Monday, July 17, 2006

Meet the author

Meet the author is a web site which enables you to see (short) videos of authors talking about their books. I didn't expect much from it, but it turns out to be quite good. (Thanks to my son Jon for the link.)

On the front page there's a list of the ten most popular videos. And, er, let's put this way: out of the ten, I'd only ever heard of three of the authors.

One was Neil Gaiman, so I watched him, and the video was quite amusing. Rather more amusing, in fact, than the book he was talking about (Anansi Boys), which I didn't get on with at all.

Another name I recognised was Tanya Byron; she is a UK psychiatrist who runs TV shows about how to deal with difficult children. And I must say, I was a bit shocked by the way this TV pundit goes in for the hard sell. Talk about salesmanship. However, if you've got a badly behaved child then I dare say her book (Little Angels) might be quite helpful.

Chris Ryan, my third recognised name, is the fellow who writes really hard-nosed thrillers about SAS men on secret missions. I've never read any of them, but Ryan spent ten years in the SAS so he presumably knows the background pretty well.

After that I went in search of a few names I thought of. Josephine Cox, for instance, proves to be another woman who is not backward in coming forward to praise her own book. Clearly one of the requirements for a modern successful author is a healthy awareness of their own remarkable talent.

Christopher Brookmyre, my final choice, is by contrast a modest enough fellow, and he makes his book (which I mentioned only the other day) sound a great deal more interesting than I actually found it. So that's what it was all about.

If you're an unknown author, without much in the way of facilities, but you think you'd like to plug your book via a video on the web, go to You Tube and take a look. Seth Godin recommends that everyone who wants to make a reputation for themselves should have a presence there.

As an example of what can be done, try this one by Lisa Nova. She's not a writer (as far as I know) but it's effective and intriguing.


Roger Morris said...

If you remember, Michael, I did my own DIY version of a meet the author clip. From memory, I seem to think MTA were charging around £400 to do a film. I just put my little sony digital on the table in front of me and spouted. It's not perfect - and the problem with doing all these promotional things is how do you get people to see them? Anyhow, the good folk at MNW liked the idea so much they made little films of all the first six authors and put them on their amazon pages. That's quite a good idea, I think, though I don't know how many shoppers know they are there.

By the way, have you noticed this trend for publishers to do movie-style trailers for their books. I see that Snowbooks have done one, and a small US publisher called kunati ( have had a go too. Be interested to know what you think, if anything.

Jon Allen said...

So come on then Dad, when are you going to put up a video to promote "How and why,Lisa's Dad got to be famous" ?

Anonymous said...

Wow. I think those videos are fascinating. I really liked Toby Young's video. I actually found it amazingly candid and even poignant.

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