NaNoPubMo: Day 24

Thinking about how to spiff up the author website I don’t yet have. Yesterday I sat down and designed the site content, complete with most of the text. Marketing copy is not my favorite thing to write, but thinking of the content that way is a dandy idea. Starting off by being self-conscious — “Gosh, it’s my new website! Welcome, friends and future friends!” — would be a disaster. We want professional polish.

As I was describing this enterprise to a friend, he surprised me by suggesting that I add video to the site. He’s a video fiend. He has, you know, cameras and tripods and video editing software. I hadn’t considered it, but it’s obviously an idea that’s worth taking seriously. Not just because this is the Age of the Internet and everybody loves eye candy, but because it would help the site appear classy. High-budget. Uptown, not a do-it-yourself production.

But what to put in the video? The easy thing would be to shoot a few minutes of me reading aloud from one of the novels. From a marketing standpoint, though, this idea falls flat. The primary intended audience for the Leafstone series is teenage girls. I’m not sure it’s strictly a YA story, because it’s an epic adventure. It’s not about the travails of growing up, that’s for sure. I hope adults will enjoy the story just as much as younger readers! Even so, a video of a 68-year-old man with jowls reading aloud is just not the right image to entice that readership.

Here’s a better idea: Have a teenage girl interview me about the book(s). The video would show her smilin’ face alternating with mine. Also, I’m more animated when I talk about stuff than when I’m reading aloud, and animated facial expressions are good video. I happen to know a couple of girls; they’re my cello students. Whether they would be willing to do it — we’ll see.

Video production is not something I know much about. My friend doesn’t have lights, because his camera work has for some years been devoted to documenting orchestra concerts. So I phone another friend who is into video — a guy I played in a rock band with back in the Dark Ages. He has lights, editing software, and a green screen. He suggests that my living room isn’t large enough to set up a two-person shoot. He recommends doing the shoot in front of the green screen and then adding the living-room background during editing.

I’m starting to see how complicated this could get. Oh, and I dare not forget the legal details. If a girl appears in the video, her parent or guardian has to sign a release form.

I think I need to get the website designed and built first, before I add video. Trying to do everything at once is a recipe for confusion. And whether anyone will ever see the video … how exactly am I going to entice folks to visit the website? I haven’t thought about that yet.

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