Guidance. The Business of Promo Videos.

Providing a visual presentation unlocks so many ways you can get your idea across, why people should read it, what it offers, all about the Author. A 30s to 1m Promo Video for your book to accompany its journey to market is a must.

Welcome to your Promo Video Guidance and Resources Bar. Read our tips and info for completing the module below or click anywhere and proceed to the Promo Video Module. Here's what the Promo Video Module has in store do for you.

• Create and Manage your Publication Portal web presence.

• Sell Books 

• Sell Advertising

• Transfer your domain

• Link to our Community for more Promo Video Guidance and Resources

• Activate your Promo Video Task List and Scheduler.

• Log any Costs incurred to complete the module

• Ask a Promo Video Pro for help. 

Before we get stuck into this, be rest assured that this guidance is not talking about big productions with a handful of cameras, expensive lighting and audio set ups, shutting down Carnaby Street and days in the studio. That’s all fine and if you have the budget, it will be a professionally made video.

This guidance is based what most of us have. Some of us may have a decent broadcast quality video camera and that might have cost us $1000-2000. But it’s unlikely we will have the sound and lighting set up the pros use, which can set you back $1000s.

And we definitely wont have their studio, humming away in our basements like the bridge of a starship.

But, you do already have all the pieces to make a broadcast standard video for very little or no cost at all.

We can shoot footage and a soundtrack on our phones, apply music from free sites, get stock footage and graphics from free sites, narrate the video and overlay titles, text and even animation in one of the many free editing packages online.

It’s all there, ready and waiting for you to form it into something.

Why do I need a Video for my book?

So, you might be thinking, “That’s all very nice, but why do I need a promo video for my book in the first place?”

Because it outperforms every other form of traditional marketing. Video content gets up to 10 times the reach and engagement compared to sharing links and images. Almost half of consumers now say they watch five or more videos online every day. A study of 777 million Facebook posts showed that video performs on average 63% better than any other media type.

Video is no longer a, “wouldn’t it be nice” idea. It’s now a must have, essential tool to your marketing and funding efforts. Up to 70% of your social media content should be video.

So what do I put into my video?

You should create videos that connect with your target audience with meaningful content and can capture their attention within the first few seconds. Your videos should engage people and compel them to take actions such as sharing your content or making a purchase.” In other words, make it short and to the point. Grab your audience’s attention, keep it, and don’t forget to ask them to buy your book and share your video.

You don't want your trailer to be boring, so try not to just summarise the plot. Make hints to the story. Choose the mood, the theme. If your book is about a young girl escaping the same people who killed her father, the mood will be fear. Creaking doors, rain, the feeling that something is just about to pop up. Get an idea of the music at this stage. Try a few free tracks out and see if one fits. It really helps to cement the mood.

Look at your book’s headline and blurb. Maybe there’s even a single critical scene that could sum up the mood?

In chapter 3, Jenny comes home and finds the door already ajar. She creeps softly into a silent house, her eyes knocking at the edges of their sockets like pinballs, breathing suspended to pick up the slightest sound. Someone’s been here but are they still here?

Some nice silhouette lighting would be perfect here. For the background sounds, we’ll be cutting in and out of black scenes quite a lot so something mechanical, clunking on and off at regular intervals. Not too loud, just enough to know it’s there.

So you’ll need to develop a script. A script isn’t just a creative work. It will be used for all the logistical aspects of your shoot. Whether you’re using paper or a tablet, you have to leave plenty of white space room to enter the notes and directions you will be adding later.

Here’s a script idea.

- Jenny comes home to see the door is ajar

Cut to black - “From the author of…” and an image starts to fade in.

Cut to black

- A door creeks open to her silhouette in the doorway

Cut to black - “…another chilling tale of helpless fear” Book cover graphics fade in.

Cut to black

Then, let the music take the mood forward.

- Jenny, creeping across a room, streetlight casting a window-shaped shadow across the floor and walls.

Cut to black

30s version….

Then another scene from camera 2 at the top of the stairs looking down on her. It’s a static camera so is it a point of view or an invader? She moves out of camera shot and then camera 2 moves slowly to the bannister and looks over as she walks thru a door. Then she stops like she’s heard something again and just as she looks up the camera pulls back.

Cut to black

- Jenny walks into the kitchen, as reflected in the big window, which has rain lashing against it. She looks around and when she looks back to herself in the window, there’s a man behind her.

Build the music and accelerate the action until you stop exactly where you might just give away your book’s first turning point (The man is the ghost of her father for instance). Leave it there.

Cut to black

Call to Action

Take the music back to ominous and get into the calls to action to like the video and buy the book. Then go to credits and branding. And you’re out.

So that’s your working script. Now let’s make a movie.

Well, actually, first it’s “Let’s plan a movie.”

To produce a solid video, you’ll need solid planning.

Planning and Production


You’ll be taking your script and filling it full of locations, actors, equipment requirements, permits and all sorts of things so you can map out your shooting schedule.

Even if theres no dialogue, write down everything that happens in the video, where it happens, who makes it happen and for how long.

From that, you can assess who you need to be in the video, any equipment you might need and you can figure out your locations.


Is the film set in daytime or night time? Whats the weather meant to be like? One thing I’ve learned from filming in the UK is that it’s pointless relying on weather or natural light. Ideally, you should be ready to roll as soon as the sun peeps out from behind the clouds, take a little extra light, and at the very least seek the best weather forecasting. When you get the weather window you need, plan your shoot around that.


Whether its your aunt Doreen with a mask or there’s sufficient dialogue to ask your friend, Bill, who’s “acted a bit,” to help. Either way, you need to ask any actor very nicely if they can do it for you. Your scripting has given you the times and places they need to be there. Make it known that, yes it’s a favour, but you’re well and truly in a hole if they don’t turn up.

Transport and Facilities

So make sure you get them there. You will need to provide any transport required for people and equipment. Remember, you need to treat the people who are helping you make this with a few niceties. Definitely make sure they get where you need them to be but also fuel them, food and drink and plenty of cooling-off breaks.

Heres’ the tricky but. You’ve got a lot of sheets of paper to look at and record onto and an awful lot of others things in the bargain. It’s possible you might get a little overwhelmed, maybe even wound up by certain things, like the weather perhaps.

If you want a natural video, kill that stress. Lock it in a box and deal with it later. The best shoots involve an unstressed environment, certainly when it’s friends and people you know. Make it fun and the fun will show through in performance.


If you’re blowing something up pretty much anywhere, you need to tell the local authorities and get a permit to do so. Any filming in public places, especially in urban areas, needs to be validated and any people you may speak to on film need to sign a release form called a “Vox Pops Release,” so you’re actually allowed to show them.


Make sure you have accessible power wherever you are. If in doubt, make sure battery packs are charged and on hand. If you’re remote and there’s quite a few scenes, a small generator is advised.

On cameras, sound and lighting, we touched on this earlier. You can spend a few hundred, or more like a thousand or two on a decent broadcast qualify video camera but your smartphone is your chosen tool to film this. Ideally you would have two smartphones. One close to the source of dialogue and one filming the main shot. You’ll be able to sync them or even overdub them later in post production.

You will need camera stability. Some shots need movement but most are static-mounted shots. So you need to make sure your cameras are perfectly still during the shot. Your iPhone can attach to any type of tripod or stand made for cameras as long you have a smartphone mount. If you’re lucky enough to have a drone, definitely create some shots for it.

Max the video and sound quality settings on your phones and ensure theres not too much background noise.

Ideally you’ll be using your well scheduled natural light to film in but just in case, there’s no harm bringing a high wattage light to supplement your shoot. They’re not expensive and if you can get a couple of filters, blue, red, green, even better. But for now let’s assume the natural light is fine. Well done by the way.

For the sound, as we mentioned, you can use a second phone. If you have any kind of decent microphone, use that as well. When you sync it with the two phone audio tracks it can make for some nice ambience.

Hang on, before you shout action to yourself, just check the timecodes of any microphone recording and any phone recordings. Make sure all clocks and timelines are in sync and that every take is labelled clearly - time, scene number, location.

And… Action !


So you’ve shot all you need. It’s been a great day and you end up with several bits of media in various formats.

Before we get into the set of editing it all together into one super production, let’s just make sure the places we need to upload the video to will accept what we’ve made. Pretty pointless otherwise.

Rules and Formats

Formats are easy. It’s probably going to be an MP4 or MOV or similar and you’ll publish it to your own site, Youtube, Vimeo and of course, social media. And social media has rules. Before you do anything, make sure you know these rules and produce a final cut that satisfies them.

So, what are making the video for? Your own site of course, YouTube, Vimeo and similar and social media.

Different social media sites have different rules about the length of videos you can successfully upload.

Twitter: 240 seconds

Instagram: 60 seconds

Facebook: You can upload videos with unlimited bitrates, up to 1 Gigabyte in size. The max file size and time length, though, are 1.75 GB and 45 minutes. If you want to go beyond a 1 gig file size, you must limit a 1080 HD upload file to a max bitrate of 8 Mbps, and a 720 HD file must be limited to a max bitrate of 4 Mbps.

Snapchat: 60 seconds

YouTube: 15 minutes

LinkedIn: 10 minutes


So now you take your raw footage and sound, any free stock media you need, your recorded narration, your music and your script into Post-Production. This is where you use your fabulously planned shooting days and turn all of it into a slick and professional video product, which will be worth watching all the way through.

There are plenty of editing options available and lots of them are free. The trick is to find the ones that really are free. Online, you’ll either get a free product but with a watermark or you’ll need to pay to remove the watermark. Software changes all the time so you’ll need to do your own search but we’ve tried to dig out a few interesting ideas.

iMovie - If you’ve got a Mac, you’ve got iMovie.

Blender -

Da Vinci Resolve -

OpenShot -

Movie Maker 10 -

Lightworks -

Shotcut -

VideoPad -

Quik -

Magisto -

And for smartphone editing:

Splice -

Kinemaster -

Once you chosen the editing platform that suits you, it’s time to edit your video.

1. Cut up, insert and name your video clips. Leave about 5 seconds of black space in front of the clips. Consider this the video’s start point.

2. Sync the sound and video from the two cameras.

3. Rearrange your clips according to the script directions.

4. Insert narration according to the script directions.

5. Lay down the main music soundtrack and any background and incidental sounds according to the script directions.

6. Overlay Titles, subtitles and text.

7. Preview it. Run through it a few times and make some improvement notes.

8. Then, do something different. Stand up, walk about. Go and give old Bodger a tickle.

9. Run though it a few more times them happy any changes from your notes.

10. Job’s a goodun. Export as .MP4 and .MOV files. And don’t forget the various rules applying to the sites you’re uploading to.

Get it out there

You’re now ready to load your video up onto your own site, YouTube and any other video platforms. And it’s definitely time to get it out and about to social media.


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