But here's the thing: Youtube only works for authors if you do it right. And many people don't do it right.
Here are the most common mistakes I see from youtube marketing *I'm talking about all author youtube videos whether it's an interview, a book trailer, a writer's workshop, video blog etc. :
- There is no goal of the video. If you are posting a book trailer for a book that is not yet represented and not yet published, why are you doing so? Are you trying to get an agent from this? Are you just sharing your book so that you can get other people to say nice, supportive things? Have a goal.
- The video doesn't capture anything unique. The next step after having a goal is deciding on a video that will help realize that goal in a new, fresh way. Maybe I have followers but they aren't really engaged with me. And maybe I'm a funny person. Then creating a video that shows off my personality could be a good step. Like this video from author Mindy McGinnis (warning: you will laugh and may have to rewatch).
- There is no drive to get people to view the video. Think about your blog. You may have thought it was an "If I build it they will come" situation, but it wasn't, was it? Same with videos. You have to build your videos views by inviting people to watch it. Invite them from Twitter, Facebook, your email contacts, your blog. Invite, invite, invite.
- The video does not have universal entertainment value. Get feedback. Have people watch your video. Is it interesting? Is it funny? Is it only appealing to people who know you? Just like your book, you need to get some beta viewers.
- The video is too long. However long your video is, you probably should cut it in half. Most of the time, the joke or cool factor is exposed within the first 30 seconds and the next 3 minutes are BORING. Edit, edit, edit. Watch people view it, if possible. See when they stop laughing or look away or fidget. That's when your video should end.
- Writers spend too much time making videos. Make sure there is value in the time you spend on your video. Good videos take longer than a good blog post. Jackson Pearce has great videos (like this one) but you can see it took time to edit and put together. Always make sure you are not losing time that should be spent writing.
Even if a writer manages to avoid all those mistakes, the biggest problem with authors on youtube is that the time and energy spent far outweighs the expected results. Yes, videos can drive readers to your blog or book, but not as much as other things that you can do at far less cost of resources. Just keep that in mind when embarking on a video campaign.
What do you think about youtube? What do you use it for or what would you use it for?