Image Credit: Most pictures created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos, others direct from Pixabay.
I’ve mentioned before that what goes around comes around in writing circles. A great example is my recent interview with Helen Matthews as she wondered about how an author could use a YouTube channel. Now I know the cue for another Chandler’s Ford Today post when I hear one so away we go.
I’ll take a look at how I use my channel and share what other authors do. I hadn’t anticipated using visual media to help my writing but I have found YouTube easier to use than expected and it is now a regular part of my marketing work.
You start by setting up your own channel via www.youTube.com and you can link it your social media outlets, which is useful. It was just a question of following the instructions YouTube give you when you select the option to create a channel. I used the central image from Tripping the Flash Fantastic as my header photo here.
Once a week I create a flash fiction story, upload it on to Book Brush, (a graphic design program – Canva is another) which has a video option via its Custom Creator tool. I just need to choose what template I am using (one of the YouTube sized options) and then select the videos button and then choose a suitable background for my story.
Once the background is in place (all I do is click on the one I like and it “slots” into the YouTube template I’ve chosen) I then add in a text box into which I cut and paste my tale. I then download this video to my laptop as an mp4 file.
I then go to my YouTube channel and select the “manage my videos” option. Here I have a Create Video option so I select that and then upload my mp4 file. Uploading doesn’t take long for my short stories. You do have to indicate whether or not your video is for kids (mine are not because of the level of irony in some of my stories, also I occasionally write mild horror tales). YouTube also check out copyright issues for you which is handy. Not a problem for me as the story is of course my own.
I can then choose whether to keep the video private so only those I choose get to watch it or whether I select public and then schedule a date and time for the video to go live. For my author newsletter I make some videos and keep them exclusive to that so I do use the private option then but the majority of my tales are for public consumption and I schedule them in advance pretty much as I schedule these CFT posts.
Now I could leave it there. Once the video goes live I share it of course on my other social media links.
But YouTube give you the option to add music to your video and I have been making good use of this. Fellow writer, Dawn Kentish Knox, told me about YouTube having a vast audio library. Now the great thing here is, like with Pixabay for the pictures I generally use here, the majority of the tracks here are free to use with no attribution needed.
There are a few tracks where YouTube say they will credit the track creator on your video but there is no charge. I try to use only the ones with no attribution needed as it keeps life simple.
It is easy to add a track to your video. You type in a mood or genre for the type of track you’re looking for (I often use classical) and then press a button to “add” the track. YouTube then add this for you once you’ve asked them to save the changes to your video. The great thing is you can close the program down and they’ll get on with it. Next time you’re on you will find the track has been added.
They also have useful buttons against each track so you can check the copyright status. Also you can play the track and I find this so useful. Sometimes I will find a track that “hits the spot” for my story immediately. Other times I have to search a bit harder but I do usually find something. It’s nice to add audio to my video! Trust me also on this, if I can do it anyone can.
So I use my channel then to advertise what I do as a flash fiction writer but how about other uses?
The other good use of YouTube is for putting out creative writing videos full of hints and tips for writers new to a genre or, indeed, to writing at all. And it is a good way for fans of authors to have a behind the scenes peak at how their favourite writers create their stories. Just to name one example, I’ve come across an author video giving advice on how to create author videos!
And why not read an extract from your latest work and share that on YouTube? (I’ve practiced readings on Zoom incidentally in readiness for talks and I found that useful as I could record the session, Zoom downloads it as an mp4 for you, and I could play it back to see how I sounded, had I got my timings right and so on. You could record something for YouTube in a similar way. All you need is an mp4 file to upload. Bear in mind you don’t have to set things for the general public to see. You can keep things set to a private setting until such time as you are ready to share it more widely).
I know authors who have used Facebook Live for their launch events, including readings, and it is possible to then download the video created in Facebook Live to your own YouTube channel later. That means people who couldn’t get to the live event can get to see what you did and share in the joy of your book launch at a later date. Hopefully it will help sales! In any event it is worth trying as it only costs you some time.
Advantages of Having a Visual Way of Presenting Your Work
Videos do catch people’s eyes so they can make a useful addition to your marketing work. They’re also easy enough to add to a website. Having a mixture of text, visual, and audio content for your site keeps things interesting for you and your followers. Videos also work best when kept short. And there’s nothing to stop you having a series of mini-videos in the run up to, say, a book launch. They can act as creative reminders for the main event to come.
Also, videos can be a good draw for people to check out what else you do. You can also point to having an online presence via a variety of means (the usual social media channels and a way of sharing videos) when approaching agents and publishers. They want to see you recognise the need to engage with potential readers.
Having your own platform and using this regularly (a) proves that and (b) shows you are fully committed to your writing. Publishers and agents like to see that too. It makes sense. If you don’t invest (at least in time) to help develop a presence, why should they invest time (and money) in you?
And of course you can record adverts for your books. Again these work best when kept short.
All of this to me is another way of being creative and trying to share the joy of writing stories. Naturally I hope for sales too but I do know that unless I do put the word out there via different means, there will be no sales. So to me it makes a great deal of sense to find ways of doing this kind of marketing that I enjoy doing and can keep going with and that hopefully others will enjoy watching. It is all about making connections to potential readers after all.
And to finish I will leave you with one of my recent videos for my channel. Hope you enjoy it!
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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