Adding value with your video: crowdfunding your folio part 2

FicShelf marketeer Florence’s top tips on how to perfect your online pitch.

If — having read our previous post on crowdfunding your folio — you’re feeling ready to get stuck in, then one of the first questions you’re likely to be asking is “Do I need a video?” Simply put, the answer is yes. No one can speak more passionately or authentically about your ideas than you, and recent research from MWP Digital found that campaigns with a video are 85% more likely to reach their funding target than those without. This research was based on stats from crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, but the principle still applies; to be successful in crowdfunding as an author you need people to buy into your own individual story, as well as the story that you’re writing.

Whether you’re a future Steven Spielberg, or the thought of all that “Lights, camera, action!” sends you running for the hills, this foolproof guide should help you nail the perfect video for your funding campaign. (Note: if you think that the solution lies in high production values and special effects, you might just be in for a surprise…)

1. What to include

Your video should tell your own personal story, as well as introducing your audience to the subject matter of your book — what makes you tick, why readers should support your writing, and why you need their help.

Make sure that your comments are as concise as possible, and that you cover questions such as:

  • Who are you? Introduce yourself — your name, writing experience, and what inspires you
  • What’s the story behind your book? What first gave you the idea? Why is it important to you? What have you achieved so far?
  • What is your book about? Try to give a brief but engaging synopsis that will get potential readers hooked
  • Who is going to read your book? Briefly outline whom you see as being the key audience for your work
  • What are you going to do with the money? Will you be spending it on editing? Cover design? Proof reading? All of the above? And how will the funding help you to achieve your goals?

2. Length

People have a limited attention span — especially when browsing videos on the net which don’t include any cats or puppies — so we tend to suggest that you keep your video to a maximum of two minutes. Remember, the video is just a teaser so you don’t need to cover everything.

3. Equipment

Don’t be put off making a video because you don’t have the equipment to film an all-

singing, all-dancing production. The main purpose is for readers to hear you speaking about your book in your own words, and in many ways a homemade video can feel more authentic.

Newer smartphones tend to have a pretty good quality camera on them these days, so there’s nothing wrong with shooting on your iPhone, but we would recommend getting a stand or tripod such as this one if you do — these can be picked up for under a tenner online.

If you do have access to an HD Video Camera (DSLR, or similar), and a microphone which can be connected to the camera, this will improve the quality of your film too.

4. Location

Try and pick a location with good natural lighting (near but not in front of a window — see the image below where the window is on the left illuminating the subject). A neutral background is best, and make sure that you choose a quiet spot where you are unlikely to be interrupted — this is particularly important if you don’t have an external mic to use.

5. Shooting format

Here are some little tips and tricks that may help you when shooting your video (especially if you are going for a more lo-fi approach):

  • It may help to have an ‘interviewer’, providing you with someone to look at while you are speaking. This will make for a more natural shot if you are uncomfortable looking directly into the camera
  • Note that if you are answering questions from an interviewer, make sure you answer in full sentences so that the questions can be edited out once you’ve finished filming
  • Once your camera is set up, place yourself at a distance from the background to create some depth
  • Frame the shot as a medium close up (from the chest up)
  • Place yourself off centre (to the right), looking slightly off camera, at the interviewer if you have one, on the left of the camera, or straight to camera
  • Keep your eye level at the top left intersection (see image below)
  • Leave some space above your head (see blue highlight in photo below), but be careful not to leave too much
  • Aim to complete the recording in one take, if possible, to avoid obvious changes in volume, lighting or camera settings

Follow these tips and you should be one step closer to your funding dreams, plus you’ll have some fun in the process too!

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