Shooting a promotional video for a historical novel

Just a few thoughts on shooting a promotional video to publicise a historical novel and posting it on social media websites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc., with a view to attracting a wider audience, although these ideas might also be useful for someone who wants to publicise another kind of product, as well.

Firstly, it doesn’t have to be a video in the usual sense of the word.

I was of the impression that you had to shoot a full length video, with a cast of thousands, and maybe with someone like Meryl Streep in a starring role.

Not so.

It doesn’t even have to have any moving images.

Instead, it can be a series of still photos, which gradually appear as a slide show, with one photo. slowly fading out and another one replacing it.

This might seem pretty challenging if you don’t have any experience of film making or photography.

But there’s plenty of free software out there to help you.

One called VLC springs to mind, but there are plenty of others, just search for ‘photo editor with slide show’ (without the quotation marks.)

So how to shoot a promotional video for a historical novel?

Keep in mind that I haven’t done this before so am no expert, but here are a few thoughts.

Include a few historical scenes, maybe old sketches or illustrations,  from the period you are writing about.

Include a few very short scenes – just a few words, from your novel.

Here’s another thought.

Instead of using the same typeface that you’ve used in your novel, which will probably be a pretty boring (but easy to read) typeface, why not use a more decorative one?

Instead of using  the 11 or 12 point Arial typeface that you might have used as the body text in your novel, why not use a larger size more decorative one? 

Maybe you could consider including some music from the period you are writing about.

For example.

In my case, with my novel ‘Rebel Liar,’ which is set in the American civil war, I might have the Confederate song ‘Dixie,’ and/or the Union (‘Yankee’ song ‘John Brown’s Body,’  playing in the background, when I finally get around to shooting the promotional video.

And instead of using the same typeface that I used in the novel, I might use the same font that was used in the title, what is called a ‘display’ font, but in a smaller size.

Here’s a thought.

What about the music for a promotional video for a novel which is set in the medieval era, probably in England but it could also be used in a medieval European setting.

How about the medieval English song ‘Scarborough Fair?’ (it might be spelled differently, maybe ‘Scarboro Fair.’)

How effective are these promotional videos?

I honestly have no idea.

The one that I looked at, which gave me this idea, has had 120 views on YouTube.

How does this compare with other ways of publicising a novel, such as posting articles instead of a video, on social media, or on your website?

Again, I can’t help.

But maybe we should keep in mind this old saying.

‘Any publicity is good publicity.’

Author: Paul Gresham

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