Monday, November 22, 2010

Reviewing ReelSEO’s Google TV Prep Blog

Is it premature to start making recommendations on how to prepare for Google TV when the API isn’t even available yet? Perhaps, but we all know that those who are most prepared are often the first ones to get picked up and those who are the first often get the most out of any new offering like this.

Reading ReelSEO’s blog entitled – Optimizing Tips for Google TV – Is Your Content Ready for Google TV? Written by Christopher Rick  I wonder if all the prep work in the world will really help someone with a small business like mine. The blog is very thorough without a doubt. And it is the best article I’ve seen written that condenses a lot of information in one place. But, I don’t know how helpful it will be to small businesses to compare themselves to Blip.TV or other video sites that are already “in the know” as to how things will work with Google TV. It’s nice to see what they are doing, but without their resources how will small businesses benefit?

The article really isn’t created to tell you what to do. Only Google can really do that. But, it is intelligent, organized and as complete as it can be without actually handing you the API and telling you “do this, but not that” which isn’t what ReelSEO says it can do.

It is a great article and anyone even remotely interested in preparing for Google TV now should check it out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reviewing ReelSEOs Twit Happens Series

I’m a fan of ReelSEO and have been for a long time. Anyone doing anything with video should know about this site and its content.

When I saw the site is doing a series called “Twit Happens” I had to chuckle. The name is clever and I knew right away it was about Twitter.

It’s easier not to use Twitter as a venue for video in a more substantial way, but what are the legal risks to that? That’s just one of the things this series looks at in regard to Twitter.

I thought I knew a lot about Twitter, but this series points out things I haven’t thought about, or haven’t thought about in this way. The blog about legal issues with Twitter and video has a great video interview that I highly recommend to anyone using Twitter to post video to.

What are the consequences of ignoring copyright? What could happen to your brand? Can defamation come back on you as a lawsuit when tweet about someone in a negative way? Great advice and information in this series!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Study in Book Video: Crazy Love

We worked on a non-fiction book video for St. Martin’s Press called Crazy Love. It’s a first person, true account of domestic violence. The story is so moving, so incredible, I couldn’t put it down once I started to read it. That was early 2009.

So why, in late 2010 did we see a sudden and significant spike in views to this video?

Like many things in life, timing is everything. Opportunities don’t stop just because the book video has been out for over a year. That’s the great thing about the internet; you can keep things up there forever, working hard to sell your book.

This, though, was very special and meaningful. A site called TakePart did an article on domestic violence and while looking for appropriate multimedia for the piece they found the video for Crazy Love. The article did extremely well as did the video.

This is a tough issue and one that is very personal for many people. It was great that the video was getting a lot of traffic, but it was equally, if not more, important that it was being used in such a significant way – to help others.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Study in Book Video: Loser Queen

This book video is absolutely one of the most unique. Not because it has some kind of special effects or motion graphics, but because the book wasn’t written before the video was created. And having something that unique has resulted in a wide use of the video on sites to debate the entire project of the book.

Loser/Queen is an experiment in fan interaction. The fans are helping to determine the outcome of the story and what happens to the main character. Very interesting way to write a book as a community. And that has caused a lot of interest in the blogosphere!

It’s something about that visual enhancement that adds a little something more to a blog interaction and we’re thrilled to see so many bloggers utilize the video!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Website Redesign – How Important is it?

This blog isn’t about stats or best practices. It’s my own personal journey into the realm of website redesign which I’m currently suffering through.

I am not a web designer. I hire web designers and I actively participate as much as I am able (hopefully without frustrating our very nice web team).

We are redesigning two sites and both are set to go live Jan. 1, 2011. First is the COS Productions website. I have to say that I am so excited about this redesign. Sometimes you come up with a natural evolution concept for your site that you know is perfect and this one is exactly that for me. We have spent so much time working on “How do people want to interact with us? And “What do people seem to want the most and how do they want it?” The entire site is shifting from “presentation”, meaning we give you our information in an organized fashion and you look through it until you find what you’re looking for, to this paradigm shift of “serving”.  We want to have a website that feels good to the person visiting it. It lets them know we care about them and what their needs are.

Of course that means a lot of work. Most of it in content, some of it in multimedia.
We have hired someone who is a communications expert. She understands what we’re wanting to do with the changes and she will help us communicate that clearly with our visitors. Very excited about that too.

The other site we are working on is HUGE. We will be creating a new Reader’s Entertainment site that will be functional with mobile, online and television. That is a huge undertaking. We have to follow all the specs for Google TV network and mobile. That means we have to have three sites that function just a little differently according to how you land on the page.

We will also have new content that’s exciting and a lot more interaction on the site than ever before.

It feels overwhelming. I hate being technologically challenged when it comes to learning what I can or can’t do and why, but I love learning, so that evens out I guess.

There’s so much to consider now that online and portable and television are all accessible to our content. Or that our content is accessible to all of those different venues. But, we’re about to see a huge explosion of opportunities and I can’t wait!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A Study in Book Video: Zombies Vs. Unicorns

The great thing about analytics is that you can tell when there’s something going on with your video and the figure out what “that” is.

We saw a spike in views from embeds on Vimeo and so we went to see what was going on. We did a video called Zombies Vs. Unicorns this year and it’s very cute.

With all the “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” stuff going on in the YA sphere, it wasn’t overly surprising to see libraries and YA blogs utilizing the video to promote interaction and community.

Here is a site that we got a good number of views from the embed. Friendswood Library used the video and did a poll to find out if people were “Team Zombie” or “Team Unicorn”. Other sites did similar events and those who participated had a good time choosing their team!

We also found that the bookmarking site, Tumblr had the video on several profiles. It was passed around a lot there. So, I guess if you have something zombie-themed you know where to go! Lol

This one was a HUGE hit with all kinds of blogs, social sites, booksellers and libraries.

We even found sites that sell zombie paraphernalia had taken the video and promoted the book for sale!!

This video went viral throughout the blogosphere and you just have to appreciate the blogs it ended up on!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Vimeo Festival in Review

It was fun, I learned a lot and now I am taking what I learned and making Vimeo a great place for people to find and utilize our video!

I have blogged about the event back when I was still in NY. But, now time has passed and I can give a review of how that information I learned while there has paid off.

First of all, I leaned a great deal. The festival was packed with a variety of sessions. Very classy and well organized as an event. I will certainly attend the next one.

I made some great contacts there and sometimes that’s the best pay off. I met a group of young filmmakers out of southern California doing some really interesting things and have offered them a production partner agreement. I met someone from Vimeo’s executive branch and got an opportunity to talk to him about our videos and was able to get our entire profile added to the “accepted professionals” list so that we won’t have to go through review or moderation and our videos won’t be flagged or removed due to copyright which is always a challenge since we work with a lot of famous companies and people.

I learned a great deal about TransMedia. So much so that I have written a contract that we will be utilizing with celebrities, agents and even stock companies such as Getty Images that outlines the way we use TransMedia, Cross Media and Incidental Media with book trailers. What I learned there was directly instrumental in my ability to create this document that my company now benefits from in a huge way.

I attended a session that talked about how to get the most out of Vimeo. It was a sort of Tips & Tricks session that I learned so much from! Now I can fully take advantage of the Vimeo analytics which rocks! Amazing analytics! And, I am doing more on Vimeo to interact with others and stimulate a more quality profile and experience there.

It’s always hard to say when attending an event like this is going to pay off. ROI for events are tricky. But, I have to say that I walked away meeting some great people, seeing some great video talent and learning a great deal!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Comic Con NY 2010, coming to a close.

Comic Con NY 2010 Winds Down and COS Productions Walks Away Thrilled with the Con!
Over 10,000 people walked through NY Comic Con on Saturday and today is "Kids Day" where children 12 and under get in free. So, it's packed and things are still in full swing.
Major stops for COS today included the Del Rey booth where we were invited to stop by, the booth, DC Comics booth and a quick stop to see Michael Uslan who we met a couple of weeks ago in Cincinnati.
The amount of video played at this Comic Con has been staggering. It's obviously a pull to audiences who seem attraced to video like it's a tractor beam.  Many booths have video playing and it was great to see some our clients benefit from that opportunity.
Ed English, host of Behind the Mask 
CEO Sheila English spoke at length to actor Christopher Judge of Stargate SG1 fame regarding some voice over work and the two will be talking after the con to nail down details. "Chris has an amazing voice!" says English. "We've seen an increase in trailers with voice over and having such a comanding voice in tandem to great acting will enhance those videos."
Of course there's always the fun aspect of the event such as celebrity sightings and meetings, hearing about new shows and movies and getting free books.  The entire event was a blast and COS has been able to make some fantastic connections as well as promote the new Behind the Mask radio show.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

CoS at NY Comic Con!

Free books, celebrities, great costumes and games merge 
in this years NY Comic Con and COS is there!
COS Productions is expanding into motion graphics and met with several publishers during Comic Con this year. Highlighting the new Behind The Mask radio show Sheila Clover English, COS CEO spent the day walking around NY Comic Con and meeting increible people.
"I saw Adrien Brody and Eric Bana and my friend Barbara Vey of  Publisher's Weekly got to interview Stan Lee!" says English. "It's been very exciting!" In addition to spending time with Barbara Vey, Sheila ran into author Dianna Love at the Sherrilyn Kenyon booth where she received some amazing gifts given out to the press. 
COS Productions recently released a book video for Anne Elizabeth's graphic novel, Pulse of Power which is one of many motion graphic book videos COS has created and will be creating in the future.
The future of comic motion graphics has incredible potential and COS continues to create relationships with publishers and distribuors of comics and graphic novels.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Circle of Seven Productions Takes to the Big Apple for the Vimeo Festival

This weekend Vimeo, a top video community, opens up their first annual festival and awards show and COS is there to learn, share and have fun!

COS Productions CEO Sheila Clover English attended the festival which opened with a comedy skit about the state of the internet. The community of filmmakers and social media experts laughed, bonded and made new friends right away.

The first session was called Digi Boot Camp put on by a company called "Shooting People". They discussed everything from transmedia to social marketing with video, new platforms and venues.

Next up was a Tip & Tricks for Vimeo session where Sheila found some great tips on how to get more views and more quality views to the COS profile on Vimeo. She spoke with Vimeo execs about a potential contract with Vimeo and further discussions are slated for next week.

The final two sessions were informative, cutting edge and facinating. Digital Rights was discussed by the Vimeo attorney, the creator of "Creative Commons" and a cutting edge remix artist. The long and short of the discussion was that courts continue to try to control the re-utilization of material, but that the laws are so strict they have become un-enforceable.

The final session was on TransMedia which is, in the opinion of Ms. English, is the wave of the future for all entertainment industries, including books. Delivering an entertainment experience across platforms encourages participation and a more involved experince with audiences.

For those following on Twitter you can find out more by searching for #vimeofest.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Social Media in Review-

This site is hit or miss, but we distribute to it especially if we have something that is humorous in nature. Viral videos do well here and the community is pretty active. There’s not a lot of marketing/commercial material that I’ve found overrunning the site like some we have distributed to in the past.

They don’t post who their target audience of viewers is or any other analytics, but my best guess would be that this site has a very similar audience to; primarily male 18-34. 

Given that, we get a lot of views on this site. The normal book video will get approximately 2000-3500 views per video. So it is a good site to use if you’re uploading book trailers.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Social Media Site in Review – Miro

Miro was created through open source and a group of volunteers and it has remained stable for a few years now. 

People can download the Miro player to their desktop computer and watch their programs like a TV if they like, or they can go to the site. You can create your own channel/profile, which is what we did and that is then offered up to the community and aggregated through Miro. We don’t get a lot of views through Miro, but we get steady views. 

We RSS to Miro from, which isn’t that difficult to do. That way we get the videos on Blip and Miro at the same time, which saves time. 

Tech support is not always reliable, but there’s a good-hearted group of people in the community that are willing to help each other.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Social Media in Review-

We have a contract with Spike which is very important to us. Spike, at one point, took our profile down as being too commercial in nature. But, we wrote a letter and sent it snail mail to their corporate office giving them reasons why we thought we should be allowed on Spike TV. I really thought I’d never hear back from them. We’d done this with other sites and had not been successful. But, one day my phone rang and it was someone from Spike TV corporate. They had reviewed our letter and were in agreement that we belonged there! Imagine my surprise!

They gave us special producer rights so that our videos would always be accepted there and we didn’t have to worry about the profile or any of our videos being rejected or deleted.

Spike TV has a great audience and the site is very well managed. The site is incredibly professional, entertaining and engaging. It brings in a lot of people who want entertainment and that means more eyes on our videos. Spike is, of course, tied to Spike TV so there’s that cross over audience for broadcast as well. Since this is the direction COS wants to go having the internet/broadcast tie-in is very appealing to us. 

We get a decent number of views. Spike has a lot of different types of shows it offers online so we get a good variety of viewer types. I do find that if a book video has anything in it that is tied to a movie, television show, celebrity or current affairs it tends to do better.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Social Media in Review –

Zoopy ( is relatively new for us, but we’ve been very happy with the results. Like many sites that came before it, Zoopy wasn’t sure what to do with us. They deleted our profile, then we contacted them, and they put the profile back up. And we all lived happily ever after. Okay, that’s not really the end of the story. 

Zoopy allows for 200mb upload limit which is double what most sites will allow. So our longer form videos and original shows are perfect for this site. We do send all of our videos to Zoopy and are considered “content providers” and professional producers. 

I love the stability Zoopy seems to have. They have a sizable staff, have grown over the years, offer mobile and TV options for videos and the site is well done. This is definitely one to watch in the coming years as it seems to constantly evolve itself to stay current with audience needs and wants.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Social Media in Review- Veoh

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Veoh

In the beginning I loved it. We even used Veoh players in our Reader’s Entertainment TV site ( We could assign players, move the videos around at will within a player, it was amazing! I got to know the staff at Veoh and they were amazing too.

Then, things began to change. They got a lot of investment money and started re-working the site. I didn’t mind the additional advertising at all. They have to make a living and stay viable. But, some of the unique features, like the individual player channels changed into “groups” and we were not able to use the function as we did before. Okay, sometimes someone else’s progress doesn’t necessarily work best for you, but the problem I had with it was that they gave absolutely no warning about this change. Those of us using their service just woke up one day to find we had to change over to Blip or YouTube players. 

Sometime last year the site stopped working all together. There were press articles about how Veoh had not used their investment money wisely and though I don’t know if that’s true I do know that the site no longer worked. So, for a while we just gave up on it.

Then, more recently, I noticed it was working again and that the site had been updated. I didn’t get any emails about it from Veoh, though I’ve had my videos with them since the started. 

I like the new look and I’m hoping Veoh will survive. I don’t trust Veoh enough to use their players on our site again, at least not for a while. But, I noticed we have an ever-increasing number of video views coming from Veoh and that is a very nice surprise indeed!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Utilizing DIY and How-To Sites Like 5min and Howcast

There are a lot of Do-It-Yourself and How-To sites available online. If you are looking to distribute your book video to those sites you need to know the criteria for them. 

Not all book video will be accepted by those sites even if the video is non-fiction, author interview or a DIY book. The secret to getting your video accepted is to offer something of value, something that will teach the viewer how to do something from beginning to end. It can’t be suggestions, opinions or even a video on what your DIY book is about. It needs to be a full DIY session that gives the viewer a lesson.
If you have a book that you think would be perfect for this type of site, ask yourself what your book is teaching someone. If you can break it down into several things, choose one representative lesson and give it away in order to sell the idea of the book. Give a beginning and end to the lesson in which someone actually learns how to do something. 

Book videos can easily present as a commercial if the selling points of the book are greater than the entertainment value of the video. Give away a lesson. That’s the price of getting onto one of these sites.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Seduction Wears Sapphires

In the second book of The Jaded Gentlemen Series, author Renee Bernard takes readers into the life and heart of Ashe Blackwell. His life, his soul was left scarred by his captivity in the dungeons of India. His attempts to deaden the memories have lead to a life of every conceivable vice.

His grandfather, the family patriarch, has no idea of his past trauma. He is only aware of the hedonistic life his grandson leads. All he wants is for his grandson to become a mature gentleman and accept responsibility. He offers Ashe a wager, actually an ultimatum, to be a gentleman for one London season or see his inheritance disappear. Ashe has enough of his own wealth that the inheritance isn’t enough to make him accept the wager. When his grandfather informs him who will gain that inheritance if he doesn’t accept, Ashe takes on the wager without a second thought.

After smugly accepting, he then learns he will be chaperoned. Already outraged by this, he is then introduced to his chaperone, a seemingly quiet, rather plain American woman, Caroline Townsend. Not as quiet or plain as she first appears, Caroline is smart, worldly savvy, and has a few painful secrets in her own past.

Undaunted by her obnoxious first encounter with Ashe, she is determined to uphold her contract with his grandfather. Being subjected to English aristocracy, the protocol of a London season and nuisances of English society, Caroline finds she must tread very carefully. She also has no choice but to succeed, as failure would end any hope for her future.

The verbal bantering between the characters is indeed a highlight of this book. Caroline is a delight, particularly when being escorted into the inner sanctum of English society. Ashe is her equal and the two begin their attraction for each other while verbally “sword fighting”.

Using an American character freshly imported from the colonies sets a perfect stage for conversations and arguments not usually found in Victorian era romances.

The characters are fun, witty, and give no quarter. Seduction Wears Sapphires offers the reader good writing, rich historical detail, and a charming love story.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Social Media in Review- Vimeo

Vimeo (, how do I love thee? LOL I do love this wonderful video upload site! It has everything. Great quality video, a way to socialize within the network and a way to promote your videos outside the network. 

I have never had any problems with Vimeo. I will say that I pay for their “Vimeo Plus” membership so I can upload an unlimited number of videos and for a lot of other little “perks”. When Vimeo decided to do an awards program you had to pay $25 to submit, unless you had the membership and then it was only $5! Yep, f-i-v-e!  Also, I’m able to upload via TubeMogul by using my Plus membership. Saves me a lot of time.

Vimeo has widgets you can use, good tech support and a customizable profile option. 
How do book videos do on Vimeo? It’s not the best place for book videos. Perhaps if we were to do some advertising within the site it might build our audience and that’s something we are looking at for 2011. 
We do get views and comments though. And we get a lot of visits to our actual profile page, so we’re getting a higher number of impressions per video. 

This is a site I will continue to pay membership for. I feel the $60 a year I pay is money well spent.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Social or Advertising? How are you using your video?

There are two ways to get video promotion for your book.

  1. You can create a book video that is meant to be entertaining and place it on user-generated video upload sites such as YouTube or MySpace. From there you hope others will see it and then share it with friends, thus making it viral.
  2. You can create a book video ad and pay for placement.

Your video is going to look different, perform differently and be viewed differently according to where you place the video.

Viral videos, those that are made and uploaded for free to social media sites have to have an element of entertainment to them. Social media sites are meant to be “social”, they are not meant to be advertisement platforms. The argument can be, and has been, made that all book video are ads. Keep in mind that all music videos are ads as well. Yet, it is easy to forget that and look at music videos as entertainment or art form. Book videos should have an element of entertainment to them if you want them to go viral.

How do you make an ad entertaining? First of all you want it to NOT look like a commercial. If you make it 15 or 30 seconds long it is going to look like and acts like a commercial. People on social media sites are becoming more and more savvy. They will look at that and know that you just can’t afford proper placement of your commercial so you’re trying to fool them into thinking it’s entertainment, or that you don’t care that you just tricked them into watching a commercial.
Like a music video, you need to have a story. People want to know what the story is. You can’t make general statements or claims such as, “This is the greatest story ever told” or “An epic love story unfolds within a mystery” and think that’s going to impress people. You can say those things in your video, but you had best follow it up with telling people what the story is actually about. Include exciting and/or appropriate elements such as music, narration or text, enticing visuals, etc. Make it worth the viewer’s time to watch it.

Viral videos = entertainment = appropriate to place on social media sites

Book video ads are meant to be more informative and factual. People know it is an ad. People know that ads try to sell you something. People are used to seeing ads. Your ad still should be exciting or enticing, but it is going to be brief. The briefer, the better. Most ads are 15 or 30 seconds long.

Book video ads are placed in areas where people know they are ads. You can pay for placement on sites like GoogleTV ads, YouTube, Viddler or anywhere that allows video ads. They can also play on television or out-of-home advertising. Book video ads should get to the point right away.

A book video ad should concentrate efforts toward a single message. The message can focus on who the author is, which is an advantage if the author is already well known. The message can focus on the storyline if the author is not well known, but the story has a good hook, or current, relative message.

Whether you decide to try a viral video or a book ad it is important to know the difference. It is important to realize that you can’t mix those medias and expect a successful campaign. You need to know what your goal is when you have a video created. Let that goal guide you in whether or not you’re going to go with a viral video or an ad.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Social Media in Review -

Break ( is a great site for comedy, sexy stuff, and anything you think guys would love. That’s right, Break is more of a guy site. According to’s own website they reach more men ages 18 to 34 than any other online video site.

So, not all book videos do well there, and of course there are women who go to the site, so we send all videos there. But, we do see an obvious increase in certain videos that tells us Break’s claim on the male market appears to be true.

We’ve had some problems with Break in the past. They’ve rejected some videos as too commercial and threatened to close our profile. But, we emailed them to plead our case that book trailers are video entertainment in their own right. Since then we’ve not had any problems uploading to Break, which we do via TubeMogul.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Going Beyond Making Book Video

It’s hard to sell something creative when most creative is subjective. We did an online survey of our videos. We chose one video from each of our editors and created a survey at If you ever want to do a survey of your readers or clients this is a very valuable service. We use surveys as one part of our quality improvement and assessment commitment.

It was interesting to see that so many people participated and there was such variety in their opinions. Something we discovered that was interesting was that many of our participants, which were made up of readers and booksellers, were most influenced by the genre of the video. Overall, each of the videos did well, but there were opinions that conflicted over music and visual elements. The video that had the worst marks was also the video that 80% of the participants voted the as the best video. It was almost as though they were harder on the video they thought was the best.

It made me wonder how this could happen. It all came down to the preference of the viewer. Not just the quality of the video, but genre of the video was most important overall. So, one can conclude that, if someone doesn’t like a video, it may have nothing at all to do with how the video looks or what the message is.

In 2003 when Borders Group put the first book trailer, Dark Symphony, up on their site, no one really knew how book trailers would eventually turn into a market of their own. Now that they seem almost commonplace; people see them less as a cool novelty and more as an expected entertainment or advertisement. With the newness wearing off people are becoming more critical and demanding of quality and clarity. Slideshows slapped together with text taking up the entire screen is not going to be acceptable anymore. More and more people are turning to professionally made content. Not only are authors and publishers turning to professionally made content, but so are distributors of online content.
The book trailer market has been established. With growing online demand for entertainment and news the book video market has solidified its place in most marketing campaigns. There was a shift in 2008 from just having a book video to maximizing the effectiveness of book video. Distribution and analytics are the name of the game now. If you aren’t a major player in those categories you aren’t looking toward the future of the market.

Distribution doesn’t just mean uploading to YouTube, MySpace and the like. That’s now expected. Back in early 2006 we were impressing people with our 10 distribution sites that went with each product. In 2010 we have well over 400 distribution sites and have branched out into genre-specific placement of video. You must realize that if everyone is uploading to the top 10 or 20 video share sites, then your video is now in competition with thousands of others. It’s not just competing with other book video, but with other online video entertainment. Either you need to grow your own YouTube-type sites somehow, or you need to start partnering with specialty sites that will take your video as content. You need to investigate online content provider companies that will send your content out to entertainment sites like SciFi Channel or Oxygen Network.

Analytics are key as well. What are analytics? Analytics is an analysis of how something did, in this case, online. Information like, who is watching the video, where they are from, how long did they watch the video, did they share it? Demographic and geographic information can be important for many reasons.

  • Knowing if your book is read more by men or women can help you determine how to develop the look of your website
  • Knowing that your video is very popular in a particular state or city can help you determine where to do a book signing or what booksellers you need to become more friendly with
  • Knowing what state or city your video is popular in can help determine where you should do media buys

There are more reasons why this information is important and a variety of ways to utilize the information for future campaigns.

Targeting your audience, localizing your target and being able to pinpoint your best chances for sales in a given area is going to make your marketing budget dollar work harder for you. After all, a book video isn’t designed to get hits on YouTube, it is designed to sell books. When you can do both, then you have an effective marketing tool worth investing in.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Setting Goals and Measurements for Video

What does it mean to “go viral”?

It means that your video is being passed around beyond where you initially put it. It means that someone other than you, or the person who uploaded it for you, has picked it up and done something with it.

What are they doing with my video?!!

Primarily they are linking to it or embedding it into their own site or blog. Many blogs are creating material around book video and are enticing readers to their site with the video and then offering other things once you get there. Some are reader’s blogs, fan blogs and industry blogs. But there are people who are downloading it to their computer or their iPod/iPad so they can watch it again and again. Some are commenting on your video or rating it. Whether it is being passed around through email or via mobile phone once it is sent out by someone else it has gone viral.

How Do I Measure The Success Of My Video?

To answer the question I must ask one: What was the goal of the video? If you don’t know then you’ll never know how successful it was.

If your goal was to get as many views as possible you can just count views. You can use tags that are sexy, inflammatory, disturbing or popular. Create a description designed to bring people to the video.

If your goal is to generate sales how will you measure your videos ability to do that? Do you have a “buy” button next to the video on your site? Are you an associate of a bookseller that allows you to monitor the sales from those buy buttons? Are you at least getting the video to high reader-trafficked sites? You need to identify how you will measure this. Can you compare your sales from this book to the sales of your last book? That’s a tough one because the marketing department may be doing something new as well and then you’re not sure what upped those sales. Identify how you will measure this if this is the reason you’re using a book video.

If your goal is to create awareness of your book and/or name (brand) how will you measure the effectiveness of the video to help do that. This is a little easier to do. The number of views, comments, ranking and sharing of the video tell you that someone paid attention to the video. Engaging with the video is actually more important than simple views. No matter what, if someone watched your video they DID something in order to see it. It isn’t like television where you are able to interrupt something to show your advertisement. Someone WANTED to see your book video. But, when they go far enough to DO something to it for with it they are engaged and more likely to remember your name or the name of the book.
If your goal is show established readers that you have a new series this is a wonderful vehicle to do that with. It is easy to let them SEE what the new series is about. It is important, then, to not only be on social networks where you hope to find new readers, but to get on book-specific sites such as bookseller sites, book review sites and reader sites. Don’t waste your time putting your video on author sites. Yes, authors read. But, usually authors on author sites are interested in their own work. You need to get your video on reader sites. You can determine the success of your video by the number of reader-sites that take it and display it for you.

If your goal is to establish that you’re writing an entirely NEW genre then it is important to get on social sites in which that genre is popular and to get on reader sites to let people know about the change. If you are writing under a pen name then treat this video as though you are a new author. Get your name out to as many sites as possible, both social media sites and reader-specific sites. Blogs that allow video embedding are a great way to push that new genre as well. I see a lot of author missing this opportunity. Embed the video and talk a little bit about it. To determine if your video has been successful according to your established goals, take a look at the number of sites you got it onto. Review the number of hits and be sure to give extra credit points for reader-sites and bookseller sites.

The bottom line is to have a goal, make a plan and follow up to see the plan helped to achieve the goal.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Book Video and Copyright Infringement

Book videos are being pulled and artists are yelling “copyright infringement” and rightly so. Whether you’re making a book video yourself or you’ve hired someone to make it for you if you use a picture, footage or music incorrectly or without permission you can be setting yourself and your publishing house up for a law suit.

As technology presents an easy way to do your own editing it seems easier to spend your time than your money by creating a video yourself. More and more small business video producers or “book marketers” are adding book video production to their list of services because it’s easy and it’s lucrative.

There’s nothing wrong with creating your own video. You just need to know how to make it, where to put it and a little something about the law. If you can do something yourself and save money it seems like the wise thing to do. But, like any industry there are reasons why professionals make good money at what they do. They know things you don’t. Take the time to learn those things, or be willing to suffer the consequences.

The first time I ever heard of a lawsuit regarding a book video was with VidLit’s "Yiddish With Dick and Jane". The publisher was accused of violating copyright for the old Fun With Dick and Jane series we all got to read as kids. The video received hundreds of thousands of views and was also named in the lawsuit. The producer wasn’t the one who originally caused the copyright problem, but the use of the material brought them into the fray.

I’ve seen authors use popular music in their book videos, or pictures of celebrities.

Not all licenses are created equal. So be sure you read the fine print when you take something that says “royalty free” for your book video. Sometimes there are caveats to being able to use a photo, footage or music.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lori Foster Event- Handout on Social Media by Sheila Clover English of COS

In this discussion we will review where to be and what to do to market yourself.

Where To Be
There are literally hundreds of sites you can be on.

Choose the best 3 to spend the majority of your online social time with

Identify your audience

Where are THEY going online?

Go there.
Make your top 3 someplace you LOVE to be, since you’ll be there a lot.

My “best 3” are- Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with MySpace as a close tie with LinkedIn. Book specific site of choice is GoodReads, but I don’t go there consistently, so it’s not in my top 3.

Once you choose your top 3, give it 6 months and if you don’t see a return on your investment (time) try an alternate site.

What To Do
Be present there. Let people get to know you. People invest their time and attention in you and they feel more connected to you and to what you do.

Time management. Budget your time. Don’t let your social networking interfere with your book writing time. Or your family time.

Follow the four basic rules of social engagement:

Be on topic- Don’t interject your book marketing into a conversation NOT related to that. If you do that is called SPAM!!!!

Be consistent- Be present. Be present on a routine basis. NOT just when you have a book coming out.

Keep it real- Talk about things that you really have a passion for. Be honest in all that you do.

80/20 Rule- 80 percent of the time you are talking about things NOT related to marketing your book. Be sure to interact with others during this time too. Relationships require more than one person, so interact and care about others! 20 percent of the time you can find creative or direct ways to talk about your book. Don’t just make it an ad pitch, talk about the writing of the book, the research of the book, the storyline, the characters. 20% is actually a LOT. I would not hard sell a book in a social environment unless you have cultivated a community receptive to that.

Social Network Opportunities- Ads, games, groups, book clubs, blogging, networking, speaking engagements…

Monday, July 19, 2010

Yahoo- COS Social Media in Review

Yahoo is not just a search engine, it has a great deal of other opportunities with groups, Flickr, Yahoo video-It’s On, and Yahoo Buzz. Though the average number of views isn’t as high as our YouTube channel, it is a strong search engine and we do get hits for every video.

Yahoo allows for easy bookmarking which we take full advantage of. We’ve been using Yahoo video since it began. We upload to Yahoo via TubeMogul, but we check on our Yahoo profile to see how the view numbers and engagement are and to keep the profile fresh and updated.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Importance of Newsletters

For the second year in a row COS Productions has won an Outstanding Achievement Award in Email Marketing. Primarily, we are consistent with our mailings, we have a consistent message, content our subscribers enjoy and we  play by the rules of etiquette.

We always offer an easy opt-out option to our newsletters and we never add people without permission. We actually have two newsletters, which most people don’t realize. We have our normal newsletter that has book reviews, book trailers, interviews, industry news and other fun stuff and then we have a private email newsletter that only goes out to our established clients and that tells them what we’re doing that is new and may affect them. These people get a lot of free stuff or discounts from us and we share with them any new trend news.

Newsletters need to offer something of value, not just be a sales tool. That is part of the reason our newsletter stands out. If we have readers subscribe to our main newsletter and they are happy to hear about authors, books and related news they will share that with their friends and respond to that news. So our main newsletter is really for readers first. Then we have something for authors or aspiring authors second. You seldom see anything sales-like in that newsletter. But, we do refer to our other programs and sites where we entertain readers on a larger scale. So, in that way we are promoting our other sites. But, we are not selling anything.

Why not sell? Well, it’s like living by example. You want people to WANT what you
have. You don’t want to have to convince them, trick them or otherwise maneuver them into buying something from you. If you are passionate about what you do and you believe in what you’re selling, people will see that. You want to encourage them to be as excited as you are. That’s fun!

Our Established Client Newsletter is designed to be primarily a resource. We talk
about what we’re doing, what we plan on doing, what we’re doing for free and what trends we are following and why. We talk about the success of our clients. And, we remind people of our other sites and the opportunities there. At some point we will offer special deals or discounts, but the primary function of the newsletter is to be a resource.

Newsletters need to have news in them. They need to have articles. They need to have value to them. If they are just another sales pitch, the will get pitched to the round file that is SPAM. But, offer some tips & tricks, some valuable articles and education/opinion on relevant topics and your newsletter will flourish!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Viddler- COS Social Media in Review Series

We started using Viddler in 2008 and I like the site a lot despite the fact that we only get a couple hundred views per video as a rule.

There are a lot of social opportunities with groups and friending, blogging as well as an API, RSS and the ability to send out to iTunes if you choose.

The site has been stable and I see it continuing to grow and offer new things on a regular basis. They seem to have a handle on how to monetize which is important for it to stay operational. They are in beta with HTML5 which makes me VERY happy since we get a LOT of views via mobile phones.
Surprisingly, the videos that have done best have been historical romance, chicklit and paranormal romance.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Social Media for the Thriller Genre

Before you start your social media adventure you need to know four things. These things need to be written down so you can examine them as you create your campaign or plan.

Know your audience-  
Identify a typical reader of your book and do a mock profile of them so you don’t lose sight of who you are trying to reach.

Remember that your audience, as it pertains to social media, doesn’t just want your book, they want an experience with you.

People are about their OWN stories!!!!

Know your goals- 
Have set goals. Goals for how you will budget your time online. Goals for what you want to get out of being on social sites. Goals for your book, series or career. But have them, know them and work toward them daily.

If you don’t have goals going in, you can easily get swept away by the time suck that often occurs with social media.

If you don’t know how much time to spend there I recommend buying an egg timer, setting it for 20 minutes and timing yourself. You might budget more than that, or less, but be consistent and don’t get sucked in.

Know yourself- 
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Match them up to the social sites to make sure you choose the right one for you.

If you are terrible about blogging, don’t blog. Twitter. Do something you feel you can be good at. And if you can, find something you actually enjoy doing.

Be passionate about things. People love to see others who are passionate about what they do. Be 
positive. Snark can come back on you in a bad way if you’re not careful.

Know your resources- 
Who is your go-to person for technology? Website stuff? Social media? Make friends. Exchange resources with people.

Know professionals who can help you, booksellers, librarians and communities. And that is where we’re going to segue into the actual topic of the session.

There are many blogs and sites that are specific for the thriller genre. Some of those are professional sites that charge a fee for services and some are free. Both have something to offer the thriller writer looking to promote their book.

Start with asking yourself what it is you want to promote? Is it your book, series or brand? What is your goal? Are you looking to cross promote to a sub-genre like romance or paranormal? 

Set your goals and match them to your opportunities. 

If you’re looking for sites that will get your book in front of thriller readers and other potential buyers such as booksellers or libraries you may need to look for a professional service. So we’ll look at those first and then move on to the free sites.

There are three businesses that I’m going to cover in this session. They are not the only game in town, but they are businesses I trust. Anytime you plan on hiring someone to do your marketing for you I strongly urge you to check their references and reputation.
Carol Fitzgerald owns the Book Reporter and this businesses has the respect of the industry. It has been around for years and the great thing about it is that it has genre-specific opportunities.
What I love about this site is it promotes itself to readers. It gives readers a reason to trust them and a reason to return. That means a lot of eyes on your promotion.

M.J. Rose. If you don’t know her, you need to at least know of her. She is an amazing promoter and has put together one of the best promotions for books and authors there is online. You can have your book seen by librarians, book clubs and readers. You can do blog ads. This is a site I recommend you check out.

Circle of Seven Productions
If you’re going to do multimedia and social media check out This is the company that started the book trailer phenomenon and whether you like book trailers or not, the videos are seen by hundreds of booksellers and thousands of librarians as well as on social media sites, reader sites and genre-specific sites.

They have social media marketing package that includes book review, both traditional and video, blogging, press release, podcasts and distribution of the video and podcast to a wide variety of appropriate sites. 

Barbara recommended Dan Blank of as someone who does reliable marketing that has experience. She has worked with him personally.

Again, there are other professional services out there. You may want to check the Predators and Editors website to see if they have been reported with either good or bad reviews.

Now, for some free sites-
  1. ITW Facebook
  2. ITW MySpace
  3. TracyReaderDad Blog - Blip player
  5. Reader’s Entertainment Thriller site
  6. ITW Twitter  (social oomph)
  7. Thriller/Mystery/Suspense Group -
  8. Whodunit Mystery/Suspense Group -
  9. Mysteries and Thrillers MySpace Group -
  10. Facebook ITW Debut authors site (NEW, first time authors only) -!/group.php?gid=31198744908&ref=search
  11. Facebook group- "We love reading thriller & science fiction" -!/group.php?gid=140489859244
  13. PW Beyond Her Book

Be a guest blogger! Talk about something useful or unique and don’t forget to promote your book and website!

  • Know your audience
  • Know your goals
  • Know yourself
  • Know your resources  

Friday, July 09, 2010

COS in NYC at ThrillerFest!

ThrillerFest is underway and COS is there! Thursday CEO Sheila English, who is also the ITW Social Media Chair, met with clients, talked to thriller writers, did interviews and attended some great sessions.

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline did a great session on the mechanics of writing, pitching your book and being positive as you work on your book. She suggested working on your novel at least 20 minutes a day every day, if not more. Sheila caught up with her for a quick chat and a few laughs.

Sheila and production partner Christopher Hopper met up at the Borders store on Park Ave. to do some interviews for Tor/Forge which was exciting since it was the first time the two had met in person after working togther for over 5 years.

It's a fun-filled week in NYC for COS and we'll keep you posted on the great things happening at ThrillerFest and beyond!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Revver- COS Social Media in Review

Revver has been around off and on for a few years. It used to be one of our most reliable sites, but over the last two years it became unstable. For a short time the site didn’t work at all, but recently it has started taking video uploads again.

Though it is listed on TubeMogul it has not been working correctly and any uploads we do have been directly to the site. It’s hit and miss whether or not the video actually uploads and displays.

We tried to reach out to the owners of the site and offer some assistance with some of their technical problems, but the phone number was discounted and we were never able to get anyone to return our email. They appear to have some kind of connection with the site – That site has been problematic before as well and we have had a lot of problems with them. I don’t know if they are owned by the same people or not, but it is suspicious.
We don’t get a lot of views there anymore. I attribute this to the poor running of the site and lack of social opportunities.

I would love to see this site succeed. Our videos have done well there in the past and I’d love to see it thrive like it did in the beginning.

Monday, June 28, 2010

MetaCafe- COS Social Media in Review

We joined MetaCafe in Feb. of 2006 when it was young. We have nearly 500 videos posted there with views ranging anywhere from 50 to 3000.

Those videos with interesting and catchy descriptions seem to get the most views.

We have subscribers to our MetaCafe channel which is important since those people will get a notification when we upload a video.

There seems to be a more mature audience for us here. We have several videos that have over 3000 with the majority of those being suspense/thriller genre.
This site isn’t as big as YouTube or MySpace, but it has proven to be reliable with a good number of viewers interested in book trailers.

They do play pre-roll commercials, which is fine, but a little annoying. You can’t blame them though, they do need to make money and the pre-rolls are brief. It hasn’t seemed to hamper our view numbers. MetaCafe has a panel that reviews the video and sometimes they will mark our video 13+ which is like PG13. That doesn’t seem to hurt the number either.

There are options for bookmarking but we seldom use them from that site. We upload via TubeMogul, but check the profile and video performance once a week from the Metacafe site.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Relationships at the Heart of Publishing Success: How to Forge Them and How to Benefit From Them

Marketing your book is a matter of first, making friends and second, proving your value. When you combine the two you have a powerful arsenal in which to promote yourself.

The relationships you forge can foster your writing career. From support through the writing process to the connections made within the publishing industry, it’s the daily interactions that make any venture a success.

It is easier than ever before to get in contact with other writers as well as industry insiders. You don’t have to move to New York, just log on to the internet or attend writers conferences. Even conferences close to home are ripe with possibilities to connect with people that share the same interests and goals as you. To connect online, try for instance Facebook and Twitter. These websites provide group chats that will put you in contact with others in your field. When attending writing events, the main thing is to be open and say hello to every person you meet. These types of environments have jump-started the careers of many writers. Every person you meet offers something different and valuable to the writing community as should you. To determine what you can best offer others you need to play on your strengths. Do you want to be the critique buddy or BETA reader? A guru of your craft who provides insight as well as information? Perhaps you are the maven of Google who loves to search the web for titillating articles on the craft and business of writing. If that is the case, then posting links to save others time can be your value. Ideally you should aspire to play the roles of all of the above suggestions, it shows you are well rounded. Your connections with others needn’t be pure business either. Feel free to be at ease and joke, encourage or chat about life, it will endear you to your future friends, only watch what you say, it will make or break your reputation. Be willing to share your own knowledge and help others and they will be more receptive to your requests.

How much time should be devoted to networking is really dependant on personal circumstance like hours worked at a day job, family matters and writing time. The time spent writing should always exceed the time you spend networking. The number of sites you sign up for should be limited to a maximum of two, trying to keep up with any more could become quite a hassle. Hosting a blog should be another of your priorities. The blog will be the paramount asset of your career. Here you will be able to keep everyone up to date on your writing as well as share your thoughts on the industry and whatever else catches your fancy that is relevant to the theme of your blog. Later you can share information on any public or online appearances you make as well as book releases.

You’ve made friends, proved you’re an asset to the writing community and now you have a book coming out. How do you utilize your connections to promote your book? Blog tours are increasingly more popular than book signings. There are a plethora of blogs so limit yourself to the ones which are most likely to connect you with potential readers and that correlate best with your book. Optimally the blogs you tour will be high traffic and the host will know how best to promote your appearance on her site. Ask that your hosts include a link to your website or blog, a picture of the book and a link to a store where they can purchase the book.

A giveaway is another good avenue to take in order to grow an audience. Consider giving away bookmarks or totes that include the title of your book, your name as well as your website. This is a fun marketing strategy that garners you cheap advertisement and is also something useful to the recipient. A signed copy of your book can be the grand prize. On twitter you can qualify anyone to win your goodies by retweeting (or reposting) the information on their own account so that their friends can see your contest and participate. You can do something similar to this on Facebook as well. On your blog you might stipulate that anyone who follows you and posts an article on their own site about your blog is qualified to win.

A book trailer is an entertaining peek into the world of your characters, designed to entice the reader to want to find out more, thus going out to purchase the book. Post a link to the video you create on your blog and networking sites and ask others if they would include the video on the sidebar of their blog or website as well.

The success of a book ultimately comes down to creating relationships, from those you work with professionally to the people who buy your books. Eighty percent of all books are sold via word-of-mouth, thus your platform goal should be to reach as many as you can and make it easy and entertaining for them to spread the word. A professional website or blog, running contests and making a book trailer are all ways to appeal to your audience and make it fun for them to share information about your book with their friends. Be present in the online community and maintain your friendships and industry connections by balancing both the give and the take aspect of your relationships. A structured online platform where you not only take, but give back should be the heart of any marketing strategy.

~Lindsey Edwards

Lindsey Edwards has written content for several web-based companies. She has published articles on the craft and business of writing through eHow, Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents as well as her blog, The Write Words. She is currently working on a historical/fantasy romance series that she hopes to place with a publisher soon. She lives in Missouri with her husband and son.