C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

Marketing books: Thirteen video options

Season One of This Plague of Days is free until midnight tonight.

Season Two launches in two weeks.

Book trailers are problematic. Video can be done well. It often isn’t.

Most of them are too long. Production values are typically lower than viewers’ expectations. We’re trained to expect CGI on the level of major movie studios. Also, there’s little evidence trailers generate any sales. Go big and you’ll spend money with no return on the investment. Go too small and you might not be proud of it. Here are magnificent options, ranging from giving up and doing zilch to going big. Since I’m in touch with reality, most options are no-budget or low-budget.

Alternative 1

Don’t do it. It’s not worth the bother.

Alternative 2

Play with iMovie in your spare time. If it’s fun, great, but certainly don’t lose writing time to it. 

Alternative 3

Rather than worry about making a little movie and learning an editing program, do six seconds on Vine and/or fifteen seconds on Instagram. Focus on one quick, easy message. Don’t spell out the link to the camera. Leave the link in the caption. Note that people love video with cats.

Alternative 4

Upload to Youtube from your camera, iPod, iPhone or Android. Viewers will be more forgiving of low production values if they see you didn’t try to make it fancy. Just talk to the camera with a joke and/or announcement.

Alternative 5

Video pulls more clicks to your blog. Combine it with punchy posts for greater effect and more subscribers.

People have more tolerance for a short, laid back video than they will for long blog posts. For instance, yesterday’s post went deep into serialization and book pricing strategy. It was only for the most serious of book marketers and publishers. However, many more readers will click the video above and read this blog post for information because it has video and the text is breezy and scannable.

Alternative 6

Focus on what’s cool or ironically cool. Make it fun for you and the viewer. Try for the opposite of earnest and don’t try to tell too much of the plot of your book. Let the visuals do more work. Entertain first and come sideways at giving out information. One of the best book trailers I’ve seen was an author who talked about the glamour of the writing life while he scrubbed toilets.

Alternative 7

As I’ve suggested in the past, try a quote trailer. A quote trailer simply pulls intriguing quotes from your book. Don’t forget to include a buy link. Keep it short. No spoilers.

Alternative 8 

Use Animoto, as I did, for the video above. I already had the book covers. It took all of five minutes to use the free option for a video shorter than 30 seconds. The fire effect was appropriate and the music was a nice fit. Cool, huh? Animoto includes sharing options so you can export it to Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, etc.,…

Alternative 9

If people don’t respond to your stabs at filmmaking, try making it more about you and how you can help others instead of making it about the book. Video reviews and how-to stuff get more hits. Funny’s always good, too.

I put up video of my podcasts to get more viewers and listeners. Some people simply prefer video to audio, or a YouTube video is how they will discover a podcast. Interaction in an interview setting can be easier to pull off than talking directly to the camera. Some people, like Hugh Howey, do it well and even dance for reviews. For most of us, solo videos look like hollow-eyed, stuttering hostage videos pleading for ransom under the threat of death.

Alternative 10

Have you set up your YouTube channel yet? It’s a great place to collect your video book reviews, too. Video reviews get more attention on Amazon than written ones, so it’s worth doing, for you and for authors.

Alternative 11

Go with Fiverr.com and get help to create quick videos like I did for my promotion plan for This Plague of Days. Check out my video samples at the link.

Alternative 12

If you really want to go big, get a semi-pro involved. There’s no proven ROI and most professional video production is expensive. Therefore, consider approaching a drama class or a film school. If your book trailer becomes a school project, at least your vanity project will benefit the education of a young actor or filmmaker in a concrete way. You could go the Scott Sigler route and make it a contest. Since every entry went up on YouTube for judging, Sigler’s books got multiple ads and multiple hits.

Alternative 13

I think Kevin Smith and Steven Spielberg are available for princely sums, but if you’ve just won the lottery, go with any of the above options and get your video production done free or cheap. Starving children everywhere would appreciate your generous donations. If you’re rich enough to consider professional directorial help, good karma’s the better way to go.

BONUS

Are you on Bookbub? Here's what the email looks like for my TPOD promo. Sale ends at midnight, never to return. Enjoy.

Are you on Bookbub? Here’s what the email looks like for my TPOD promo. Sale ends at midnight, never to return. Enjoy.

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 12.53.17 PM

Bookbub allows you to showcase deals to many targeted readers who are interested in your genre. Got a deal? Get noticed with Bookbub.

Filed under: author platform, book trailer, Books, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New podcast release at AllThatChazz.com

On All That Chazz, I’ve just released a new podcast episode called Furious. I confess that I have broken a record that lasted 10 years. That was an impressive streak while it lasted. I can’t tell you what the record is because it’s very NSFW, but you can hear the vulgar, neurotic truth at the link.

In other news, I talk about casually offending listeners (and readers for that matter), Christians versus atheists, plus I read from the next chapter from Higher Than Jesus, “Rage in Heaven”. Expect action, adventure, lisping and macho BS that knows it’s macho BS. Enjoy!

Dark Higher Than Jesus banner adHave a listen. Have a great day, or make it one.

~ Higher Than Jesus is funny crime fiction about a Cuban hit man with a tragic past and mommy issues. He also has a perilous addiction to Vicodin, a burning need for righteous vengeance and he worships the gorgeous blonde glamazon, Willow Clemont. Click here to see all of Chazz’s books.

Filed under: podcasts, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Micro-publishing is publishing: Tools, tech and committing to change

Crack the Indie Author CodeWordPress Widget: Milestone

Your greatest tool is your mind, but your armoury doesn’t stop there. There’s that baseball bat under your driver’s seat. Oh, and glance to the left for my new deadlines, on display for Thor and everybody. I’ve struggled a bit with two works-in-progress. I had a false start and have to backtrack a bit with one (for the greater good). The other book is in revisions. It’s a huge project. It’s so secret, a team of kidnapped international scientists are working on it in a fortified base under a volcano guarded by an army of cloned ninja monkeys.

Projects need deadlines and production schedules. Successfully meeting those goals requires that I broadcast those commitment to my peers. That’s you, and that’s where the time trackers to the left come in. It’s a countdown to the launch of my metaphorical rockets. The timers are created with a WordPress widget you can use, too. On the Widgets menu of your WordPress dashboard, it’s called Milestone. Easy-peasy-here’s-a-reminder-to-stay-on-track.

Use Animoto for quick and easy video messages 

The second tool for spreading the word is Animoto. Videos get more attention than text. That’s our world. Deal with it. Many readers will click the video without reading these words. That’s okay. I just wanted to point out that a couple of months ago, I made a loud declarative statement that I would soon have all my books available everywhere. After polling a number of fellow authors and chatting with friends and allies through this blog, it’s apparent to me that I’m not ready to ditch KDP Select entirely just yet. The migration to other  platforms will be slower than I anticipated because the consensus is that exclusivity with Amazon is still the better bet overall. My forays into other platforms will be experiments, measured and evaluated.

Here’s a link to my first Animoto video.

Make a video of your own at Animoto.

Aspire to Inspire eBook JPGDitching intermediators

The beauty of micropublishing is that we can be flexible and change our minds without calling a meeting or paying extra fees for each detail. In the spirit of taking full control of my books, I’m ditching BookBaby. For my first book, Self-help for Stoners, I used their service to publish the ebook. It might even have been the right choice for me then. I was too intimidated by the details of dealing with formatting and taxes and I  wanted to get my book published faster.

Now I’ve got it together eight or so books later, it’s apparent I’ve sacrificed too much flexibility in giving up Self-help for Stoners to an intermediator. Any minor change in strategy costs more money, takes more time and, frankly, they’ve been slow to respond to my requests in the past. I like when the check arrives, but with a little more effort, I can cut costs, regain control and optimize the book. Once I withdraw it and republish, I can make those changes quickly and easily. I’ll release Self-help for Stoners as a new edition with new material. This baby’s growing up. No more hesitation or excuses, hoping things will get better. I’ll make them better.

Book category Bingo

Speaking of switching tactics easily, readers may find you by your book categories. They may not discover your awesomeness for the same reason. When is the last time you revisited your book’s categories?

I reviewed all my books’ assigned categories yesterday. For my writing and publishing guides, I changed to “Editing and proofreading” for the first book and “Authorship” for the second. You are allowed two categories per book. Choose wisely. For Bigger Than Jesus and Higher Than Jesus, I switched from “Hardboiled” to “Crime” and from “Suspense” to “Crime” respectively. I’ll give that some time and if there’s no improvement, I might try switching to “Men’s Adventure” and see how that flies. It’s free to experiment when it’s all under your direct control.

Experimentation, improvement and getting it right is fun when it’s under your control. 

Higher+than+Jesus+Front+1029~Robert Chazz Chute is that guy who thinks like a hit man but has learned to sublimate his rage with humor, usually. Hear the first chapter of Higher Than Jesus, in which his hit man, Jesus Diaz, looks for love in all the wrong places (and Vicodin and bombs in Chicago.) It’s on the All That Chazz Podcast, broadcast chapter by chapter once a week. Or just go read the book. It’s fun and funny.

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

Available now!

Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

For my author site and the Chazz network, click the blood spatter below.

See my books, blogs, links and podcasts.

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