Friday, July 31, 2015

Screen Time

Hi everyone! It’s Kelsey again. I hope you’ve been having a great summer. I’ve taken a big long break from Word Painters because I was traveling and working on some other projects.

This summer, I’ve been a participating author in Homeschooled Author’s Read-to-Win program (Sarah Holman has done great work there!), and part of the authors’ job was to make short videos of themselves answering specific questions. At first I was stymied—aren’t authors known for their writing, rather than their speaking? But I soon realized it required no special oratory skills, that the best videos were the simplest and friendliest, and that I could actually do this.

Why might you, as an author or blogger, want to post videos of yourself? Consider how close you feel to someone when you can see their face and hear their voice, as opposed to just reading their emails or letters. Seeing a video of someone stands in for that real-life interaction, better acquainting you with that person. The closer readers feel to an author, the more devoted they become as fans. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to discover what your favorite author or blogger, or any person you know only online, speaks and acts like. Why not give that to your readers?

What should you talk about? Authorly things are ideal—introducing yourself and what you write, giving an update on your WIP, making special announcements, explaining how you write, or giving writing advice. You could also wax lyrical on your favorite books or some other passion that you want readers to know about. It’s a fun way to start a discussion—you can ask a question at the end that readers can answer in the comments section. Make these videos personal to you! 

How do you video yourself? Preferably as high-quality as you can, but any normal camera can make a decent video. Any less-than-stellar incident (an unexpected noise, a mispoken word) in your filming might actually endear you to your listeners—you’re human and you’re accessible (that’s my philosophy, at least—others might suggest nothing but the best quality). I would recommend not memorizing a speech … for my first videos, I memorized something and sounded stiff as a mannequin. Speaking from your heart can be intimidating; I can’t completely do it yet, but when I do have something written down to say, I consciously try to make it sound as though I don’t. In my mind, the key to a successful video is to sound friendly and conversational—as though you are speaking directly to the listener, not reading a book to them.

Where do you post these videos? Upload them onto Youtube (make an account first) and from there it’s easy to post them on your blog. (Blogger, at least, doesn’t have room for videos more than 100MB in size.) When people find out about your book or blog, they’ll be thrilled to discover they can get to know you better!

Obviously not everyone will be comfortable doing this, but have you ever videoed yourself and posted it online? Would you want to? Do you have any tips you can share?

Kelsey Bryant is an author, blogger, and copy editor who loves the Lord. She revels in many things: the beauty of God's Word, the music of English, the wonder of nature, the joy of creativity, the freedom of motion, the richness of literature, the intrigue of history ... and much more. To learn more about her, visit her website or blog

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