The Making of My Video Book Promo

I launched my first book promo video on YouTube! I plan to add it to as many video search sites as possible, such as Vimeo, Facebook video, Google+ video and other reputable sites found here: http://bit.ly/Tww486. Video book promos seem to be the flavor of the month in that they are rapidly gaining in popularity.  For me, I knew I needed videos to promote my novel ever since I saw them on a few published author’s websites. In watching a few video book promos, I have seen some that have actors, etc, but I thought that was too close to a movie trailer. For my purposes, I came up with a concept of having a close-up clip of a blacksmith annealing a sword on an anvil in between the quotes/comments I had received from a literary agency and the friends that had finished reading my novel.

In researching where to begin making a video, I tried using a new site (Animoto.com) which allows you to make professional looking videos using pre-crafted templates (much like WordPress does with websites). If you sign up for the free version like I did, you will quickly find out that you are very limited to how many different templates you can choose from and that the length of your video can be no longer than 30 seconds. I was fine with that because I wanted to use the song Lacrimosa in my video which was barely over 30 seconds. So, I was willing to work within the constraints of a free account until I tried making text appear on screen. Animoto.com only let me put 30 characters of text. That’s all. There was no way I could quote the comments/reviews I had received and that’s what made me abandon their service.

I switched over to Windows Movie Maker, which was pre-installed on my Windows XP laptop (yes, I still have XP). So, I no longer had any limitations/constraints with using this application. I searched across the internet for various blacksmithing videos and found a good one on Vimeo. Luckily, Vimeo has a download button built in. So, once I downloaded the video, I realized that it was an MP4 (Apple file) and Windows Movie Maker wouldn’t accept it. I had to download and install a free MP4 to WMV converter to change it to a compatible file. I chose the app called iVideo Converter because not only did it do the trick, but it can download YouTube movies too. Then I moved the new movie file into my Movie Maker project which has a button that allowed me to splice the movie. I used that button so that I could capture just the annealing of the sword. Then I made titles to display the comments and reviews I had received. The comments are real, and they came from a literary agency that read my entire manuscript as well as my friends that finished reading it as well. After both the spliced blacksmithing clips and the titles were overlaid over the music file, I spent a great deal of time aligning everything with the beats of the music.

Lastly, as I explained in my marketing strategy, I knew I had to finish the video with a message that would call my viewers to action. I originally wanted the last message to just display my website URL, but then I made the conscious decision to tell the viewers to read the sample chapter on my website.

When I uploaded this to YouTube, I found 2 things. First, somewhere during the upload process, the alignment of my video/text to the music got shifted. I may need to convert the movie to a different YouTube-preferred file type before uploading. Secondly, YouTube instantly recognized that I was using a copyrighted song, however instead of removing my video or penalizing my account, the copyright owner of Lacrimosa allows anyone to use that song, but they get to collect ad revenue from my video. So, without further adieu, please take a look at the finished product and tell me what you think:

Days later, I began making my second video promo for my short story, The Ravenous Flock. I used iVideo Converter to download all sorts of YouTube videos and began splicing out the scenes that I wanted. I wanted this promo to be have a very eerie vibe to it, so I decided to use the song “O Death.” This song has been remade numerous times, but I chose to use the version that aired on CW to promote an episode of Supernatural, one of my favorite TV shows. Again, using Windows Movie Maker, I dragged the song into the project, dragged the video clips on top of them, and began creating title screens to show the real quotes I have received from readers. The comments of this short story were from my readers that were critiquing it when I submitted it for review at Critter’s Writer’s Workshop, plus some other close friends.

After watching this video, I think you’ll agree that the song selection is what can make or break the video. As always, leave me your thoughts below.

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Hiring a Media Manager

Picture courtesy of big5concept.com

Sorry for the delay in posts, but I have been putting a lot of time into giving my website a face-lift as of late. It is because of that reason that I have sought the services of a media manager. A lot of authors will tell you that you should do everything you can to focus on writing and being creative (as opposed to spending time blogging, online marketing, social networking, etc). Being in the unpublished/independent phase of my writing career, there is of course, zero money available to actually hire a Media Manager. So how did I accomplish this?

I hired my wife! Some of you may be thinking, “Bad idea.” But we are by no means the first husband and wife team. Fantasy author Michael J. Sullivan focused on completing his series while his wife handled the business aspects, such as querying for agents. Support such as this does not need to be so direct. Spouses that encourage the dreams of their significant others is usually more than enough. When you take it a step further and incorporate them as part of the team, the possibility for conflict arises in an area that didn’t exist before. Being able to manage that by addressing it upfront is important.

So I passed her everything that has been on my To-Do list that I just haven’t had the time to tackle so that she could help manage my online presence and get the word out there. So her job description entails: photographer, videographer, website marketer, website content developer, social media manager, and publicist. Her first ‘assignment’ is research, so that she can see what other people have done to increase their audience. Places like http://www.thecreativepenn.com will be a great informational hub, as well as analyzing content on other famous author websites to see what this website is missing or should strive for.

Before I dive into my full fledged marketing plan that I have been slowly growing over the past year (and will be its own post in the near future), my wife had an idea right off the bat. She pointed out that this blog is only dedicated to sharing my author-experiences and knowledge-gained with other writers like me, and that I needed to grow my target market audience beyond just authors. My web presence must begin to attract all the fantasy readers out there, my potential customers, so that when my book is released, I will make a bigger impact with my announcement.

Per her recommendation, I have started up another blog, dedicated to those that love fantasy, RPGs, games, etc. The blog content is targeted to them, but the website is also intimately tied to the world that I have created and built The Blacksmiths series around. The idea being, capture as many followers as I can and when the time is right, direct the followers from the other blog to this one! In addition, her management of my social media and research allows me more time to write! Whether it be my synopsis, begin writing book 2, or a simple blog post, my creativity will be focused.

(This post has a lot of fluff, but stick around! Once my wife has done her due diligence, I will post my entire marketing campaign – complete with recommendations on how to best implement each item!)