British indie novelist Laxmi Hariharan describes how video can help you drop barriers between the characters in your self-published books and your readers, using her own case study of a video interview, before suggesting five key ways to use video to promote your work.
When I did a video interview (link provided at end of post) with Emily Tippets in New Mexico, USA, for the Black Gate press, I knew she had previously interviewed many well-known and bestselling sci-fi authors, so I was quite overwhelmed when she considered me for it. What I wasn't prepared for was the interview being shared many times from my Facebook page. Even people who are not readers actually listened to the ENTIRE 1 ½ hours long interview, and then messaged or commented that they loved it.
Then a friend who watched it and loved it, told another friend, who called me up to tell me the first friend's words were something to the effect of “Laxmi's really coming into herself.” And I thought, wow, can they read all this into a single interview?
It's true though that as I write, I am finding my authentic self. I am coming face to face with my own demons and the real person inside. That turn helps me tap into hidden emotions and take it out on paper. I blog about it often too. But what surprised me is how just one video interview had communicated all that and more to an entirely new set of people: those who don't always gravitate to the written word. I guess, that's why story telling through television (which is my day job) is here to stay in some form.
Five Ways for Authors to Use Video
This is how I use the moving image to help build my author platform while having a lot of fun
- YouTube: Do experiment with YouTube videos, but use it for a reason – when you have something to say. I make short 120 second videos when I am on the verge of a new release or when something significant has happened. I upload them to my YouTube channel and directly to FB (FB algorithms work better that way). Again, people who are tired of ‘reading' posts welcome this opportunity to see and hear directly from you.
- Skype: I have done Skype lectures with universities around the world. It's daunting, but it reaches a larger, very different audience. The trick is to be engaging and interesting, and to pretend the audience is in the room with you. Don't get distracted by what is happening on the other side of the screen. You do have to work doubly hard, but it helps you reach an audience who you wouldn't reach in everyday life.
- Video interviews: I've already mentioned this above. I believe it works because it is personal, and it gets the viewer closer to learning about you as an author and a person. I do often think that my books must work for themselves. But what I know is that when people hear me speak about my philosophy and why I write, and specifically about the incidents that sparked off the writing of the Ruby Iyer series, they are at least twice as likely to enjoy my writing. It's as if it's easier for them to identify with the characters because they know the reason for the characters' existence.
- Google Video Hangouts: A great tool to interact with the younger demographic (I write YA). It's more interactive than YouTube and more flexible as people can join in and drop off. Again I believe it helps reach a different profile of people. It's great for those who like to interact directly with the author and feel part of a community. Here you can also do readings, giveaways, and quizzes. I don't organise these on my own, but get invited to pre-existing communities who conduct hangouts on a weekly or monthly basis. It's much like being on a radio show, except here the readers can see you and hear you. Again, I believe it helps drop barriers between your character and readers. You are giving them an insight into yourself and thus lowering the bridge to your book, welcoming them in.
- Video panels: I am going to be on a Virtual Fantasy panel with four other authors as part of an on-line Fantasy Con, attended by 1,000 delegates who will be tuning into the panel. We are going to be discussing the hero's journey and its importance to Fantasy genre. It's going to be a half-hour discussion and we'll be talking about: 1) What would be our heroine's inspirations? 2) Their focus and driving force 3) How locations, genders, stations, in life, age etc. play a part in their individual journeys 4) Why the hero's journey is such an important part of the fantasy genre. Since my books seem to largely echo the hero's journey, I am looking forward to this one.
I hope these ideas help you develop a video strategy to connect with your readers. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them as comments and I'll reply.#Authors: 5 ways with video for your #selfpub book by @Laxmi Click To Tweet
Here's the interview that sparked off my “aha!” moment about the power of video in author marketing