Episode 178 – Book Covers, Video Storytelling, and Banned on Nook

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Question of the Week: Given the release of Wattpad’s Raccoon video app, do you think video storytelling will ever become a part of your author business? Why or why not?

With Jim’s 24 Hours of Free Author Marketing Club promo and Bryan’s crazy few weeks, there was a lot to discuss. After thanking their patrons, The Outline Book, Removed, and A Curse upon the Saints, the warriors of indie writing discussed networking, book cover redesigns, and Kindle Unlimited promos. News stories included Medium’s subscription service, Amazon’s review word cloud tool, Wattpad’s new Raccoon app, the Handbook for Mortals New York Times scandal, and Nook’s recent uneven bans on erotica authors. This week’s Question of the Week: Given the release of Wattpad’s Raccoon video app, do you think video storytelling will ever become a part of your author business? Why or why not?
What You’ll Learn:
  • How joining a dream team of collaborators can launch author careers
  • How one author improved sales with updated backlist covers
  • Why authors need to readjust their mindset when selling in Kindle Unlimited
  • What new updates Medium is implementing and how they benefit writers
  • What new Amazon feature is making it easier to assess reader interest
  • What app Wattpad is rolling out and how it helps creators connect with fans
  • What new scandal has infiltrated the New York Times bestseller ranks
  • Why some erotic writers are upset over changes in Nook’s content policy

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  • Rick Pine

    QOTW – I don’t foresee video storytelling will ever become a part of my business. Telling stories with video has been around for a very long time; they are normally called movies / films. Writing a story for video will require a different set of skills than it does for writing a novel. Skills I do not have. I’m sure there will be some exceptions that will be good at both. But generally novelist and screenwriters stick to what they are best at.

    • Bryan

      Movies! I knew I was forgetting some form of video storytelling ;).

  • Spider McGee

    Cynically write a bad, typo-riddled book with the purpose of breaking the bestseller list, eh?

    Stand back, I got this.

    • Bryan

      I have faith in you.

  • QOTW – Maybe, unless it becomes dominated by big budget video storytelling. A year or two back I watched The Lizzie Bennett Diaries. http://www.pemberleydigital.com/the-lizzie-bennet-diaries/

    LBD (and their other stories) are good examples of video storytelling on a reasonable budget and also cross media storytelling (video, plus characters had twitter accounts, web sites, blogs, etc.).

    • Bryan

      LBD looks fun. Reminds me of The Guild from a few years back.

    • Angela Marshall

      The Lizzie Bennett Diaries was the first thing I thought of from this story! I loved it, but even something on that scale takes a team to produce. I have a background in film and film production, but I don’t make videos as part of my author business. It is time intensive and a different medium and audience.

      • Yep. The only plus is that it’s mostly people sitting in one place talking to the camera, which saves money on sets. But it could still easily turn cheesy fast if the author takes the setting away from contemporary. Plus, there’s acting. That could get ugly. 🙂

        • Angela Marshall

          I thought the writing was cleverly done to allow everything to happen in front of one camera and still feel natural. For a story that changes setting a lot, they did a good job making everything happen in one place.

          • Agreed. I think there are possibilities there for Indies if they are clever. A Scifi story done like a Captain’s Log, for instance. A long distance romance hampered by the light speed delay.

            I have a couple of ideas, but they would be secondary or supporting stories to my main books, not really the main stories themselves. Probably.

  • C.E. Martin

    (Question of the week) Yes, Raccoon will definitely be part of my author business. I’ll be launching a series of Youtube videos in a few days, as a prelude to my first non-fiction project. Raccoon & Wattpad sound like another site I can post the videos to, hopefully channeling people to a mailing list, then to the non-fiction book’s December release. Great timing.

    • C.E. Martin

      I’ll add that this will probably become home to a lot of Life Hack and How-to videos as well.

    • Bryan

      Nice! Let us know how this goes :).

  • QOTW: I’m really interested to check out Raccoon. Earlier this year I was playing around with lyric video style short stories. Because I’m also a composer, I wanted to combine the music and stories so wrote some pieces of flash fiction to go alongside music I wrote ( https://youtu.be/bvLw_y8XvGs ). However, I kind of ran out of time plus realised YouTube isn’t really geared towards that kind of thing, so I wasn’t sure how I could possibly target any advertising, as most people listen to music or watch videos. Listening to stories didn’t seem a big thing.

    So I’ll definitely wander over Wattpad and see if Raccoon will be a viable place to launch this series again (perhaps in a slightly different format? Dunno) as I very much enjoyed doing it.

  • Angela Marshall

    If you haven’t read the sample for Handbook for Mortals, you should. It is terrible. They should have spent some (or all) of their marketing budget on an editor. Also, several reviewers on Amazon pointed out that the cover is plagiarized from another artist’s work. This whole project is a masterclass of what not to do when publishing.

    • Crissy Moss

      That cover isn’t plagiarism. It’s a derivative. It’s legal. Maybe not advisable, but legal. Many artists, and authors in fact, take inspiration from earlier works. “Steal like an Artist” is a really good book on the subject.

  • Stella Wilkinson

    Hi guys, great show as always, but you missed out a really important point about the NYT best seller scam. The reason everyone got so outraged and upset was not because it was a scam but because it took the #1 spot away from The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas (a searing politically charged drama about a young black girl who sees a
    police officer kill her friend, and the fallout it causes in her
    community.) People in the YA community are pretty passionate about that book. But, as you said, if they had gone for the #2 spot instead they might have actually got away with it. But I don’t think the readers could stand by and not see THYG top the list. Reader Power Rules! 🙂

    • Yep. Got greedy and got popped!

      Similarly, that clickbank author last month got greedy and made it to number one or top 10 on Amazon rather than just sticking to making a lot of money.

      Too much attention and you’re in the spotlight, for good or bad.

    • Bryan

      Good point, Stella. Hooray for Reader Power!

  • I’m with Jim on the Medium thing. The Wall Street Journal recently put their articles behind a paywall and I just stopped clicking on the links when people share them. Their articles are fine, but typically they are just like everyone else’s articles.

    These paywall and membership sites need something more than just articles to get people to pay. Where are the bonuses and special features? Where is the special access to the authors?

    Medium is pretty hit and miss. It’s JUST a platform, and if an author’s biggest fans are the gatekeepers and control their payments? It’s going to turn into a popularity contest.

  • To me the entire Raccoon question comes down to how it will be used in practice. This could range from authors who give a dramatic readings in their den to web serial producers using it as an alternate broadcast channel. Best case scenario, it attracts all of the above. As an author I have considered recording dramatic readings to MP3 for distribution from my site or as a reader magnet to my mailing list. Having to take the next step of adding a video component may be too big a leap for me at this time.

    • Crissy Moss

      It’s limited to just over a minute long, so I don’t think we’ll see full chapters in there… Yet.

      • Bryan

        I can write speedier chapters! The challenge is on :).

  • Crissy Moss

    I actually like this racoon thing better than Snapchat. It gives you ideas for short stories that you can tell, and you can watch other people’s little stories. There aren’t a lot of people there yet, but it’s been fun so far.

    • Bryan

      Oh nice. Thanks for checking it out!