file0001247962926There are many marketing tools available to authors these days. A newer option that is rising in popularity is the author promo video. This year, Realm Makers is excited to welcome videographer Dan Phillips, who will be available throughout the conference to record videos and answer questions. Here’s a little about Dan . . .
1) Tell us about who you are and what you do.
My name is Dan Phillips.  I am currently the Sports Reporter/Videographer/Anchor at WZTV, the Fox affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee, which is basically a fancy title for “jack of all trades, master of none”  in the sports world. I’ve been at WZTV for nearly 10 years, in TV for nearly 20. I shoot, edit, write and report on a wide variety of different sports. I’m also active on social media as well, tweeting about what I see and what I’m doing on a daily basis.
One of the main things I try to emphasize in everything I do is getting you as close to the action as possible. Or at least so you feel like you’re in the game. You can feel the hit on the football field, or the jump shot go in on the basketball court. It’s also really important to me that viewers get the sense of what’s going through an athlete’s mind before, during and after the game. What are the emotions like? Why did they do what they did? It makes them seem more real to me than just giving statistics.
I think that translates to authors. Getting them to talk about why they wrote the book or novel. What their motivation is. Why the characters are important. What the characters and plot mean to them. Readers or potential readers want to know the “inside scoop.” I think it makes them feel more part of the story.
2) What are the perks of an author promo video?
To me, there are several perks to using video to promote your book or novel. First of all, it gives readers or potential readers the insight that I was talking about before. I really believe that the more they know about you and your book, the more interest they have in both the author and the author’s work. I’ve certainly found that to be true in the sports and athletes I cover.
I also think they’re important because it allows you, the author, to have control over the message. You can say what you want, how you want, about your book. I know that for authors, their stories are extremely important and personal to them. Many are even afraid to let the public in on their vision. I think video is an easy way to get the word or vision out to the masses in a concise, compelling way.
I also believe that in this day and age, with technology and all the different outlets available, video is the quickest way and most effective way to relay your message. With such a variety of ways for people to see you and your work, it’s also a cheap way to get a whole lot of promotion. Think about it. There’s social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram), free sites (Youtube, Vimeo), as well as author websites, publisher websites, Amazon, book seller sites, as well as others I’m sure I’m forgetting. That’s a TON of places that literally millions and millions of potential readers check out EVERYDAY.
3) How does an author go about preparing for a promo video and what should they expect during filming?
What I tell people going into a video, first of all, is RELAX. Most people, authors included, get nervous when they think about speaking to an audience, let alone a camera. Here are a few things to think about beforehand.
First, you’re talking about something you know and are passionate about. No one is asking about ISIS, or Obamacare, or the upcoming Presidential election. No one is trying to stump you. Or confuse you. This isn’t 60-Minutes–I want you to do well. So does anyone else who’s interviewing you. It’s your book. Your story. YOU ARE THE EXPERT.
Second, if you do mess up, it OK. It’s not live. WE CAN DO IT AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND AGAIN. Until you get it right. That’s the beauty of tape.
Finally, SMILE. HAVE FUN. This isn’t brain surgery. Or rocket science. It’s an interview. Your family still loves you. The sun will still rise, no matter what happens. I promise.
As far as appearance goes, I tell people to wear color. A lot of people gravitate towards black and white. Black in particular, because they think it’s slimming. That may be partially true, but it’s also cold and harsh against most people’s skin. It makes you seem less friendly and approachable. So wear color!
Be well groomed. I think too many authors neglect their appearance because they think their words should speak for them. That is simply not the case. Did you know that people make a judgement about you within the first 7 seconds of when they see you? 7-seconds! That’s not a long time to make a good impression. A haircut and color for women (and even men) can make a HUGE difference.
Don’t go crazy with the makeup and facial hair. Natural is better. I know that many men are very attached to their facial hair, and I get that. But the reality is, most of the time it ages you. And so does wearing too much makeup. Or too much jewelry. You want the focus on you. Your face. Not your hair or makeup or necklace or ear rings.
I have a saying: “If you look good, you feel good.  And if you feel good, people will respond to you and your message.” I really believe that.
4) How can authors use the promo videos to promote themselves and their work?
As far as promoting themselves through video, I feel that this is perhaps the most important thing. The beauty of video is that YOU CONTROL THE MESSAGE. These days, it’s all about branding. Whatever, whomever you decide you want to be, you can be. But be careful. You’d be surprised at what does and doesn’t come through on camera. Passion, intensity, emotion all show through. Readers are interested and attracted to that. By the same token, if the emotion or passion is fake, that will also be obvious. It can also potentially derail your message, no matter how well it is delivered or how important it is.
5) Since you are going to be at Realm Makers, how can authors get in touch with you if they are interested or have questions about cost/preparation/etc.?
If you are interested in doing a video with me or my company LDP Multi-Media, feel free to contact me at or by phone at (615) 517-8837. I’d be glad to talk you through the process or answer any other questions you have about videos, your image or brand, or any other services LDP provides. I will be available at Realm Makers to shoot videos for a special conference rate of $500 for a video without b-roll (a TV term for video to cover an interview shot on site) or $750 with b-roll. The shoot should take less than an hour. And we’ll do our best to turn it around and get the finished product to you ASAP.
I’ll also be speaking, along with my friend Julie Gwinn, specifically about Image and Branding at the conference. I think you’ll learn a lot about what will and won’t work for you both personally and professionally as far is your image goes. I want to warn you though, I don’t hold back. Be ready for some seriously straight talk!
I’m really looking forward to hopefully my first of many Realm Makers conferences.  It should be a lot of fun!