Book Videos

Rose Fox, editor extraordinaire at Publishers Weekly and cofounder of magazine’s Genreville blog, took some video of the authors at the Barnes & Noble mass signing a few weeks ago that featured Charles Ardai, Anna DeStefano, Leanna Renee Hieber and Jack Ketchum .  A full transcript of the video can be found here.

I especially love what Jack Ketchum says about getting to know his characters inside and out before he writes their story.  I think this is so important for authors.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a manuscript and felt as though I didn’t really get the hero or heroine’s main personality until 2/3 of the way through.  It’s then a lot of work for the author to have to go back and layer that personality through from the beginning in a realistic way.

But it’s also really fun to see what inspires different writers and where the ideas for books like DARK LEGACY, HUNT AT THE WELL OF ETERNITY, COVER, and THE STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL TALE OF MISS PARKER come from.

Thanks for the folks at Bookgasm for passing this on.

I especially like her solution for dealing with writer’s block.

Sandra Ruttan, author of the ah-mazing thrillers WHAT BURNS WITHIN and THE FRAILTY OF FLESH, forwarded this video about an author trying to promote his book.  Many of the points are all too true–and absolutely hilarious in an The Office kind of way.

And while we’re on the subject of videos, I wanted to share Leanna Renee Heiber‘s for her debut novel, THE STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL TALE OF MISS PERCY PARKER.  It perfectly captures the gaslit, gothic, ethereal feel of the book itself.

For those who really  like to plan ahead, Tanya posted some peeks at our April and May 2010 lineup yesterday. 

And Gemma Halliday debuted her new book video for SCANDAL SHEET, coming in November.

The whole purpose of going to the trouble of doing a book video is to drive interest in your book.  And there’s been all kinds of speculation on how effective they may or may not be.  Jeff Strand recently did one to promote his new release, PRESSURE, that I just have to share.  The humor transcends any genre, and I think people will get a kick out of it, whether they’re book lovers or not.  And though PRESSURE is definitely not a romance, if you’re a fan of the kind of chills from Obsession, Single White Female or Hand that Rocks the Cradle, I think you’ll want to give this one a try.

Some of these actually gave me goose bumps.


STOLEN HEAT by Elisabeth Naughton – August

WHERE THE WIND BLOWS by Caroline Fyffe – August

If you’re starting to go through any kind of withdrawal from all the festivities in Orlando, Marianne Mancusi and Liz Maverick have put together a 10-minute video to keep you in a Sunshine State of mind.


Watch out, world–I just found out I’m 70% demon slayer.  Want to learn what kind of slaying ability is in your genes?  Take Angie Fox’s quiz. 

And that’s how easy it is to spread the word.  Viral marketing depends on the creation of something fun, catchy or clever enough that people want to pass it on.  Everyone wants to go viral.  The tools are available, but it’s the message that counts.

And once you have that message, how do you get the word out?  Angie has options to email your score, post the widget on a website, or Tweet it on Twitter. 

Kathryne Kennedy is taking a different approach to buzz the release of ENCHANTING THE BEAST.  She’s offering the chance to win a five-carat Swiss blue topaz necklace to readers who tell their friends about the book.  The more friends you tell, the better your odds of winning. 

Book trailers are another tool some authors have used to spread a viral message.  But I find that for a trailer to be effective virally, it has to be incredibly funny, well-produced and intriguing, or very clever.  Having all three is even better.  I can think of only one or two book trailers I’ve passed on to people outside of publishing. 

Yet the video of Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and a Nightline news anchor reading from romance novels, I’ve definitely forwarded.

Sue Grimshaw, romance buyer for Borders/WaldenBooks, recently launched the True Romance video series as part of Borders’ mega updates to its website.  So far she’s interviewed Lisa Jackson and Lisa Kleypas on their newest releases.

Today, news broke that Barnes & Noble is also getting into “vlogging,” wherein every week booksellers around the country will talk about  recommended reads across a number of genres.  The booksellers are in their stores with a FlipCam–no fancy studio or equipment (and sometimes that’s not so good)–and you get the sense that they really love the books they’re recommending.  In this one, Kirsty from Seattle talks about Deanna Rayborn’s SILENT IN THE GRAVE.

I love the idea of the videos, but to make them work, I think retailers should:

  • make sure they’re easily accessible with a link from the homepage to something that says “Video” or “Videos, Reviews & More” or “Behind the Books” or something – I don’t necessarily make a quick connection that the “B&N Studio” or “Borders Media” tabs are going to give me content like exclusive interviews, recommendations and reviews.
  • link videos to the book description page
  • make it possible to embed the videos on blogs.  I know they probably want to drive traffic directly to the site, but these days, it really seems sharing is the best way to go.  And isn’t the point to spread the message and build the brand?
  • have a good mix of known authors, but even more importantly, let people know about up-and-comers.  Most readers already know the big bestsellers and when their books are releasing. 

Has watching a video ever made you buy a book?  Or do you mostly look for videos from authors you already know?