Peake Performance: From Pen to Published
How to Promote Your Books on YouTube
By Marilyn Peake
After promoting my own books for the past four years, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the most productive ways to advertise is by utilizing a brand new form of Internet technology. There are numerous reasons why this works. First, lots of people are curious about it and want to see everything delivered through that new technology- -including your books. Second, some businesses prosper by initially offering new technology for free; but charging money after the technology is a proven success. Third, in the beginning, new technology is often unregulated and easier to access by large numbers of people.
YouTube http://www.youtube.com is a perfect example. Started in February 2005 by two young men, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, the site has blossomed as a place for everyone and anyone to post and view videos, free of charge. The site became so popular that only nine months after it was created, Google purchased it for $1.65 billion in stock. Here’s a YouTube video of the rather ebullient Chad and Steve after reaching their deal with Google:
YouTube has flourished as a kind of “Wild West”. Spam is barely monitored; and members frequently post popular music videos and T.V. shows without regard to copyright. Google has promised to tighten up the YouTube policies; but tightening up every detail might eventually make it more difficult to post videos. Right now, as long as an author is careful in regard to their own copyrighted material, they can post video trailers for their books free of charge…and people will watch! In fact, so many people are watching, Google has gained permission from some media outlets to post their shows and videos on YouTube. Here’s a fascinating New York Times article by Miguel Helft about those arrangements:
In February 2007, Deron Douglas, my publisher at Double Dragon Publishing, designed my first video trailer—for my children’s fantasy adventure novel, The Fisherman’s Son—and posted it on YouTube:
Within two months, that video trailer had been viewed 476 times. During that time period, I also noticed an improvement in sales rank at Fictionwise.com for the eBook format of The Fisherman’s Son. I realized it’s quite possible that many people who enjoy the technology of YouTube might also be very comfortable with eBook technology.
Since that time, Deron has designed two more video trailers for my publications, with more productions on the way. Here’s a link to the video trailer for the Twisted Tails anthology in which I have three short stories:
And here’s a link to the video trailer for Coyote Crossing, my short story published with its own book cover:
(I'm thrilled with the Coyote Crossing video because it features both my short story and photographs I took years ago in Mexico. In the video trailer, the slides that are NOT my own photographs are: Slides # 2 and # 3 showing the warning about river currents, Slide # 4 showing the river, Slide # 17 showing the river, and Slide # 26 showing a group of girls. All the other photographs are mine. In fact, Deron designed the book cover from a photograph I had taken of the main pyramid in Chichen-Itza, Mexico.)
Within six weeks, the Twisted Tails video received 240 hits. Within two weeks, the Coyote Crossing video trailer received 112 hits.
How to Promote Your Books Within the YouTube Site Itself
I’ve discovered many ways for an author to promote their books on the actual YouTube website. After you sign up at YouTube, you can go in and rate other videos. As soon as you click on "Save to Favorites" for any video (you click on "Save to Favorites" right under the video, right next to the place to give a star rating), you automatically get your own YouTube Channel. That Favorite will then appear on your channel. Every time you click on "Save to Favorites", those videos are automatically added to your channel. You can later delete videos from your channel through your YouTube account, if you no longer want them on your channel. Tricky thing about channels: Your channel receives a name—Mine is the "marilynpeake" channel...However, it looks like a channel name cannot be accessed directly through the YouTube Search unless the channel owner has submitted an application as a video designer or musician, OR unless the channel owner has officially "uploaded" a video. I plan to eventually upload a video that features my Web site and all my publications.
You can use the YouTube Search to find specific types of videos. I used that search in order to feature some ocean videos on my channel to match the theme of my video for The Fisherman's Son. I also left messages under the videos I liked. As soon as I did that, my channel name appeared on my message, so that viewers could click on and immediately visit my channel. Some video owners actually contacted me through the YouTube message system! That has worked out very well for me. Some very impressive channel owners have placed my video trailers on their channels, or listed my trailers among their Favorites. After corresponding with me through YouTube, a member of The Oceania Project has agreed to write an article for the November 2007 edition of my newsletter, The Golden Goblet:
Here’s a link to The Oceania Project:
And here’s a link to their YouTube Channel that features amazing videos of whales and dolphins:
You can do a lot with your channel name at YouTube, so it pays to design your YouTube Channel attractively. That’s easy to do with YouTube’s own tools. Here’s how I designed my own YouTube Channel:
After I chose the design, I added videos that might be attractive to viewers. I even added a two-video interview with Stephen King! Then I advertised my channel in online groups that allow announcements.
As I mentioned before, every time I comment on someone else's video, YouTube posts a link to my channel next to my comment. If other people click on my channel name, it takes them directly to my channel. Because of that, I frequently visit YouTube's "Featured Videos" on the YouTube home page because many of those are fun to watch and they also get tons of hits and comments- -but I only comment if the video doesn't seem weird and doesn't seem to be attracting a weird crowd, and only if I truly like the video.
There are also "Snowballs" that people have created at YouTube. The idea behind "Snowballs" is that lots of people are supposed to post comments about their own videos, and also visit other videos in the "Snowballs" and comment on those video pages as well. The goal is to drive up total number of hits for the participating videos which then gives them a chance of becoming a "Featured Video" on the YouTube home page. As with any YouTube video, I only join those "Snowballs" that don't seem too weird and don't seem to be attracting too weird a crowd.
Sometimes, when I add a video to my "Favorites", I mention that I've done that in a comment under that video. Again, I do that because my channel link will show up under the video.
Another option—which I don't know how to do yet—is to leave a "Video Response" to videos. Since most people post "Text Comments", Video Responses are much more visible. YouTube also posts Video Responses above the Text Comments, so that definitely increases exposure.
Posting Your YouTube Video Trailers on Additional Websites
There's a really cool way that YouTube allows you to post your YouTube video trailer on your own website, using up only YouTube's bandwidth, not your own. On the YouTube site, you can find information about how to use the YouTube "embed" feature to post YouTube videos on your own site. I haven't done this yet and am not computer savvy, but I get the impression that it's not particularly difficult to do. You can see examples of this on the Double Dragon Publishing website for my own trailers...
The Fisherman's Son:
Have fun establishing your own YouTube connection!!
Prices for Having Video Trailers Made
Prices for video trailers vary considerably. It’s entirely possible to make your own video trailer, and there are authors and other people who only charge $30 or slightly more for each video trailer. On the other end of the spectrum, some of the big publishing houses hire students in film schools to design expensive movie quality video trailers. The VidLit company http://www.vidlit.com charges $3,000 and more per video trailer.
Here’s a funny and informative video about VidLit by the VidLit Creator, Liz Dubelman: http://www.vidlit.com/editor.
On the other hand, my publisher, Deron Douglas, designs video trailers as part of his graphic arts business for only $30 per hour of his time; and he usually aims for charging only $30 total.
Here’s a link to the graphic arts site for Deron Douglas:
Here’s a very interesting article about trailers for books, including those made by film students and VidLit:
And here are some of the movie quality trailers in the article that seem to be getting a lot of press ...
The Weather Makers:
The Truth about the Night:
NOTE: For all three trailers, you need to click on the button labeled “click to play trailer” after it completes loading.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and the wonderful video trailers presented for your viewing pleasure.
Marilyn Peake is the author of both children’s and adult literature. Her trilogy of children’s fantasy adventure novels – The Fisherman’s Son, The City of the Golden Sun, and Return of the Golden Age – have received many wonderful reviews. Ms. Peake’s short stories appear in both the Illuminated Manuscripts and Twisted Tails anthologies from Double Dragon Publishing. Two of her adult short stories, Coyote Crossing and Cannon Fodder: Operation Horse Whisperer, are published by DDP with their own book covers, and are listed among the “Fictionwise Recommendations” at Fictionwise.com.
Please visit her Web site at: http://www.marilynpeake.com