I love Sandie Bricker‘s books, and was tooling around her YouTube page the other day and noticed that several authors had done a vlog (video blog post) for her to help promote her book, Rise and Shine. I loved that idea! What a great way to support other writers.
Sandie has used videos a lot to help connect with her readers, and I was intrigued by the vlogs, video greeting cards, and book release announcements she has posted. I asked her to share her approach on using video.
I notice you use video more often than most authors I follow. How did you start using video to help get the word out about your books?
I do like to utilize video because I think it helps create a bond between a writer and her readers. I first started cultivating this germ of an idea several years back when five of us who did a devotional together (Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days) all taped ourselves lip-syncing to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.
A friend of mine put it together just for kicks … and the response from my readers was phenomenal. In the past, I’d noticed a lot of authors making videos that looked really slick but were expensive to produce and were fairly generic. After the Just Wanna Have Fun experience, it occurred to me that they could do them more often for far less investment if they just sat down in front of their webcam or a camcorder or something.
What types of things (reader questions, book announcements, etc.) work best for video?
I tested it out with a single vlog where I chose half a dozen questions from some of the email received via my website and answered the questions in a short 6- or 8-minute video shot with my little pink Flip recorder. Within 24 hours of posting it, my inbox was jammed with people sending in more questions, and emails from people whose questions I chose who were just really excited about hearing their names. So I started doing it on a more regular basis, and in different ways.
When I was working on ideas for an online launch party for Rise & Shine, a couple of my launch team members joined me in a private chat so we could toss ideas around about how to make it a more personal experience for my readers in attendance. I knew I wanted something unique, something more like a real party, not just another Facebook party. That’s when we landed on the idea of having “special guests” who would offer a more diverse experience for readers. I asked a few of the writers who had provided endorsements of the book if they would shoot a short video, and all but one of them said absolutely they would. And I loved the idea of a community of writers coming to my “party” to enhance the experience for the readers who might not already know them, or know that they’re really good friends of mine.
What are some tips for authors who want to do something like this but are too shy about putting themselves out there?
I love this question. My greatest tip (as a former publicist) is to get over that! The truth is … I can hardly STAND to look at myself in pictures and on video. It makes my skin crawl because I’m so aware of every flaw. But I’ve come to believe that as long as I don’t have a booger in my nose or cereal in my hair, readers don’t care as much about what I look like as they do about the idea of getting to know the writer in me. That means showing them my personality, my humor, my frailties, whatever … just honestly, if that makes sense. I love my readers so much, and I don’t take their loyalty for granted. I like to surprise them, give them something now and then that they don’t get anywhere else. In return, they have rewarded me in ways I never could have imagined! Why? Because our connection is personal. And video is a tool to help that along.
Thank you, Sandie! I really enjoyed this perspective. It’s opened my eyes to the different ways you can connect with readers.
Here are the videos Sandie was talking about for Rise and Shine.
There was a post from author Eva Marie Everson (who is also her critique partner):
One from another author I adore, Cynthia Ruchti:
And another from our mutual friend, Debby Mayne:
I noticed that she also did a few videos to help promote the book, like a “Coming Soon” type video:
and another one used during an online launch party, where she read a passage from the book:
Sandie’s books always put a smile on my face. I just love her humor and characters. As an author, she shares her real life, flaws and fears and triumphs, and I like that. I think that “real” quality also spills over into her fiction.
Here are a few more books by Sandie Bricker:
- If the Shoe Fits
- Always the Baker, Never the Bride
- Raw Edges: Quilts of Love Series
- The Big 5-0!
- Merry Humbug Christmas