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.