Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Facebook Author App: Feedback Anyone?

Facebook is finally starting to catch up with authors who use the site to promote books. Similar to their Social Store, the new Author App easily lets authors add their books to a fan page. 
On my page,, you can see the snazzy red button that invites you to “Read My Book.” Clicking on that brings you to my new author store. Here you can see short bio about moi, along with a listing of my books, which is linked to Amazon. 
Social Media Billboards from Castelane. Now only $5.00 !
There are also links to your website, to sign up for a newsletter, and a list of current signings. Pretty snazzy. I was able to set up my Author App in less than five minutes. Here’s the link to get yours.
Since this is a new app, I’m curious to get feedback from other authors. Was this app easy for you? Have you received any new likes since adding it? Do you have any concerns about the app?
I do. My main concern is that if Facebook links to Amazon, does it get an affiliate fee if our books sell through this app? I have an affiliate account with Amazon for my websites. I make about 4% on any book sold through the link. Every author knows that 4% is nothing to sneeze at. I would assume that if the Author app takes off, Facebook will get many sales through it. Their affiliate rate could go up to 6% or more. Shouldn’t they be more transparent about this income? 

Feel free to post your thoughts on this new app below.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Book Video Trailers for Book Promotion

book trailers
Trying to promote your book, but can’t seem to find any traction with more traditional methods? Book trailers are one of the newest and coolest ways to create a little buzz for your book or novel. These short videos for book promotion act as mini “book commercials,” helping you to spread the word about your new book to tons of new fans, while creating a brand for you and your book.

At Castelane, we offer a few different types of book trailers so you can choose the best option for you and your budget.

Our most popular option is the Book Trailer Snap. It’s a 45-60 second spot that uses quality royalty-free images to convey the main themes of the book, in order to stir up some excitement and potential readers. At only $200, it’s one of the most affordable ways to publicize your book.

If you’re looking to take your book trailer production up a notch, the Snap Plus is the way to go. It’s still a 45-60 second spot, but this option includes live action video to create even more of an emotional connection with your audience.

For a longer video, the Book Trailer Touchstone is a perfect choice. It keeps the same still images and live action video format as Snap Plus, but offers 90-120 seconds of video so you can keep your audience’s attention for even longer. At only $500, this longer video is still incredibly affordable as you market your book.

Some books lend themselves better to animation than live action video, and that’s why we offer Simply Animation, a 60-90 second spot with still images and animation, and Animation Reigns, a 90-120 second video that goes a little more in-depth with full animation. These options allow you to bring your book to life through animation.

Each of the above choices has the option to add on a voice over for $200 extra. When you choose to use a voice over, we find a talented voice actor in our pool of professionals who will be perfect for your book. This is a great option because hearing can convey so much more information than reading alone. In fact, with the narrator, your video can convey twice as much information! Narration in these videos also gives the viewer a chance to make more of an emotional connection with your story.

Finally, if you’re looking for the very best in book trailers, look no further than our Book Trailer Narrator option. This option gives you the best of the best: a five-minute video, voice narration from one of our talented actors, images, video, sound effects and animated titles and backgrounds. With the Narrator option, you can bring an excerpt of your book to life, or you can take viewers through an entire series or anthology of your books. The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Social Media for Authors — How To Market a Book Online

Many writers and aspiring authors have realized the power of social media to allow them to connect with their fan base and build a platform. Unfortunately, doing a good job of marketing yourself and your book through social media can be complicated. It’s hard to know where to start, where to allocate your time and what types of messages you should send as you build your platform.

social media marketing for authors 
There are a lot of social networks out there, so let’s start by looking at each one individually and talking about the key to success on each network:

You’re likely the most familiar with Facebook — many of us have been using it for years to stay connected with our friends online. But, things get a little different when you’re also using it for business.

There are now a couple of choices for authors looking to promote themselves online: They can create a Facebook page that they can encourage fans to “Like,” or they can allow and encourage people to subscribe to their updates. People who subscribe to your updates will see posts you marked as public.

Whichever path you decide to take, make sure you’re giving your fans value — update regularly and give them a chance to interact. This means asking questions, sharing interesting content, running polls and otherwise improving your fans’ experience.

You probably know a thing or two about Twitter already. The site is well known for its character limits and mostly text updates, but, unless you’re already using Twitter on a regular basis, chances are you don’t know the best way to interact on the network.

A lot of people see Twitter as a great tool for blasting their message out to everyone who will listen. Of course, if this is how you treat the network, you probably won’t end up with too many people listening. The best goal when using Twitter is to add value to the conversations you find there. You can do this by finding other people who care about the same things you do and join the conversations they’re having. Retweet content, post interesting articles and share interesting things. Only after you do all of that should you devote some of your posts to self-promotion. Think about using the 80/20 rule to promote yourself: 80 percent of your tweets should be about adding value to other conversations, and 20 percent can be about self-promotion.

You might be thinking “What does Google+ have that I can’t get on Facebook or Twitter?” It’s a common question. But Google+ does offer a couple of valuable features that you can’t find on Facebook and Twitter. First, Google Hangouts, the video chat service found on Google+. Google Hangouts are a great way to give your fans a time to interact directly with you. The other interesting feature Google+ offers is Communities. These communities tend to have a small group of active and passionate members who discuss interesting topics, ranging from books to movies to hobbies and more.

YouTube can be an incredibly powerful network to build your marketing platform. The community on YouTube is very active — more than 6 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each month and millions of channel subscriptions happen each day, according to YouTube. Use YouTube to talk about the things that make you passionate, excited or angry. People are always looking for the most authentic channels to subscribe to, so find the topics that are important to you and make a YouTube video.

LinkedIn is a great place for authors looking for publishers and agents, but it’s also fantastic for someone looking to position themselves as experts is a field, which is important if you’re planning to write a business book. Post regularly and join groups related to your book and interests. Additionally, be sure you connect with people you might like to know, including publishers, agents and other authors.

Could there better social network for authors than one centered around books? Goodreads is where booklovers go to connect with their friends and people with similar taste in books. This site is a great place to answer reader questions, connect with people and promote your book. You can host giveaways to ramp up excitement for your book, encourage reviews and learn more about what people like when they read a book.

What are your best tips for social media? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Getting the Most Out of YouTube

By Kim McDougall
Video has become an integral part of book marketing. A quick scan of posts on social media or news sites shows that the majority of information passing from computer to computer is now in the form of video. Viewers would rather click play than scan a long document. This means that if you target readers only through the written word, you may be missing a large audience.
The easiest way to get video spread throughout the web is with YouTube. Everyone knows YouTube. It’s where you load your video and then link to all your other social sites. But YouTube can be much more than a source site for your video. In fact, YouTube is more complex than most people realize. When I started writing this article, I quickly realized that there is too much information about  for one blog post. So I’m splitting it into four parts that I’ll post over the next month. 
Part 1: Channel and Upload Settings. Learn how to get the most out of your YouTube Channel with custom channel art, tag and video sharing options.
Part 2: Advanced YouTube Options. Learn how to enhance your videos with with effects and annotations as well the pros and cons of monetizing your videos.
Part 3: Promoting with YouTube. Learn now to leverage the YouTube community to get the most exposure for your videos.
Part 3: Book Video Genres. Now that you have a great YouTube channel, learn the different kinds of videos you can use to attract book buyers.

Part 1: Channel and Upload Settings

Channel Preferences
Like most social media sites, you can customize the look of your YouTube channel. Adding a banner lets viewers get to know you at a glance. Be sure to make your banner personal rather than simply posting a background photo. Add your book covers or images that represent your genre. No need to include your bio image in the banner. YouTube will add the avatar from your Google account but be sure to leave blank space where this image will be located.  In the Castelane banner below, you can see where the avatar and url links will be. 

To add a banner:
  1. Make sure you are signed into your YouTube account.
  2. Hover over the the top right of the banner image to view the edit icon (looks like a pencil). 
  3. Click “Upload Channel Art” to upload your image. 
Note: Recommended channel art size: 2560 x 1440. Max file size: 2 MB. Jpg’s are best.
Once you have your banner art looking the way you like it, you can add a live url link to the banner. This will allow viewers to quickly link to your website, blog or other social media site. YouTube allows one website and up to four social media site links on your banner.

To add a banner link:
  1. Hover over the the top right of the banner image to view the edit icon (looks like a pencil). 
  2. Click “Edit Links” to add the name and url of your website or other social media sites.
Note: This link will appear on your banner. You may need to alter the banner image to accommodate it.

Description, Keywords and Thumbnail

For each video add descriptions, keywords and a thumbnail at the time of upload or later, in the Video Manager (Find the Video Manager by clicking on your username at the top right corner of the screen). Be sure that the description is relevant. A good one line hook along with your title, author name and website address should be sufficient. If you’re willing to change your descriptions frequently, you can add promo information or links to new videos here too. Include the name of your publisher if you want viewers to purchase books on the publisher site.
Keywords allow search engines to find your video. YouTube allows up to 500 characters in the keyword field. This means anywhere from 20-35 keywords. So choose your words wisely. No need to include the title and author here. Those will already be searchable from your description. Instead, include the genre and tags that are specific to your book. Think of how readers might search for your book and use those tags. Try to be specific, but not too specific. “Book trailer” is better than “book trailers” and you don’t need to add both. 
Another option after upload is to choose the thumbnail that will represent your video. This is the freeze-frame that viewers will see before they click play. YouTube automatically generates three thumbnails, pulling them from near the beginning, middle and end of the video. Try to pick one that has your book cover if possible. If none of YouTube’s thumbnails are suitable, you may have the option to upload a custom image. This option is only available to verified YouTube accounts in that are partners in good standing. In simple terms, this means that YouTube verifies you are a real person, you sign up for a partner account and adhere to YouTube’s community policies. 
Verifying your account and becoming a YouTube partner can seem like a lot of work, but it only needs to be done once, and the benefits are worth the effort, including features such as the custom thumbnail and the ability to upload videos longer than 15 minutes. In coming blog articles we’ll talk more about monetization and you’ll need to be verified for that too.
To verify your account:
  1. Click your name in the upper right corner. 
  2. Choose “Video Manager” 
  3. Choose “Channel Settings”
  4. Choose “Verify.” 
  5. Follow the instructions from there. 
To become a YouTube partner:
  1. Click your name in the upper right corner. 
  2. Choose “Video Manager” 
  3. Choose “Channel Settings”
  4. Click “Enable” beside the Monetization option
  5. Follow the instructions from there.
Note: Simply enabling Monetization does not mean ads will be automatically added to your videos. This simply gives you the option to do so. Ads must be added to each video individually. Look for more information about the pros and cons of monetization in coming blogs.
You will notice under “Channel Settings” that your account status will show if you are “in good standing” with YouTube’s community policies. Be sure to follow guidelines on policy and copyrights to keep your account compliant.  YouTube will notify you of any violations. Here are three links that will help you better understand YouTube Policy and Copyright Management:

Learn about YouTube Policies
Learn about Copyright on YouTube
A Few Cautionary Words about Royalty-Free from the Castelane Knowledge Base

YouTube and Social Media

The last feature on the upload page is one that automatically posts your video to your social media pages (Google+, Facebook and Twitter). This share feature can save you time when you want to get your video in front of as many viewers as possible, but it will only work if you do two things:
  1. Make your video public. Private and unlisted videos are not shared. 
  2. Link your YouTube account to your social media sites. You need to tell YouTube where to send your videos. 
To link your YouTube channel to Twitter and Facebook:

  1. Click your name in the upper right corner. 
  2. Choose “YouTube Settings.” This will bring you to an overview page. 
  3. Choose “Connected Accounts” from the left nav menu and then 
  4. Click “Connect” to Twitter and Facebook and then enter your account information.

    Note: Since Google owns YouTube, linking your YouTube page should be automatic if you created the account under the same username. If not, check your Google+ settings to link accounts. 


    Once you have several videos on your channel, you can create playlists. This is particularly useful if you have series of books or if you write in different genres. Create a playlist for each and viewers will have to click only one link to view all the videos in the list. Even more effective, use the embed tool to embed an entire playlist on your website rather than taking up more space to paste individual videos. 
    To create or add to playlists:

    1. Click your name in the upper right corner. 
    2. Choose “Video Manager” 
    3. Click the checkbox beside the video(s) that you want to add to a playlist.
    4. In the top menu, choose “Playlist” 
    5. From the drop-down menu, select the playlist you want to add the videos to or choose “Add to New Playlist” to create a new one.
      Note: You can add the same video to several different playlists.
      In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to explore YouTube by looking at some of the more advanced options such as enhancements, annotation and monetization. In Part 3 we’ll look at accessing the YouTube community to leverage your promotional opportunities.  I’d love to hear your comments and questions. Please leave your feedback below.

      In 2007, Kim McDougall had her first book published and began the arduous journey of marketing her novel. This was the beginning of era of ebooks. Amazon was getting ready to launch the first Kindle. The world was becoming a multi-media social network jungle. Kim immersed herself in the publishing industry and discovered the newest marketing tool: book trailers. She created her first trailer for her young adult novel, The Stone Beach. Having been a photographer all her life, she had a flare for the creation of these visually stimulating videos that promoted books. Soon, other authors started asking her to produce trailers for their books and McDougall Previews was born. Since then, she has created over 400 unique videos to promote books of all genres. Under the business, Castelane, Inc., Kim has joined forces with her husband, Louis Chatel, a former Sales and Marketing Director, to create an all-in-one shopping experience for both the authors looking to market a book and for readers looking for their next great read.

      The Castelane blog will feature guest authors, artists and publishers, writing about marketing, publishing and the joys and angsts of the writing life. If you’d like to contribute to either the Castelane blog or the Knowledge Base, please contact us at
We’d also love to hear your experiences about your favorite books or interesting teachers. Feel free to post them here.