For some, the idea of a book author having a Youtube account might seem nonsensical. If writers are going into video, then perhaps radio stations are going into TV stations–the connection seems just as logical. I grant you that video is not the most natural medium for many authors, myself included. If we shone so well in front of the camera we would have gone into a career of acting, or something like it. Some of us are writers perhaps in part because we don’t like sitting in front of the unblinking lens of a video recorder. But, all likes and dislikes aside, I have come to conclude that Youtube can function as a useful accessory for an author.
I call Youtube an accessory because I don’t think of it as a primary means to reach your reading audience. A trailer video for your book is most likely not going to be what catapults you into fame. Most people aren’t trawling Youtube looking for that next book trailer to share with their friends. And frankly, a lot of book trailers are pretty dull. I’m not saying don’t make a book trailer–by all means make one, and try to make it as engaging as possible. Be creative and imaginative. But to think about how Youtube will serve you as an author, you need to take that creativity beyond the confines of Youtube and the limitations of a book trailer.
First, think of Youtube as a for repository your videos, not primarily as the channel for their discovery. Don’t sit around expecting people to come wandering upon your Youtube channel and love your book trailer so much that they decide to share it with the rest of the world. You share it with the rest of the world. Share it on your website, share it on your Twitter freed, share it on your Facebook page, share it on your Amazon Author page. It is when a video goes viral in these other places that people will flock to Youtube to watch it.
Second, think of Youtube as a means to expand your connection with your readers. Not everything is about getting new readers. Some things are about holding the readers you already have and making them your loyal fans. Even if you don’t have an exciting trailer for your book, you can put up a video of yourself answering some questions, or participating in an interview. People love to have a “face” put to the author they are reading, and be able to feel like they are participating with you. Once you have a base of followers, you can really start connecting with them by live-streaming a Google hangout through your Youtube channel. Just think of the connection you could make with your readers! Exciting, but also enough to make some of us introverts crawl under our beds!
Third, think of Youtube as a tool for adding value to your product. As an author the product is both you and your book. If you have written a cook book, put up videos of yourself making recipes from your book. If you wrote a DIY book on making bird houses, put up videos of yourself making bird houses! If you wrote a book about building a business brand in the marketplace, put up a video of yourself giving a small demonstration/lecture. The point is that people are not going to be searching Youtube for your specific book. They will be searching Youtube on the topic your book addresses, so make meaningful and valuable videos on the topic of your book and then when people search on that topic they will find your videos. When they finish watching your demonstration on building a bird house you conclude the video by saying, “And if you’ve enjoyed this bird house building video you can find many more like it in my book on bird houses which you can find at [link].” Build your personal brand by showing the viewers of your video that you have something of value that is shared within your book.
I don’t write this advice just for you, I write it for me, too. I am just starting down the path of a published author and already I don’t like being in front of a camera. I come up with all sorts of reasons why I never need to show my face on Youtube. But the reality is that if you have something that is worth sharing in a book, there is something complimentary to that which you can share on Youtube. In this world if you want your writing to get out there you have to stop hiding under your bed. I haven’t got there yet, but if you’d like to see what I will produce down the road, keep an eye on my Youtube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/RundyPurdy
I’ll see you around!