Book Videos Inside – The Story about the Story about the Story

book vid lit iconSheila Clover-EnglishBook Vid Lit

by Sheila Clover-English

Sheila Clover English, the CEO of Circle of Seven Productions, has been a pioneer
in book video production, marketing and distribution for authors and publishers


Book videos are becoming a popular and accepted form of book marketing.  During the past several years, I have produced and distributed many book videos and found them to be potent devices for attracting readers and selling books.  But authors and publishers who venture into this new realm need to understand a few things about web marketing in order to use this new tool effectively.

Book Videos are Objects of Desire

First, book videos work because, unlike the advertisements we are used to from the print or broadcast media, they are objects designed to be found and consumed as the result of intentional searches.  By this, I mean that individuals find book videos because they are searching for information or resources related to a particular topic or interest.     The very fact that an individual found a book video as a result of their own searching means the odds are greater they will watch it – and if they find it compelling, that they will buy the book. 

For example, if an individual likes cave pearls and this is their hobby, they might search on the term “cave pearls.”  They may look on YouTube they may look for blogs about it.  When they do they will find the book Pearl Jinx by Sandra Hill. It is a story about people hunting for cave pearls.  “Did you say cave pearls?!  Wow!  I love cave pearls!  This might be something totally new for me!”  Now, they have found a book about their favorite topic and are more likely to take that next step and buy it.

This is what makes book videos such a useful online marketing and branding tool for books.  They turn up in searches for book trailers.   But, because they are tagged, book videos  can also be returned in general search results related to the topic of the book.  Book video can nurture potential readers or bring established readers to topics they want to read about.

Use Tags to Help Readers Find Your Book Video

Tags are descriptors attached to the videos you upload to online video sharing sites.  They are important because they help people find your video.    Tags are a form of “meta data” – information about your book video that search engines incorporate when they index your content.  When an individual types a keyword or phrase into a search box, this meta data is what the search engines uses to return search results.  For this reason, tags are very important.

There are three types of information you should provide when you upload your video online.

  • Title. Make the title clear.  Be sure to include your name as well.  People will be able to find you according to what’s in your title.
  • Description.  Don’t let your description become a commercial.  Make it exciting. My experience with producing and marketing book videos shows that this is how you get people who are interested in your topic to pick up your book.  Use the description to write what is exciting and unique about your book!   Some video sharing sites limit the number of words so choose yours carefully. If you use your name in the title, don’t waste your limited description copy to repeat it.  Keep your description topic focused, not just genre specific.  Give the reader a feel for the story. 
  • Tags.  Tags are another device to help people find you. Tags allow individuals to search for your book video using specific words.  Again, there is no need to include your name as a tag, if it is already in the title.  If people want to find youspecifically they will go to your website.  Often, the number of tags you can use is limited.  Use terms that capture the essence of your book without being so popular that your listing will appear near the bottom of results from searches using those terms.  For example, you would probably want to avoid using terms like “love” or “sexy.”  Try out your tags in searches on the sites where you are planning to upload your video.  The number of items returned by the search query will let you know how much competition there is for thosee terms.

Using the descriptors above help people find you whether the topic of your book is vampires or football.  Note that I always include the word “book” or “novel” in the tags just to be sure people understand what they are looking at is a book.

Tell a Good Story to Energize your Web Marketing

People looking for what you have to sell are more likely to buy it.

How do you use a video to get people interested in reading your book?  In my experience, the answer is straightforward. Make good videos.  Make the videos appealing, exciting and entertaining.  Perhaps the best advice to give here is:  don’t use a video to sell your book.  Use it to sell your story and make potential readers want more.  For example, give them one sentence that asks a question they will want answered:

“If you could go back in time and change 20 seconds of your life, what would it be?”

That’s a great question to make someone read on or go to your website. That puts them in the story. What would they do is what they will be asking themselves.  It lets the viewer invest themselves in a story they don’t know about.

Or you can make a statement that ties into other entertainment that might resonate with the viewer.  For instance:

“James Bond meets the Geek Squad in this romantic comedy about spies, planes and TV sci-fi programs.”

That let’s your viewers know about the story and still makes them wonder what in the world that could be about?

Think bigger when you market your book.  Get your readers to buy into your story. Get them to want to invest their time in it by investing themselves (asking questions, hitting a topic they already like).

Most books are targeted at a specific readership.  The internet offers the best way to aggregate niche audiences.  Make it easy for them to find you, then make them want your story.


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