According to a statement issued by Cisco, “Internet video is now at 40 percent of consumer internet traffic and will reach 62 percent by the end of 2015.” Videos are the most shared, social media-friendly way to promote your book. Whether providing general information or a how-to on a specific topic, video—when done right—can be a compelling way to create buzz around your book.

You can easily create your own promotional video using the following tips.

Tips for Making a Video

  • The main goal in creating and uploading a video is to convert browsing customers into buyers.
  • The video MUST be tied in to the book in some way.
  • Think of the video as the movie trailer for your book — give them something, but leave them wanting more.
  • Brevity is key! Keep your video well under three minutes. A few 60 to 90 second segments on key topics will also work nicely.
  • Less is more. Draw out no more than one or two interesting concepts from the book.
  • Videos that incorporate photos or other visuals are very effective at keeping the customer’s attention.
    • Use graphics, recipes, charts, and/or catchphrases from your book.
  • Use music to tie the elements of your video together.
  • Start and end your video with the book cover image.
  • The types of videos listed below can all work for a book — think about which type closely relates to your book and style.
    • “How-to” videos are a great way to give a customer practical help on a subject.
    • Give behind-the-scenes information; show a character or topic that was widely discussed in the book.
    • Write a quick Q&A session, keeping it under 3 minutes
    • Tell an interesting story from the book — for example, maybe there’s a great story behind why the book is titled the way it is — let people know.
    • Establish credibility by sharing helpful advice from the book.
  • Videos with external links will not be allowed to be posted to major online retailers. However, you can create two versions; one with the external link for personal use and one without a link to post to online retailers. (Your marketing manager and/or editor can assist you with posting your video to online retailers.)

In advance of the shoot

Think about these questions before you start:

  • What do I want the film to be? What does it have to achieve?
  • Should it be an interview or should I talk directly to the camera?
  • Is there any support material such as pictures or moving footage to which I can refer? Please remember that you may need to get legal clearance for these!
  • How long is the finished film going to run?
  • How many finished pieces do I need to create?
  • Put together bullet points, a story idea before you film. This will help you remember your material and break the material up into manageable segments.
  • If you are going to shoot at a location, make sure it adds to the message of the film.
  • Relax, be yourself!
  • Film in a quiet, relaxed location with a clean, attractive background. Add some props, like a flower arrangement or a lamp. Avoid mirrors or darkened windows that reflect.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Select solid colors in the center of the color spectrum — not too dark or light. Jewel tones such as emerald green, royal blue and deep gray work well. AVOID white, black, yellow, bright red, patterns, dots, or checks. The video process can make these vibrate. Your clothing should not distract from your message, but enhance it.
  • If you will be wearing a clip-on microphone, try to wear a scarf, jacket, tie, or cardigan so that it can be clipped to you securely.
  • No dangly jewelry or noisy metallic jewelry on wrists or ears.
  • Be aware of your posture! Sit up straight, keep legs together, and arms resting
    comfortably. Arms at your sides with hands in lap or along the arms of a chair look
    very natural.
  • No pointing at the camera. Never turn your back to the camera.
  • When you look at the camera, try to think of it as if it were someone you knew well. Think of this as a viewer on the other side of the camera that is connecting with you.
  • Relaxed, friendly, natural eye contact is best. Enjoy yourself!

Making a Great Video

  • One of the best investments you can make is a good microphone so that your audio is clear. A lapel microphone will ensure the best audio capture.
  • Camera should be on a boom or a tripod. The shot should be stable with little or no movement, unless intentional.
  • There should be no background noise and limited echo. Sounds should be in stereo and consistent throughout.
  • Even if using only one camera angle, a minimum of two shots should be used, if possible.
  • Be consistent: if the shoot is happening over multiple days, wear the same outfit.
  • Edits between scenes should be kept very tight.
  • Graphics or music should be included to keep viewer interest.
  • Titling should be proofread for any spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Subject should be well lit.
  • Camera shots of speakers/subjects should be “tight” on the subject. Keep in mind that most videos online are relatively small.

Video Upload and Sharing Requirements

Once you’ve developed your video, we suggest that you upload it to YouTube. You’ll need a YouTube account, but the upload process is both simple and free. Then you can link to it from your website or blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Also share it with your editor and marketer. They may be able to have it featured on the online booksellers and your “Buy the Book” page on

We recommend that you use the following requirements when creating your video:

  • Resolution should be a minimum of 720×480 (or 640×480 )
  • Format should be Windows Media (wmv) or QuickTime (.mov)
  • Video must have a data rate of at least 6000 kbps
  • If it is an option, export your video to the “high” or “best” setting
  • Choose the “H.264” option if given the choice to compress your video
  • Quicktime or WMV files are always preferred
  • Source resolution cannot be smaller than ultimate output. Ex: a 240 x 180 video cannot be increased to be shown at 320 x 240 without quality degradation.
  • Frame rate, or fps, should be at least 24 or higher
  • Acceptable audio formats are m4a, mp3, AIFF, WAV, WMA
  • Depending on the end-user connectivity or the size of the target audience, web specifications can change greatly; when in doubt, always request the highest quality possible and the size can be reduced

Finally, for your protection as well as ours, please complete our permissions checklist and follow the legal guidelines for video

Examples of author videos.