Last week I created my first author video. I thought it would be fun to do and fun for fans to watch. I also hoped it would be useful to other authors, as it's about cover design and rebranding.
Before that, the only video I had on YouTube was one a friend who does PR recorded for me.
Creating the video got me thinking about the value of author videos and how they can best be used. Questions I ought to have asked before creating my own, I admit, but sometimes it's worth it to just jump in.
Why Create An Author Video?
I didn't decide to do a video out of nowhere, despite what I said above.
In the last year I've attended several business-focused writing conferences. Many ways to grow your audience were discussed, including videos.
Having Fun With Author Videos
Most speakers talked about videos as a way to connect with existing fans.
That seems to me to be the second best reason to create an author video, the first being that it's something you think you'd enjoy doing. If it's not fun for you, you probably won't connect with anyone.
I like sharing information with others.
Usually I do it in person through teaching or speaking. Video seemed like a fun way to do the same in a way that could live on after the presentation was over.
Connecting With Existing Readers Through An Author Video
When I searched for videos by some of my favorite authors, connecting with current readers seemed to be the main goal. And it worked.
Despite that I'd meant to only take a quick look for research purposes, I watched these videos all the way through:
- Sara Paretsky's video on how and why she created her female private eye V.I. Warshawski (I also tweeted about it on Twitter)
- Louise Penny talking about her struggles with alcoholism, stopping drinking and starting to write, having writer's block, her marriage and how supportive her husband was, her husband's dementia, and her road to success as an author
- Kevin O'Brien being interviewed about being a nice guy and writing frightening books and his writing process
Reconnecting With Readers
The question is, if your fan base isn't that large, is it still worth doing videos?
I think the answer is yes.
For one thing, whether you have twenty or two thousand (or two hundred thousand) people on your email list, those who enjoy watching video and would like to know more about your books will appreciate it. (Those who don't won't check out the video, so it's not as if you're risking alienating them somehow.)
For another, someone may have loved one of your books but read it some time ago and not realized you have new material out.
A video is a nice way to draw attention to your on-going work without shouting “buy my next book” from the rooftops.
That's part of why my first video talked about rebranding the covers for my Awakening series. Within it, it made sense to show the old and new covers for each of the four books and share a little about each.
Readers who read Book 1 before the others came out may come across it and become reacquainted with the series.
Author Videos Can Be Shared
Videos are easily shareable. If a watcher finds it interesting, that person can easily click and share on social media.
Author Videos Make Your Website More Compelling
In addition, videos add content to your website. (Says the author who hasn't added her video to either of her websites yet.)
It's something different for people to do when they visit your site and may keep them around longer. Many people now expect to find video when they visit a site. It's part of how we learn about products and people or become educated on topics.
Reaching New Readers And Viewers With An Author Video
Finally, there is a potential to reach new readers and viewers who might otherwise never find you.
Just as some people will rarely or never go on YouTube and watch a video, others rarely or never read articles or blog posts. That's part of why I aimed my first video both at Awakening fans and other authors who might be thinking about rebranding their covers.
Since you're reading this, if cover design matters to you, I assume you might also consider reading (or have already read) the article Your Book Will Be Judged By Its Cover on this site.
But authors who mainly consume content through videos will likely never come across that article. The video is a way to reach them and offer content they might be able to use in the format they prefer.
That's all for today. Except here's the video:
Until next Friday, when I'll talk about 4 Reasons To Stop Saying You Don't Have Time—