I’m not a techie. At least not one who gushes over the latest gadget or app and speaks in enough acronyms to impersonate a robot.
Yes, I set up my own website, designed the cover for several books, and do most of my writing on my iPad’s Scrivener app using a Bluetooth keyboard. What you don’t know is that I’m a self-made rookie techie by necessity with a lot of trial and error along the way. (Which is one motivation behind The Author Toolbox where I tried to save other authors a few hair-pulling headaches by sharing exactly what worked for me.)
But when it comes to trying something new, I’m old school. As in sweat, panic, and procrastinate until I finally roll up my sleeves, do my research, and simply start.
Case in point? Video as a marketing tool.
I dabbled a few years ago to create a book launch video using my laptop’s webcam to film myself explaining the ins and outs of football from a woman’s perspective. I accidentally figured out how to upload the results to YouTube and was able to share it several places. But I know nothing about editing and all the tools I saw meant out-of-pocket costs and a steep learning curve. So, like any self-respecting author, I retreated back into my next manuscript and tried to pretend it never happened.
Then came Facebook Live and another push from within the author community to put my bumbling, stumbling, um-uttering self on camera without the chance for either editing or a do-over. Yeah. Did a couple of those for another book launch and cringe when I recall how high-pitched my soprano voice can reach when I’m nervous.
Still, video sells. It attracts attention from a visual generation and with more social media platforms supporting video, I couldn’t neglect this marketing avenue forever. About the time I’d decided to risk the Facebook Live gauntlet again, I stumbled upon a different way to create professional looking book trailers. For free. Really? Who wouldn’t jump at a way to promote their books while still avoiding the need to personally appear on camera or redecorate the office so their background shot wasn’t humiliating proof that they hate to dust and collect haphazard stacks of books?
Or is that just me?
Anyway, I ran across a quick tutorial for Adobe Spark and after spending a hour honing my sales copy down to the thirty most impactful words, I took a deep breath and dove in. Within a surprisingly short amount of time, I had created a custom Spark Video using free images accessible from inside the program, picked my fade-in effects from their themes, and chosen music to fit the mood. It was easy to preview, adjust the length of time each slide displayed, and then download the file.
With the finished videos on my computer, I was able to upload them to YouTube, making them easily embedded or shared other places. I also uploaded them directly to my Goodreads page, onto individual sales pages on Amazon, onto book pages on my website, and into Facebook where I can now repeatedly share the video into various reader groups for more exposure.
Want a peek at what this non-techie did?
Cost of the above? My time. That’s it. (Yes, I could upgrade to a paid version and remove their watermark branding if I wanted.)
Return on my investment? Still being measured. But an additional bonus for me beyond book sales and increased visibility is the knowledge that this older girl can still learn new things. Techie or not.
What about you? Where are you on the techie scale? Do you enjoy learning new things? What do you want to learn how to do next?