Friday, January 25, 2008

New eBook on Video and Video Utilization Due in Feb. 2008

It's almost completed. So far there are 40 pages and there will be at least another 10 before it is done. The upcoming ebook will be sent out via the COS newsletter, MySpace bulletin and eventually will be placed on the resources section of the new COS website.

Though the ebook touches on some other types of promotional tools it's main focus is on digital video, distribution, video utilization and marketing opportunities.

Here is an excerpt from the unedited version of the ebook-

Your book video is a tool. It’s like any other tool, it needs to be used correctly in order for it to work. These elements need to be in place for your book video to be the most effective tool it can be –

1. Well produced, entertaining video
2. Formatted correctly for placement/distribution
3. Distributed correctly
4. Monitored to establish effectiveness

Producing a quality, entertaining video is just part of the overall process. COS Productions uses a beta testing system that allows for reviewers to rate our videos. We start the survey off by asking, “What is this book about?” There are several questions of that nature that gives us insight to how well we’re doing. “Well produced” means getting your idea across just as it means having an aesthetically pleasing video. I’ve watched many videos that last three or four minutes and I’m never really sure what the book is about. I know there’s a lot of naked people in it though! LOL

Before you start creating your video you need to know what you’re going to do with it. What do you want it to do for you? Have goals in mind so that you can better determine whether or not your book video was successful.

I’ve seen a lot of posts detailing how a book video should be made. Some of those are good and some of them are not. If you take someone’s advice on how to make your video you need to watch some of the videos that person made first.

Here’s some instructions and tips for those of you who want to make your own video-

1. Set your goal. What do you hope to accomplish with this video? Be realistic in your goal. “Sell a million books” is NOT realistic. “Get my name out there for people to see” is a realistic goal. “Have my book video picked up by a bookseller” is a realistic goal.

2. Ask yourself where this video will play. If it is for online use only you don’t have to be too exact in the length of the video. You don’t have to worry about formatting to fit a screen. But, if you plan on showing your video on a television screen, you need to think ahead and format it to fit. If you plan on putting it on a movie screen you need to be using the highest quality pictures or stock footage. What looks good on your computer screen might not look so great on a 40 foot movie screen.

3. Write your text for the video. Don’t make it too long. Don’t use your back cover copy. You want to entice the viewer to find out more. If you use the back cover copy you’ve taken away another enticement that you could give a potential reader. Determine the conflict of the characters and of the story. Don’t give away any secrets! Nothing irritates me more than to see a book video that tells what the ending of the book is. Thanks! I don’t need to buy that book now.

4. Once you write the text, have someone critique it. If they read it will they know what the book is about? Ask them to tell you what the book is about just from the text. Remember that the visuals can tell part of the story too. So, if they get most of it, you’re doing okay. Just fill in the blanks with whatever visuals you choose.

5. Choose the visuals for the video. This can be stock photos, stock footage, black screen, motionloops, etc. Don’t have so many pictures that people spend their time trying to figure out what the pictures are and they miss the text. Don’t put so much text on the screen that people can’t see the image behind it. And, if you do have a lot of text on the screen, please leave it up there long enough for slower readers to read it all.

6. Sound effects and music. There are a lot of great places to find royalty free sound effects and music. is a perfect place to find those things at a reasonable rate. Be sure you read the license agreement and follow that. I have heard popular music used in book video. There’s even a company out there that used some popular music on a book video they created for an author, so please be careful. I have done cost analysis for popular music and can say with some authority that most people won’t pay that much to include popular music. It would, most likely, cost more than what you pay to have the entire video made.
You do want to spend a little extra time working on the audio for your book video. The music should reflect the kind of video it is. Here is a great example of the proper use of music for a book video-

7. You’ve assembled your text, visuals, sound effects (if you want them) and music. Now you need to put them on the timeline and create your masterpiece! Be careful to have your font size large enough to read. And the font doesn’t have to be fancy. It has to be readable.

8. Transitions. Transitions are where you fade from one picture to the next. People get pretty creative with transitions. Please don’t. It’s a sure sign of an amateur. If you want to do something other than a simple fade in- fade out please keep it simple and don’t do it too often. The same goes with making your words do special little tricks. Your words don’t need to dance, unless dancing words is part how you get your story across. If your story is about dancing, then maybe I could see it. If you just have to make the words do something exciting please keep it simple and don’t do it too often.

9. Appropriateness. If you’re going to play your video in any public arena please give some thought to the pictures you choose to put in your video. And give some thought as to the content of your text as well. I’m all for Freedom of Speech. I am also all for having some class. If you want me to NEVER pick up your book or recommend it then by all means, play your nearly-X-rated video in front of my 6 year old daughter. Give some thought as to where you want to play your video.

10. Formatting. If you’re looking for quality then I would format to mov (Quicktime). But those files are larger and take longer to upload. If you’re looking for quick and easy then format to wmv (Windows Media). The wmv files are find, but blown up big on the computer screen it starts to look pixilated. If you’re going straight to flash that’s great, but some sites can’t upload flash.

11. Distribution. Send it everywhere. Why not? You’ve got nothing to lose but a little of your time. Think about what your initial goal was for the video. Where do you need to distribute this video in order to attain your goal?

There are a variety of topics discussed in the ebook and we encourage you to sign up for the COS Newsletter to get the ebook soonest.

1 comment:

Leatherdykeuk said...

Good post.

I hope to learn a bit more from this blog. Thanks.