Category Archives: A-Z Challenge 2015

V for Vlogging

vloggingTo Vlog or Not To Vlog?  That is the question.

Vlogging is blogging by video. A lot of ifs involved–if you don’t mind talking aloud. if you don’t mind being seen on screen, if you’re happy to post to screen sharing services like You tube, Screencast or Vimeo.

For : You can just talk to a camera and/or screen capture some slides. You can create a strong presence, find millions of followers, make money through advertising brands when successful. You might even sell some books.

Against: You have to talk on camera. You have to dress up–no more sitting around in pajamas and bunny slippers. You have to stockpile at least ten videos, vlog daily or at worst twice a week. You still have to produce transcripts of your vlog for those of us who hate sitting in front of videos. . .  See where I’m going with this?

Last year it was all the rage. Surveys this year show  vlogging  is far from the best option to use for marketing. According to the Daily Telegraph, it is bottom of the heap when it comes to converting message to money.

Skimming through the You Tube videos from the great and the good, I decided that the short fun ones seemed to have better responses. You have to be dedicated to sit through 30 minutes plus.


Now a nice how-to video using slide share and powerpoint slides posted every now and again could be a much better option.

Here’s how Dr John Yeoman of Writers’ Village made his first video.

Writers’ Village is a  wonderful site for conversation, classes and competitions, too. Well worth checking out.       V-copy

photo from Franky242 and Copy=ctrl+V from sscreations, both through Free Digital Photos


U for Underline

Your precious work-no-longer-in-progress is finished. You’ve discussed every problem in your critique circle, you’ve answered every criticism from the beta readers, you’ve self-edited it thirty plus times. Now you’re ready  to find a publishing home where editors will love and appreciate it as much as you do.

Next step is read the guidelines for submission. And amazingly, so many authors don’t.

What has this to do with Underlining?

Underlining used to be the industry standard for showing publishers a word or words to be put in italics.  Nowadays most guidelines request authors to use italics instead. Not all authors do.

Double spaces between sentences used to be obligatory. No longer. One space is the norm between words and sentences. It’s a hard habit to break but you can always use the find and replace function to swap two spaces for one.

And tabs–don’t mention tabs to an e-book editor. They play havoc with formatting.

If you’re self-publishing, you learn quickly. But if you want to be popular with an editor, try to follow the guidelines to the letter.

This year already several small presses have folded. Life is tough all round. So many authors are now submitting to comparatively few publishers.

Some reject work that doesn’t follow guidelines for submission out of hand. Give your book the best chance. Don’t underline if italics will do 🙂

And if you’ve got ten minutes, here’s where you need the italics.

T is for Trailer

trailer with logs fdpNo, not that sort of trailer, though it does remind me of the rate we’ve been going through logs this winter. 🙂

Video trailers may seem like an effort to produce but not nearly as back breaking as logging and loading trailers.

As in all promotional marketing “Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book” is a real turn off. Involve your readers, ask them for suggestions, ask questions in the video itself to intrigue readers.

A Memorable Campaign

One memorable campaign I remember well was not for a book but a course–Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel.  Holly gave away a booklet of tips highlighting everything that can go wrong in a first draft. She then posted this video on You Tube to illustrate one of her choices.

She offered prizes for readers to post their own videos illustrating any of the faults which appear in first drafts. They were hilarious.  For every reader who got involved there were probably hundreds of us watching the videos by the end.

Five years on, I still remember this promotion clearly and yes, I signed up for the course.

Video for the Faint Hearted

You may not have a video camera .

  • Try  involving friends and family who may be keen photographers–the video does not have to be long and most cameras/smart phones capture video.
  • Use still photos with caption slides along the lines of a silent film.
  • Use Jing as recommended in a previous post or its pay-for relation Snagit , which you can try for 15 days on  free trial.
  • Or easier still, take a look at Animoto where you can make thirty second videos on the free trial, using their templates and expertise.
  • Kathy Wheeler has a You Tube video on How to Make a Free Book Trailer.  But using that title in the You Tube search box brings up many more interesting free book trailer suggestions and tutorials.
  • For ideas and for uploading your own video when made, visit BookReels . I’ve just found this and it looks like another good letter T_owllearning and promotional experience.

trailer photo by Domdeen, owl by Theeradech Sanin, both from Free Digital Photos