Authors have one more tool they can use to build community around their work – the video blog. A video blog (also called a vlog) is essentially a blog that uses video vs. text as its primary way to communicate. According to Wikipedia, video blogs have been around in one form or another since 2003. Today there are thousands of video blogs. For authors, video blogs offer yet more way to connect with their audience.
Many authors are already using book trailers as a visual medium to communicate the message of their book and perhaps offer a little bit of their own background. However, book trailers are limited in the goals they are trying to serve. Book trailers are aimed at getting potential readers interested in a title. They are typically 1.5 – 3 minutes in length. This makes them an effective promotional tool, but not a good way for readers to get an in depth understanding of the author.
A video blog on the other hand is something that is ongoing. It provides a recurring engagement with the audience. While it makes sense to keep any given video blog short (probably 3 – 5 minutes tops), the author can address a variety of topics across multiple video blog posts. The visual presence of the author provides a stronger impact and a keener sense of his / her personality and temperament.
Some publishers are already encouraging their authors to experiment with video blogs. Koldcast is an online video channel that publishes book trailers and video blogs from Doubleday’s authors. AuthorCams offers another use of author video. It showcases a variety of author video book tours readings through three author news networks—PubBuzz (fiction and non-fiction), CooksRead (cookbooks) and KidsRead (children and young adult books).
Setting up a video blog is straightforward and inexpensive or free tools abound to help authors wanting to explore this new avenue of outreach. For a good list of video blogging resources and tips, check out Christina Laun’s post.
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