The author in front of the camera

Not every author can be as charismatic as Neil Gaiman. When Mr Gaiman talks, everyone listens… especially when he is reading from his own writings. He has a presence and a real sparkle in his voice. He makes it all look so easy. But, of course, it’s not.

Authors are constantly asked to sell their work and to be the public face of their writing — Public appearances, readings, school talks… and even promotional videos. There is a real interest from readers to see the person behind the books they read. But honestly, some authors are better off NOT appearing in the promotional videos for their books.

Go to YouTube and search under “author videos”. You’ll find a fair few videos that fall somewhere between not very good and downright embarrassing. You’ll find a few that range from good to excellent. But the vast majority will simply be rather ordinary. The author may speak well, the author may have something interesting to say — but the author fails to truly engage his/her audience.

Here’s an example. Eoin Colfer. He’s an author who has had enormous success, particularly with his Artemis Fowl books. His stories are loved the world over. But this video for his book, Airman, is rather ordinary…

But… take the same author, direct him a little, add some visuals and music, and do a bit of editing. Suddenly you have something that’s a little more interesting…

I thought that little bit of humour in the last few seconds of the video was a really nice touch. Humour is a powerful way for a speaker to get the attention of his listeners. Here’s a rather brilliant example of an author video that uses humour. Libba Bray talks about her YA novel, Going Bovine, while dressed as a cow. Very entertaining!

Of course, humour is not going to work for every author and every book. So what do you do when you’re promoting a book in which all adults fall victim to a terrible disease that turns them into zombies? Well, in this video, as Charlie Higson tells you about his YA novel The Enemy, he gradually succumbs to the disease. Well acted, nicely directed, with some good make-up effects, this production is a benchmark for author videos.

So, does anyone out there have any author videos they would like to share? Something brilliant? Something tragic? Leave a comment.

And tune in next time for one more post about videos. Come one, you know you love them!

Catch ya later,  George

PS. Follow me on Twitter… or I’ll post a video of myself telling you why you should follow me on Twitter.

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George Ivanoff

LITERARY CLUTTER: Bookish bloggings from the cluttered mind and bookshelf of Melbourne author, George Ivanoff. George is the author of the YOU CHOOSE books, the OTHER WORLDS series, the RFDS Adventures and the GAMERS trilogy.

4 thoughts on “The author in front of the camera”

  1. I remember, and am searching for, an article that appeared on theage.com.au about authors having to be “public figures” as well. If I find it, I’ll send you the link.

  2. Only thing that doesn’t work with the zombie clip is it’s much too long for a single idea book trailer. I got bored and scrolled to the end of the 7 minutes to confirm that the ending was what I was expecting.

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