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.