Gone are the days where an author could isolate themselves in a log cabin and write bestsellers. Even if you go the traditional publishing route over self-publishing, publishing house these days still expect you to do some marketing. If you’ve self-published, you’re in charge of all the marketing.
You can still spend the majority of the time invested in your next project. However, a portion of every work day should go into marketing yourself and your books.
Video marketing is one of the most effective tools to promote your book these days. It gives potential readers a way to connect with the author before they connect with your characters. They’ll get to know you, which will naturally roll into wanting to support you by reading your books.
Let’s dive into five ideas that will help you reach a brand-new audience.
Sidenote: Each of these ideas will benefit from being coupled with a pay-per-click campaign to help get them in front of more eyes. Decide on a marketing budget for each video and promote them. Make sure to use relevant keyword so that the right people find your videos. Don’t be intimidated by this prospect – you can spend as much or as little in marketing as you like.
5. Do A Day in the Life Video
People are always interested in how people they admire live their life. Grab your smartphone and take ten minutes out of every hour to film yourself. Talk about what you’re doing, what you’re about to do, and any other thoughts you may have. If anything noteworthy happens throughout your day, film it.
You’ll end up with 80 minutes or so worth of footage, so then it comes time to edit. Avoid the trap of only including what you think are the exciting parts of your day. Instead, show the boring stuff! People will feel more connected to the elements of your video that they can relate to over an action-packed adventure.
Keep in mind that the goal of the video is to connect with your audience and give them an insider look into your life. Showcase the parts of your day that really highlight what you consider to be the essence of your life.
When editing, try to make the video about somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes long. You can go longer or shorter, but somewhere in this range is ideal.
4. Read Your Book Live
For literal centuries authors have gone on tour to read their book to a live audience. Now, you can do that from the comfort of your own home. Livestreaming or pre-recorded video will allow you to read your book to a curious audience, helping you gain new fans, nurture existing fans, and hopefully selling some books.
I’m a sucker for livestreaming, so you know I’m going to suggest going that route! While pre-recorded video is a fine option, livestreaming your book reading will add an improvisational element to the whole experience that will draw people in.
I’ve written an entire book about livestreaming, so I could really go on a rant right now, but instead I’ll just say this: be authentic, make connections and don’t stress mistakes. You’re there to read your book and provide a unique experience to your viewers, nothing more. Have a good time and connect with your fans!
One of the perks of doing this remotely is that you can even hire someone to read your book live for you, just like you might hire someone to read your audio book. Keep this in mind if you have any stage fright bubbling up.
How much of your book should you read? That’s up to you. The first few chapters are more than sufficient (depending on chapter length), or you can keep it to a few pages. I’d avoid reading the whole book – you want to entice people into buying it, not give the whole thing away for free!
3. Give Behind-The-Scenes Commentary
Every author I’ve talked to is excited about the backstory of their story. The story of how they came up with the book idea, how it was nurture, developed and brought into reality.
Share the story behind the story in a video that you spread far and wide.
Doing this will accomplish two things:
- You’ll reach new potential fans who may connect with your behind the scenes story
- You’ll deepen the bond with existing fans
Remember to also talk about the creative process that led to finishing the book. Many of your fans likely want to write a book themselves. Tell them how you did it! Did you write a reasonable amount every day? Did you binge write for two days per week? Did you lock yourself in a hotel room for three weeks and hammer it out? Let them know!
Another way to approach this idea is to talk about the backstory of the characters in your book. Give the viewer insider information that they wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
As for the length, you can make this video as long or as short as you’d like. The magic ingredient is that it’s engaging. If your video is captivating, there’s no time limit. However, you want to avoid the temptation to talk so much that it becomes boring.
2. Shoot an Author Interview Video
Celebrities from all walks of life go on talk shows to promote their latest project. It’s a time-honored way to get the word out about whatever you’re working on, while also letting people get to know you a bit more intimately.
You don’t need to wait until you’re invited to The Tonight Show to give an interview. Grab some basic recording equipment, such as an external mic, a flagship smartphone, some daylight and a tripod. You’ll also need a friend, who can even be off camera.
Write questions for your friend to ask you. Get creative with it. You can start with the basic questions about your background, but then you can dive into specific questions that tie into your book. Remember, the goal here is to promote your book – write questions that tie into it.
Aim to have this video be five minutes or less. Even interviews of A-list celebs are pretty short, which has taught viewers to expect shorter interviews. So, keep your short, snappy and engaging.
1. Invest in Creating a Book Trailer
Do you have a bit of a marketing budget and really want to make an impact? Consider producing a book trailer. It’s the same notion as a movie trailer – a look at what’s to come.
If you’re going to dive into this expensive yet effective method, there are three elements to consider:
- Enticing visuals. The visuals will draw people in and keep them watching. There are numerous sites out there that will sell you stock footage that is exciting and that you can legally use. Alternatively, you can venture outside with your DSLR camera and shoot some footage yourself. Whichever options you go for, make sure the visuals are captivating, atmospheric and a tad generic (you don’t want people to confuse this with a movie trailer).
- A soundtrack with power. Find and license music online that you can use in your trailer to help set the mood. The music is almost more important than the visuals when it comes to setting the entire vibe of the trailer. Choose the music carefully, and please pay for it! Ripping off music is a great way to get your video taken down.
- Tell the story. Think about what you wrote for the back of the book. That’s the same general idea you want to capture for the book trailer. Give people enough information to draw them in, but don’t ruin the story itself. You can do this with a professional voice over or with text. Or maybe with a combination of both. It’s all up to you.
Now you’re armed with a well-crafted book trailer. You should absolutely post it on all your social media profiles and your website (if you have one). Spread the trailer far and wide!
Be Authentic in Every Idea
The not-so-secret key to successfully executing each of the above ideas is to be truly authentic in everything that you do. People deeply connect with those they perceive as being authentic. The best way to be perceived as authentic is to, well, be authentic!
So, be yourself and start exploring each of the above ideas and watch your fans become more engaged, new fans emerge and your book sales grow.