The Wall Street Journal Watches Book Marketing – My Take

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.


Wall Street Journal mastheadIf you read The Wall Street Journal then you may have seen the article that came out over this past weekend called Watch this Book. It discusses how authors are using book videos to gain the attention of the YouTube crowd.  Since my company, Circle of Seven Productions, is mentioned in the article and I was interviewed for it, I wanted to expand on that article with my own point of view.

First, let’s look at what was not said.

Book trailers and other types of book video are not solely created to sell books. There are other reasons to have a book video that were not addressed in the article.  Of course, if the author of the article addressed all the aspects of book trailer utilization the article would take up an entire page.  She focused on what she felt was the hook of her story and I certainly don’t begrudge her that.

Here are examples of how book trailers can be used:

  • Generate momentum for the first week of sales in order to make bestseller lists. This is something that’s been done successfully on several occasions. 
  • Establish branding. 
  • Appeal to new target audiences by highlighting cross genre aspects of the book.
  • Reach out to young people who are making them in school for an English class.
  • Gain the attention of those young adults who spend so much time online.  In this respect, book trailers help the publishing industry compete with movies, television, music and video games.

Book video is a tool that the entire industry can use to reach out in a way that is cool to young people. Reach out and show them how fun reading is. Reach out and remind them how wonderful stories are when you apply your own imagination. Reach out and create new readers. Thinking of the book video only as a sales tool is limiting and short-sighted.

Next, let’s talk about the dignity issue.

videographerThe article indicates that many authors feel they must compromise their dignity to have a video made. That simply isn’t true.  The type and style of book video you choose to do is governed by the message you want to convey.  If you feel that your brand is a high-brow literary piece then you should do an author interview or reading and target those people you think will be interested in your book. If you write fiction that you feel would be of interest to people who love action, entertainment or a visual medium then have a trailer made.  I might sacrifice some things for my art, but not my dignity. Nor my self respect. I have a trailer, I’m proud of my trailer and I will certainly do it again.  In summary, if you have a book that you feel will be compromised by doing a video then don’t do it.

Finally, there were other excellent book video producers that were not mentioned in the article.  These producers have been around much longer and have created many more videos with publishers than TurnHere.  Circle of Seven Productions has been producing book trailers since 2002. We did not spring up in response to the trend as the article would lead you to believe. We helped to create the trend; and YouTube and MySpace can take credit for the huge jump in book video popularity as well. In 2002 when we Googled the term “book trailer” we got nothing back. Google it today and see what you get.  This is not a new trend or a new idea. VidLit has been doing book video with a very unique style since 2004. ExpandedBooks does top quality author interviews and has also been around for that long. There have been many more producers that have come and gone over the years.

romance-novel-tv logoOther organizations such produce book videos.  Reader’s Entertainment TV has author interviews, book trailers, original shows and behind the scenesreporting at conventions.  In addition, there are several online book tv platforms including C-SPAN’s booktv.org and Romance Novel TV, both of which enjoy a huge following.

Book video has found a place in the book publishing industry. And if the industry embraces it, like HarperCollins with over 500 author interviews, book video has the potential to help grow readership. Move over Star Wars movie, for that same price I can read the book and get double the entertainment hours out of it!


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