Book review: Video Marketing for Dummies

After attending a panel on using videos for book marketing at this year’s American Society of Journalists and Authors conference , I requested a review copy of Video Marketing for Dummies, the new book co-authored by two of the presenters, Kevin Daum and Matt Scott. (They have two other co-authors.)

Their basic premise is that authors shouldn’t be using PowerPoint to create videos without people. In fact, if you want to learn how to convert a PowerPoint file into video, or to do a “talking into my computer’s webcam” video, don’t buy this book. It has one paragraph on the topic — and that paragraph says, essentially, “You can do better than that.”

The authors say that we should be writing and recording short scripts featuring stories and actors. During their panel, they used their own book trailer as an example.

It’s compelling, isn’t it? Don’t you want a video like this for your book?

You’re storytellers!

“You’re storytellers!” they kept saying. “You’re creative! You can do this.”

Can I? And will their book show me how to do it?

Yes to both.

Have I done it yet?


But that doesn’t matter right now — I’ll make the time for this eventually because I know that even if what I create isn’t top quality, I’ll have fun in the process (and I am all about the fun).

Learn how to script, shoot, edit, share

What counts is that the book walks non-videographers like you and me through the process, covering everything from camera options (Daum and Scott say that point-and-shoot cameras with HD video capability work just as well for this as flip camcorders) to editing software (start with the free software that came with your computer — iMovie for a Mac and Windows Live Movie Maker for a PC) to scripting and casting and shooting. There’s information on the importance of music and how to add it as well as how to share and promote your video.  (Make sure you check out the book’s “cheat sheet” with tips, too.)

Video Marketing for Dummies offers the technical know-how we need to create scripted and acted videos that tell a story. I still need help, though, figuring out the story I might tell and how to incorporate the humor the authors think is essential for video marketing. My new book, Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book, solves a problem for authors, so I can see how I could script a problem/solution story. But making it funny and entertaining? That will take some thought — and probably a brainstorming session with a couple of smart friends and a bottle of Justin cabernet.

Did you create a book trailer or video? Have you seen one that you love? Share the link here!

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  1. Great review! Though I am in the business of creating these type of videos for authors, I agree that many can do so on their own. It takes courage to be a writer (I know, I am one) and that same courage can be used to explore video creation. God bless!

    1. Thanks, Michael. What do you think is the most important element of a book video?


      1. I suppose I could summarize it in one word: clarity.

        Whether it is the speed of each frame or the wording or audio track or narration, there needs to be a clear, distinct message.

        I’ve seen videos that scroll so fast that no one can read the text or with such distorted pictures that they only added confusion. Even narrations with weak voices or garbled words will only add to confusion.

        So, if you are creating a book trailer video, make sure that your message and media are clear. 🙂

  2. I am often funny in my speeches and writing, but for my book trailer video, I stuck with being informative and warm, because the subject of my book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex, can feel scary to the very people who need it most. Here’s my video:

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