Hi all, Pamela Meyers here and back with another installment on what I’ve learned while marketing my debut novel.

When I received THE call aboutPam2011SmallChinFist a year ago telling me I’d sold my first book, I knew right away I had a lot of work ahead of me. Not only did I expect deadlines for edits, but I also knew marketing would eat up some time. Over the past year I’ve learned a lot about marketing my novels, and I’m sharing what I’ve learned with you on the fourth Wednesday of each month.

So far, I’ve covered the prep work required before I wrote the story, what I learned about a successful book launch party, and the making of a book trailer. This month I want to talk about the dreaded (at least for me) video interview.

I really have to start back way before my debut novel, Thyme for Love, was published to a time when I was on the ACFW Board and was to be interviewed on an Internet radio program about our annual conference. Although I’d never participated in an interview before, I’d been overseeing the Mentor of the Year award  for several years and could talk about it in my sleep. No problem.

Boy, was I wrong.

I never met a word I didn’t like to say, and when asked  a question, I gave my answer, and then more, and then more after that. I’m sure the host wanted to tell me less is more, but I probably didn’t give him  time to get a word in edgewise. Suddenly, the interview was over. I’m not sure he even ran it. If he did, it had to have been edited way down. I felt too embarrassed to even try to listen.

This past December when my good friends, Sandra Moore and Lisa Ludwig at the Borrowed Book blog agreed to interview me for my new book, I assumed the interview would be the usual typed questions to which I would type my responses and return them for their editing and posting.

Boy, was I wrong!

They wanted to interview me on video, using a webcam! I was game, especially after I learned I would provide my own questions and give the answers on video in separate segments.

I went into Photo Booth on my MacBook started recording. It felt weird staring at a computer screen of myself while I talked, and it required few takes before I got through the first question without getting tongue-tied. But I finally got comfortable with it and soon sent off the takes to my friends. Done.

Boy, was I wrong.

Like the radio interview I’d rambled on way too long. The segments were so large they couldn’t be opened on the other end! That was when I learned my first lesson in this new medium. Each answer could be no longer than a minute.

It took a few takes to finally did get it tightened, but that wasn’t the end of my education. I also learned I have a quirky habit of rolling my eyes far into my head while I mentally put my answers together. Not a pretty sight looking at the whites of my eyes every other question.

I also found out the hard way that lighting is very important, as is the angle you are to the camera. The closer you are, the viewer will see lines in your face you never even see in your mirror!

I’ve summed up the main tips I’ve learned from this experience short of asking to wear a paper bag over your head while you record.

  1. Know what color looks best on you and wear it. A lot of still photographers will tell you to wear long sleeves, and I can’t help but think that should apply to video interviews as well.
  2. Even if you don’t wear makeup, try to dab a bit of color on your lips and a light dusting of blush. Otherwise, you may appear very washed out.
  3. Try to have the webcam situated so that it is either directly even with your face or better yet, a bit above it. Never have it lower!!!
  4. Be careful to not have lights on behind you, and those you have in the setting should soft in tone, not harsh and bright.
  5. Don’t sit only a few feet away from the webcam, unless you are under the age of ten and have no lines in your face. Experiment with different distances to see which is the most flattering. An author I know set her webcam halfway across the room and the picture showed a full view of her sitting on her couch. Never saw a single line in her face LOL.
  6. Practice your answers ahead of time and time them. If they are long past a minute, you know what to do.
  7. Do a practice run, by actually recording it and look for quirky habits to avoid such as my eye roll thing.
  8. Practice your smile until it looks natural and not forced.
  9. Enjoy yourself!

You can watch the video interview I made at:  http://tinyurl.com/7m7p5mu  My eye roll is still in there in places, but not as bad as it was. I also didn’t do anything about the lighting, but you can be sure I will next time!

Note  in the interview I say that my Summerside Press novel, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, will be out June 2012. That release date has since been pushed back to April 2013.



3 thoughts on “Lights! Action! Camera! – Are You Ready for Prime Time?

James (Jim) Callan

May 23, 2012 - 13 : 01 : 38

Good blog, Pam. We can all use good suggestions on improving our interviews. You did leave in a few eye-rolls – BUT, your emotions and love of writing came across very well. I have to give you high marks on the interview and the blog.


Kathryn Albright

May 23, 2012 - 22 : 16 : 44

Great information, Pam. The group of writers that I see in Madison are talking about doing some video interviews in our summer meeting. Your suggestions are timely. Now on to check out the actual video you made…


Mary Allen

May 24, 2012 - 09 : 58 : 20

Thanks for the good info, Pam. I know I have a habit of staring off to the side when I have to formulate questions. I know this affects others because people I talk with will turn to see what I’m staring at so intently. I’m simply trying to put words together in a coherent fashion. lol. If I’m in an intense conversation, I explain my quirky before hand, but that would never work in a video. It’s a hard habit to overcome and I’ll work doubly hard at it.


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