Audio and Video for Marketing? Why Not?

Posted by September 16th, 2014

Arnold Baruch

There are so many ways to market your book these days! Book Country member Arnold Baruch shares his experience producing audio and visual content for his book EXODUS, STAGE LEFT, Top Rated on Book Country. Connect with Arnold

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People all around the world listen to books these days. In fact, the number of audio books released each year is now approaching 10,000, having grown at a 12.7% clip from 2009 to 2013. It’s now a $2 billion industry!   But here we are at Book Country, most of us (like me!) struggling to perfect our work and get noticed in a tough industry: print and/or e-books.

But audio is something you might want to consider when you’re ready.  Personally, my thoughts went to audio right away because I love doing voices. When I was a boy, my mother read to me with an Irish or Jewish dialect or maybe Italian. My cousin used to crack me up with his German spy character. My uncle, a well-known folk singer, spoke in a marvelous British accent.  Accents kind of run in the family.  (Unfortunately, we had no sensual Egyptian courtesans, so my female character in EXODUS, STAGE LEFT sounds like Archie Bunker’s wife. She’ll need a re-do. )

But I wanted to get the sound of my Legion Ayers character heard (he’s a bumbling New York Mike Hammer detective from the future). I also have some basic video production skills, built up over the years doing family videos and such. These came in handy, as I wanted to upload my reading to my YouTube channel. So I knocked out a rough version, just using visuals downloaded from Google Images.  It’s just a start.

Even so: yesterday, when I emailed a query to an agent, I added my YouTube link and (was it because of that?) she got right back to me and said she found my concept interesting. EXODUS, STAGE LEFT is currently a Top Rated selection on Book Country.

Courtney Landi’s recent post stresses Facebook as a critical tool for building your fan base.  Particularly in FB, a good audio or video can be effective.  As I say, the graphics can be super simple.  And most Google Images are not proprietary; in the many years I’ve freely used them, no one has complained. But visual simplicity helps focus a listener’s mind on your words. Good prose spoken can get inside a potential reader’s (or agent’s) head in ways the printed page can’t. You want to grab their interest with a few favorite passages from your book. Just your book cover might suffice.

I’m not talking here about an actual book “trailer,” a commercial integrating video with a sales pitch.  Book trailers have been big for several years now, with major authors’ promo clips rivaling the look of movies. Pricey.

Finally, you may wish to upload audio only, a simpler task than creating video. That itself can be very powerful – if it’s done right!  You can mix in background sound effects and music to heighten the drama, as I did with my video. Music does amazing things to narration. Your Mac may have a bunch of effects in Garage Band.  Or here’s a site with goo-gobs of free sound effects and music: http://www.freesfx.co.uk

What?  You don’t do eight different ethnic voices?  Your James Cagney sounds like Ethyl Merman?  Well, maybe you don’t need a special voice. If you do, or if you just don’t like your own, there’s plenty of talent available online, starting, for the pecuniarily-challenged, at Fiver.com.

Actually, if you like what I did, feel free to contact me on Book Country or acbaruch@gmail.com and we could have some fun making your words live and breathe and whisper divinely into people’s ears.  I just don’t do courtesans.  Yet.

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 About Arnold Baruch

Arnold Baruch, a graduate in psychology at Cal Berkeley, is the author of two Legion Ayers Mystery novellas, a full length historical fiction novel, 1961, and numerous essays on his experiences in Japan.  He has taught English in Japan for over 20 years.  Arnold also produces his own music videos – he’s played jazz saxophone professionally for many years – and does some narration recordings in Tokyo.  

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