ever-changing landscape of social media and the rules that continue to evolve in that medium.

There are hundreds of social media sites that you can have a presence on. Each of those sites have a different group of people with different expectations. Study the site. Know what opportunities are there. See how people are communicating with each other. Look, first, to learn the accepted way businesses are communicating with individuals. Some sites will work for direct sales. Some will work best for branding. Know the difference.


Do's and Don'ts

Do

Do have someone be personable on your profile.

Do know your community.

Do interact when you have nothing to sell.

Do blog about things readers will find interesting.

Do join groups with interests that match yours.

Do have an interesting profile with pictures and items of interest that match your target audience.

Do have a positive and supportive attitude about your community and let that show.

Do monitor comments and approve them before they go out.



Don't

Don’t act like a business on a social profile.

Don’t be something you’re not. People will ferret you out if you pretend to be a person recommending books and you’re really the publisher of the books. Let them know you’re the publisher. Transparency = trust.

Don’t SPAM!!!! It doesn’t matter what you think is SPAM. It matters what the community thinks is SPAM.

Don’t bog down your profile with so much material that it takes forever for it to load.

Don’t be insensitive to the social media site you’re on. If you’re on MySpace, don’t put up YouTube videos if you can help it. Do you think MySpace will feature your profile if you’re advertising for YouTube?

Don’t be a friend whore. Don’t do “whore trains”. Whore trains are like online chain letters that gain friend additions instead of dealing in money. You won’t get your target audience. It will pollute your bulletins. You usually get undesirable people on your friend list.

Don’t add people under 18 if you are selling adult material.

More and more companies are utilizing social media sites as out reach programs. By following some simple rules that can be accomplished without compromising relationships with potential customers.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Quondam: An Ancient Mirrors Tale Jayel Gibson Book Trailer

Her family and homeland destroyed by an otherworldly assassin¢s fires, Cwen of Aaradan escapes through a mysterious portal into Quondam. There, she discovers her fate and an imprisoned dragonspawn's are intertwined in ways that will drag her, heartbroken and vengeful, into the heart of a devastating war. http://www.ancientmirrors.com ISBN# (10 Digit)-193353883X Genre(s) of this book Fantasy/Romance

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Before the Storm Diane Chamberlain Book Trailer

After saving a group of teens from a fire, fifteen-year-old Andy becomes an unlikely hero. His overprotective mother, Laurel, watches as her special needs son basks in the positive attention he’s always craved. But when the suspicion of arson is cast upon Andy, Laurel must ask herself how well she really knows her son. . . and just how far she’s willing to go to protect him. ISBN # 0-7783-2541-5
Genre Contemporary/suspense/Romance http://www.dianechamberlain.com

Friday, April 25, 2008

COS CEO Interviewed about online video distribution

TubeMogul is the leading multi-site distribution upload company that offers analytics and the ability to follow video campaigns.
After several months of utilizing the TubeMogul system, COS Productions identifies ways to syndicate even further via RSS feeds and special syndication directly from those sites that take TubeMogul uploads.
COS Productions has a list of over 400 social media sites, which was shared with the tech community. CEO Sheila Clover English created a video performance rating system that is now being considered by several top media distributors and researchers including the Association of Downloadable Media and the Internet Content Syndication Council, both of which COS is a member of.
COS Productions is considered one of the leading companies for online video distribution and the leading producer of book trailers. TubeMogul asked CEO Sheila Clover English to come onto their new TubeMogul University show to discuss the advances and opportunities that she has identified for online video distribution.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Sun Singer Malcolm R. Campbell Book Trailer

Robert Adams steps through a secret mountain portal into an alternative universe where he must resurrect his dormant psychic powers to tell friend from foe in a world at war, finish a dangerous task his dying avatar grandfather left undone, and survive the trip home. isbn # 0595316654Genre (s ) Fantasy/new age
www.malcolmrcampbell.com

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cruel Summer Alyson Noel Book Trailer

Colby Catherine Cavendish is looking forward to her best summer yet—until her parents decide to divorce and send her to live with her “crazy” aunt Tally on a tiny Greek island. Stranded in a foreign place with no cell phone, Colby fears her friends will forget her. But when she meets Yannis, a sexy Greek local, everything changes . . isbn # 0-312-35511-4. genre Yound Adult
http://www.AlysonNoel.com

Monday, April 21, 2008

RSS - When "Simple Syndication" ISN'T "Really"







RSS Feeds- Really Simple Syndication

They can put the word “simple” in it, but it doesn’t make it any easier to use. RSS feeds seem to be a mystery to most folks, myself included. But, over the last few months I’ve taught myself how and when to use RSS feeds.

In layman’s terms, RSS feeds are a delivery system, or syndication system. When you have material, such as a blog or news, something that changes often or that is important for you to know about when it does change, you can use RSS to update yourself or others. It is a way to deliver material en masse or to receive material in a concise manner.

Let’s take a look at sending RSS and at receiving RSS.

SENDING

How do I know if I have RSS feed? How do I get RSS feed on my site? How do I tell other people I have it? How do I get them to use it?

All of those are very good questions. I’m so glad you asked! Lol

If you have a blog or newsletter you want people to read it, right? So, many of you create ways to get people to sign up for your blog or newsletter, like contests or exclusives that people get only if they “sign up”. Then, you have to maintain that database of users, hope they don’t turn you in for SPAM and send out information to all of those people when you have something you want to share with them. It is you SENDING to them the information you create and want them to have. RSS allows people to collect your data without you having to do anything more than create your content. People can subscribe, just as they subscribe to a newspaper. So, when you have something new on your blog or newsletter, RSS sends that update to people who subscribed to your content. You never have to lift a finger. Technology does it all for you.

I strongly suggest that you hire someone who already knows how to make RSS feeds, validate them and promote them. You can find more information here- http://www.extralabs.net/articles/create-rss.htm.

Most blogs have RSS feeds already. For example, if you have a MySpace blog you have RSS feed. How do you find it?
Go to your MySpace blog and click on one of your articles there.








Look toward the top and to the right. You will see “rss” listed there. Click on that.


You will see your articles listed. There will be a couple of places where you can find your RSS URL feed for this.

You can find it in your browser from this page. Copy and paste the URL that’s in your browser.
Or- Look to the right of that page where it says you can view the properties. Click on that and it should bring up a box that gives you an “address” of the feed. That is what you need in order to send your feed out into the universe.

I put my RSS feed into my AOL page. See below that I just copied and pasted that URL into the box asking for the “Feed URL”. I filled in a title and chose to see the headlines and a synopsis of the articles that will appear.



Click “Save” and your MySpace Blog articles are now on your AOL.


You can send your feeds anywhere RSS feeds are accepted.

Give your feed URL out in your emails or if you send out newsletters give it out there. Make sure it is easy to find that URL so people can take it and use it themselves. This will let others see every time you send out new information.





RECEIVING

When you receive RSS feed you are collecting content. You don’t have time to go all over the place looking at every blog or newsletter. You want to just skim through the headlines or the headlines and synopsis, to determine whether or not you should read the whole article. Instead of going here and there, you bring it all to you. You can do that with Google Reader or AOL or any number of RSS aggregators.

For example, on AOL I put up a few RSS feeds to sites that I want to watch to see if they have new business information of interest. On Reader’s Entertainment TV you can go on the homepage, then on the genre channels and you’ll find that I utilized RSS feeds of other people’s blogs to help make my site more interesting an engaging.

The great thing about it is that, once I place that RSS feed into my reader or onto my site, I don’t have to do anything else. Now, I get new content all the time without ME having to DO anything! It is all done for me automatically.

You can put RSS feed on your website so people can easily see what you’re saying on your blog. You can put up RSS feed from USA Today books, NY Times bestsellers or any other relevant news or blog in order to keep fresh content on your own blog or site. It looks like you do something with your site or blog every day because the content is fresh, but really you’re only to blog once a week or every other week. The RSS keeps it fresh for you.

There’s more to know of course and here is a wonderful resource for you-
http://betabloggerfordummies.blogspot.com/

DIFFERENT TYPES OF FEEDS

You should know that if your RSS feed didn’t work for some reason it could be an incompatible feed. There are different kinds. Three’s RSS 1.0 and 2.0 and then there’s ATOM which is another type of feed altogether.

I had a client who wasn’t able to get their RSS feed to work on their Amazon Connect account. But, it would work on their Blogger account. So we cheated. We send her MySpace blog to her Blogger account using RSS feed. Every time she blogged on MySpace it went automatically to her Blogger account. From there we used the Blogger RSS feed on her Amazon Connect account, which took the Blogger feed easily. Now, she would blog on MySpace, which was forwarded to Blogger, which then forwarded to Amazon. You can just keep forwarding on and on and on.

WHERE CAN I SYNDICATE MY FEED?

If you want to syndicate your feed, to let people know it is there, to move it into more places, you need to take the time to set it all up first. It will take time and effort, but once you’re done, you will get your message out to more people with less effort than ever before. Instead of blogging on MySpace, then on Blogger, then on to the next site, you will blog one time and it will go out to different locations.

MySpace to Blogger to Amazon works great. Here is a site that has a list of places where you can submit your RSS feed- http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-submission.htm

Here is more information that can help you to market your blog-
http://weblogs.about.com/od/marketingablog/Marketing_Your_Blog_to_Increase_Traffic_and_Your_Earning_Potential.htm

You want to set yourself up so that you can get the greatest syndication with the littlest effort. Save your writing time for your novels.









Monday, April 14, 2008

Marketing - Working Smarter

For Authors-

By Sheila Clover English





You’re told that you have to be on MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and a multitude of other social media sites. Then you’re told to blog, blog, blog in order to connect with fans and create new fans. Every time some new social media opportunity comes up your blood runs cold, your heart runs fast and you feel an immediate need for chocolate. Wait. The need for chocolate thing may only be me. lol

The fact is, there’s so much to do and so little time that authors can’t do it all. And though I love the movie Multiplicity, my luck I’d get the clone that was needy! lol So, I can’t clone myself and if I spend even 5 minutes on each online site that I’m told I need to be on I will never write another book! Ack! Now what?

Well, you can actually use that mess called "emerging technology" to do work for you.

In a couple of weeks I’ll be speaking on a panel about Emerging Technology at the Romantic Times convention. There, I will give details to people on how to make technology work smart for you. Today, I’d like to give some of that information to my MySpace friends.

There are three tools that you need that will get you an abundance of online promo and presence while you’re off typing your next novel.

1. A web master/mistress. Just one.
2. A blog. Just one.
3. A superuser. Just one.


Most of you already have a web person. But, I would like to take a minute and talk about that. This is not personal. I don’t know who your web person is. They may be the nicest person on the planet. They may work for you for free. I don’t know. But, I will tell you that if you don’t have a web person who understand how to put video or audio on your site and has no idea how to utilize RSS feed you need to either -
a. Let them go and hire someone with the right skill set.
b. Pay to have them trained.
c. Pay a second person who has the right skill set and can work with your primary web person.

Why would you take on extra work in order to keep a web designer? If you’re trying to get help for your web person, if YOU are looking around to get help for your web person...fire your web person. Or do something about it that will keep you from having to do your web person’s job. Pay a professional. I know authors don’t make a lot of money, but seriously, invest in someone who knows what they are doing or be prepared to do some of the work yourself.

If you are going to be frugal somewhere, don’t let it be your website.

Blogging is an important tool. It needs to be something you invest some time in. It needs to be part of your overall online promo and presence.
How often should you blog? Well, how much time to you have? Some people blog every day. I don’t have that kind of time. But, I can blog a couple of times a week. But, even if you can only blog one time a week - BLOG!!!

It is of utmost importance that the blog you choose be one that has a RSS feed. Don’t bother with a blog that does not have a RSS feed.


What do you write in the blog?

People want to know who you are. They want to know about your book. But your blog is NOT where you sell your book. NEVER sell your book on your blog. It is terrible etiquette to do so. Yet, you can talk about your book on your blog and people expect, even want, that. You can have a "Buy" button on the side bar of your blog. You can say "My release date is..."

Here is a good rule of thumb when blogging. Act like you’re saying this to someone in person. Would you go up to someone at a convention, someone you hardly know, and say "Please buy my book!?!" How do you think that would sound? Desperate? Embarrassing? I don’t know, maybe you would do that in person. In which case, I guess you can blog like that. But, I just don’t recommend it. People who don’t know you may come across your blog and they will be turned off by a desperate plea to buy your book.

Talk about things that are uniquely you. Talk about things that are unique to writers. Talk about something unique to your book. But be sure to ask a question somewhere along the way since that is an invitation for people to comment back to you.

What is a "SUPERUSER"? A superuser is someone who is a loyal die-hard fan. Someone who will spread the word about your book and you. Most of you know when you have a fan or fans like this. These are the people who become moderators to your fan site or online forum. You need to identify one superuser that has computer skills. Or someone willing to be trained in the proper skill set.

This person, or your web person, will take your blog RSS feed and send it out to designated areas on the internet. For example, your MySpace blog has RSS feed. Your Amazon Connect account allows you to blog - OR- send RSS feed from another blog. So, with one blog you just had 2 blogs appear online. Have your tech-person-of-choice find all of the areas that take RSS feeds and send your single blog out to those areas. You could have 4 or 5 blogs in different areas of the internet, but only be writing one blog.

Let your "superuser" moderate your fan club or forum. But, also, have that person Google your name or the name of your book once a week. They can then go and comment on those blogs, leaving a wonderful message about you, and perhaps even leaving your URL. If they come across a blog that they feel YOU, personally, should read and or comment on that blog, they will contact you with the URL to the blog. But, you need to have someone monitoring for opportunities to sing your praises, and opportunities to protect your brand.

Your superuser can also create and lead a street team. A street team is a group of people who are willing to help you. Your superuser can get your street team to blog during the first week your book is out. Or if you do a contest, etc. If you go to a convention or book signing, your street team can meet you there. They can go around and tell people you’re signing books, etc. They would be a group of enthusiastic, but NOT pushy, people who reflect through their actions that YOU are a center of attention, a great author and someone everyone should want to know.

Superusers are not usually paid. They are compensated through acknowledgment. A dedication in your book, mention in your newsletter, something along those lines.

Beyond those 3 things that I mention you can then start to set yourself apart by doing any additional marketing that you think is necessary. Book videos, bookmarks, conventions to attend, etc. But you need a good solid base for your online promo and presence and these three things can help you have that without you having to spend a lot of time on it yourself.

And of course, if you don't find time to write your novel, soon you'll have LOTS of time to market it. lol

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

LinkedIn - Welcome!

I've invited my contacts and friends from LinkedIn to join me here in order to chat about books, book marketing and opportunities.

Welcome!

I include my weekend Industry Report here, articles, etc. I also send over some videos since we have some readers who come here to post as well.

The new industry report should be done by tomorrow. I'm gearing up for Pittsburgh for the RT convention.

I'll be at RT, RWA, BEA and ThrillerFest this year. I hope to see you at one of those events!

Sheila

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Ghost Walk with Heather Graham - The House on Royal St.

This video may contain pictures that are disturbing in nature.
The La Laurie's were wealthy slave owners in New Orleans. What they found there was nothing less than horrifying and shocking. This is a true story.
http://www.theheathergraham.com

Friday, March 28, 2008

Industry News COS Productions March 27 2008

YouTube, Blinkx new books and more in this week's Industry News!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

GUILTY Karen Robards Book Trailer

Something terrible happened that night when Kate was a young girl. She did something terrible. Now her past
is behind her and she is an attorney. But when her past comes back to haunt her and blackmail her she is
torn between two worlds, the old and the new. She knows what she must do. She knows she is – GUILTY.
www.karenrobards.com ISBN# (10 Digit)- 0399154612

Monday, March 24, 2008

Captive Dreams Diane Whiteside Book Trailer


Two sisters, authors of different series, different worlds. Two fictional heroes who realize that the sisters are about to end the series, and them. They use magic to bring the sisters into the worlds they created and show them that they are very real, in every sense. http://www.dianewhiteside.com and http://www.angelaknight.com .ISBN # 978-0425207758

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

COS Industry News - Ep. 5 March 18, 2008

New industry news about MySpace Books, Revver, Bebo and more!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Marketing and Promotions Through Digital Video

The new ebook by Circle of Seven Productions CEO, Sheila Clover English has been completed and was released yesterday in the COS Newsletter.
The book touches on topics of specific interest to the publishing industry and other book promoters or sellers.
The book can be found HERE on the COS website.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Industry News - COS Vlog - Episode 4

TubeMogul, Booksellers, Books - Lots to talk about this week!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Social Networking Sites, Revenue Letdown and New Ideas

The newest, most trendy thing to discuss in technical and social media news is whether or not social networking sites are going to live up to the hype for ad revenue. With popular social media sites either being bought for millions or totally forgotten to go down in flames, it seems hard to predict which will succeed or how they will succeed.

Revver.com which was once in the top 20 of best social media sites is now looking to prostitute itself out to the highest bidder. The company doesn’t seem able to bring in the revenue to keeps itself afloat and no new ideas are forthcoming. The once popular site may be no more by the end of the year. The question is, why isn’t someone picking it up? With a built in user and content provider loyalty to the site, why won’t someone pick it up for small amount of half a million dollars when sites like MySpace and Bebo are reportedly worth several millions or more.

Businesses came in, guns blazing, or is that, ads playing? Some tried to join in the social media community, just to be flamed, and some came in thinking they would force feed ads. Facebook has struggled with their endeavors to get buy-in from the community for its revenue building ideas. And the idea that social media participants are immune to ads is not new as evidenced by this article in BusinessWeek (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2008/tc2008024_252834.htm).

Businesses are missing the point of a social network online environment. They only see a revenue opportunity. You can’t walk into a close-knit community of friends and interrupt their play with your ad. Everyone seems to understand that online ads and television ads don’t work the same way, yet they continue to try the same ploys, with disappointing consequences. People do not want to be interrupted while they socialize. They don’t want to be force fed ads.

There are a few ideas on how to re-approach social media advertising.

1. Build an interactive ad that allows viewers to manipulate the ad themselves, thus making it more like a game and more engaging. If this is done with an artistic and clever ad people could mash-up the ad and share it, or submit to for a contest. Mash-up are acceptable in social media, ads could be “mashable” and fit in better to the community structure.

2. Create new and engaging features and have a pay-for-service level.

3. Create a community hall where people can come and talk about what they want to see done in their community. Then, give that new feature or “fix” a price and create a community goal to meet that price.

4. Have a store where people can create their own t-shirts, posters, etc. from elements of their own page or from the community. Every community has a store. It could prove to be fun as well as revenue generating.

5. Use the more popular blogs on news and magazine sites. Find out where ads are getting good click through and instead of placing an ad next to a blog, place a blog next to an ad. Every keeps putting ads next to material, but if you have access to the material, you could send the material to the ad. For example, if you have a page where you have a lot of car ads you can create a spot near the ad where RSS feeds can go that has the headlines of popular blogs on MySpace (or wherever) where the blogs are talking about cars. Send the content to the appropriate ad. These sites have some great blogs. Some great videos. Some great content. Yet, they don’t utilize it to its fullest potential.
Google could do this with great success. Have an ad in one area, put content near it, when they go to the content have that same ad there too.

Thinking outside the box is what will solve this problem. Continuing to try and force feed a social community is only going to irritate that community. Is that the feeling companies want tied to their brand? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, “No”.

As long as businesses treat social media communities as a business advertising vehicle they will continue to see poor performance.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Amazon/Connect connects authors, video and readers!

It's the big news of the week. Amazon.com used to charge over $2000 to put a video on their site. Now, an author can upload their video for free to their Amazon/Connect account.
This is a huge deal for authors who utilize video. The ease of "impulse buys" right there at Amazon makes that placement golden.
COS Productions did an industry report on video yesterday. You can see it on the COS YouTube site.

Many authors are asking how to upload the video and even more are asking how to get onto Amazon/Connect. Circle of Seven Productions has put together a step by step guide for doing both.

You can find a pdf form with instructions - HERE

Sunday, February 03, 2008

COS Industry News - Feb. 2008 - YouTube News!


If you haven't already subscribed to the COS YouTube this might entice you. The leading producer of book trailers and video distribution will be vlogging industry news on their YouTube site each month. Some of the information is basic industry news about trends and marketing, but some will be tips and tricks like the new offering on YouTube.



The industry news segments are kept on YouTube for a limited time. At some point this year they will be housed on the COS Resources site with other videos such "How To" videos.

You can check out the first segment of the industry vlog here on the COS YouTube site. But it will come donw some time on Wednesday. This is to encourage people to subscribe to the COS YouTube site. Subscribers and Friends get bulletins or emails each time COS uploads a video. This gives subscribers a chance to go over and view the video and take advantage of the advice or industry trend news.