Using YouTube to promote your book
These days, if I miss something funny or important that was on TV, I think, “I’ll look it up on YouTube.” This popular site is so steeped in our culture that it seems to have completely replaced television as a news and entertainment resource. In today’s low-attention, quick-fix society, one only needs to visit YouTube to see a three-minute visual rundown of a hit movie, or catch up on homegrown underground soap operas created and filmed by ordinary people over time and the daring. With the recent acquisition of YouTube by Google for more than a billion dollars, it goes without saying that this site will prove to be a media powerhouse in the future.
Because YouTube is essentially built by registered members contributing their own video content, it should also be noted that authors can take advantage of the site’s popularity and usability to increase their own exposure. Lately, I’ve noticed that authors create “trailers” to advertise their books and use YouTube for distribution. It may take a bit of work to figure out how to do it, but using YouTube to promote your books can drive an effective word of mouth campaign that draws readers to your book.
YouTube adds dynamic multimedia content to your website. One factor that makes YouTube so popular is the ease with which visitors can share their favorite videos. Send-to-friend links alert family and friends to a clip not to be missed, while special EMBED HTML code provided by YouTube allows bloggers and site owners to implement videos on their own pages. Since YouTube hosts the video, there is no need to upload large files to your site. By hosting a book trailer on YouTube, you allow other users to code and display your videos on the Internet, providing a free, creative ad campaign for your work.
YouTube enhances the message of your book. While you can deliver compelling blurb, glowing reviews, and an attractive cover page on your site, sometimes readers need to be more convinced to make a purchase. Offering a well-designed book trailer for your consideration gives your book the star treatment. The humorous music, engaging images, and taglines they sell draw the reader to the short clip and prompt them to want to learn more about what you’ve written. Movie companies have drawn many moviegoers to the movies based on sixty seconds of a movie premise. It is an effective advertisement that generates traffic and generates readers.
Of course, there are a few caveats to keep in mind when thinking about creating a book trailer. On the one hand, major media companies are very vigilant about sites like YouTube, looking for copyrighted material that is used for illegal purposes. If you are really interested in creating a book trailer for promotional purposes, you should ensure that the music clips and images used are in the public domain, acquired through royalty-free databases, or acquired for use with permission from copyright holders. . While you may not find it important to wear something for thirty seconds of video streaming, there is always the risk of getting caught by someone recognizing a picture or melody. Before you begin your book preview, make sure all the materials are okay to use.
For images related to the subject of your book, be it romance or science fiction, a biography or self-help, there are a number of royalty-free photo databases offering thousands of images to represent every emotion and environment you want to make. Istockphoto.com is one such resource, where images can be purchased for as little as a dollar. For royalty-free music, the aptly named RoyaltyFreeMusic.com may turn out to offer the sound you want to accompany your work. If you’re feeling especially daring, you might want to consider approaching a band to use a sample clip. A quick search on MySpace, for example, turns up quite a few musicians using the Internet to promote their music. A promotional exchange (your credits in your trailer for the use of your music) can be beneficial and can improve word of mouth in your trailer, as the group announces where to find their music.
Make the video
If you own a PC, you will most likely find that it is equipped with a program called Windows Movie Maker. This nifty tool lets you combine photos and streaming audio, and add captions and taglines to the frames that make up your video. Taking the time to explore similar frame transitions and options (including star wipes and side wipes)
and visual effects (fade in, fade out, sepia tone applications) will allow you to create a unique look to your story. Start with an attention-grabbing catchphrase, move on to pictures related to your story, add catchphrase on photos where appropriate, and end with a shot of your book cover and the information on your website and where to buy the book. Scrolling through the final titles completes the trailer, and before you know it, you’ve got a clip to add to YouTube!
Most book previews can last between thirty seconds and two minutes. You don’t want to make the trailers too long. For one thing, the longer a clip is, the more memory it takes up and the longer it can take to load. A viewer who has to wait too long will eventually get frustrated and move on to another clip. You want to make sure your book trailer is recorded at a length that allows computer users of all Internet speeds to enjoy. Also, you don’t want to give too much information in your trailer. Provide relevant information and engage the reader to learn more at the point of sale.
As an interactive marketing tool, YouTube Book Trailers are a creative and inexpensive way to get the word out about your book. Include the trailer on your website and the URL in your email signature and show readers exactly what they are missing, unless they buy your book.