Wondering what the latest trends in Book Trailers and Social Media promos for authors are? Let’s talk with Brinda Berry on the strategies and promotions she creates for other authors to help market their books with video.
- 0:11 1 | Tell us more about you
- 0:45 Have you always lived in Arkansas
- 1:00 3 | What conferences will you be attending this year
- 2:20 4 | Tell us more about your side business
- 3:52 5 | How did you pick up this side skill
- 6:40 6 | What services do you provide to authors
- 8:51 8 | What does that process look like
- 11:51 9 | Are you creating Cinemagraphs in Adobe After Effects
- 12:15 10 | How long does it take to order + receive a book trailer from you
- 13:30 12 | What services should authors DIY vs outsource
- 15:11 13 | What is the most you’ve spent on a service & would you do it again
- 16:48 14 | Book Covers: Are you paying for the photographer the models & the set
- 17:48 15 | What are you most excited about for 2017
Lisa Siefert: Are you confused and overwhelmed by all the different choices and options out there when it comes to book trailers? Today, Brinda Berry is going to share with us some of the latest trends in book trailers and some other things you can do with video as authors and why you should DIY versus outsource when it comes to tech.
Hi everyone, I’m Lisa. I’m here today with Brinda Berry who has an amazing name, I love this name. It’s one of those names that sticks in your head.
Brinda Berry: Good.
Lisa Siefert: Can you tell us a little more about you and where you live and what you’re doing.
Brinda Berry: I’m married and live in Arkansas. I work in higher education as one part of my day and the other part of the day I write books and then I have a side business that we’re going to talk about later. I have a grown son who just moved to Seattle, so I’m trying not to freak out over that, that he’s moved across the country. That’s a little about me.
Lisa Siefert: Great. All right, have you always lived in Arkansas and how’s the weather there right now? I know it’s June.
Brinda Berry: The winter is muggy. It’s okay. We have a lot of humidity here, but it’s not bad. It’s like 80 degrees.
Lisa Siefert: Okay, cool. Are you going to any conferences that people can catch you at this year?
Brinda Berry: I did got to RT in Atlanta, was that April?
Lisa Siefert: That was very recent, yes.
Brinda Berry: That was a lot of fun. I’ve been to RT before and had a great time every time I go. [inaudible 00:01:41]
Lisa Siefert: What’s that?
Brinda Berry: Do you go to conferences like RT or do you-
Lisa Siefert: I’m a conference junkie. I go to RT, I go to Thriller Fest, I go to RWA. I’ve been going to conferences non stop. This is the first year ever I’ve taken a break. I’m just focusing on writing this year, and then I’m going to go back on the conference circuit next year.
Brinda Berry: It’s hard to commit to go to conferences because usually you’re gone a whole week besides the talk commitment, then you have to get ready for it and get all your swag [inaudible 00:02:17]
Lisa Siefert: Yes, it’s very expensive. Great. Why don’t we talk about your side business, which I find it crazy. I didn’t know you have a day job plus you write and you also have this side business.
Brinda Berry: I like to be busy.
Lisa Siefert: Clearly, that’s a lot of stuff. Tell us what is it and who is it for and what are you doing?
Brinda Berry: I started out writing back in … Actually, I’m one of these people I’ve written all my life, but when I started publishing with a small press in 2011, I had a lot of my friends come to me for help with things that were in the technology realm. The book trailer thing was new back then. I just really enjoyed doing it. My process in making trailers has changed a lot since 2011, I put a bit more videos in, things like that. I’ve discovered that so many authors want to use trailers for Facebook ads, just to leave in their book page, on their website, things like that. It’s something that I think a lot of people look for and some of the production companies make some great videos. They really do but they are super expensive. They’re shooting footage and it’s hard to just about spending thousands of dollars on a one minute video.
Lisa Siefert: It could be up to $10,000 for one minute with the shooting and the production and hiring the actresses and the set.
Brinda Berry: Right, I love all those but that is a big investment.
Lisa Siefert: Right. Where did you pick up this skill, and then I also know that you … I don’t if anyone knows this but Brinda is also her own webmaster. She is one stop shopping, I don’t know if she outsources anything. She knows how to do pretty much every skill that’s out there.
Brinda Berry: I do outsource, believe me. I’ll tell you about some of those things that I don’t which I could do myself. The things with the trailer business … Now, I’m trying to remember what you asked me, I went off on a little tangent there. The trailer business is one that I enjoy doing because it feeds a different part of creative need. I do enjoy doing the web side of things but I don’t do my own editing. I do hire someone to do my content editing and proof reading. Probably the most expensive part of my outsourcing for my author business as far as when I put a book out, I think someone else has to look at it. I have a critique partner who is great along the way giving me feedback to developmentally in some of the line critiquing. Everybody needs a great editor.
I also don’t do my own covers. Although, I do have a couple of short stories and novel that I did a cover for and I think I’m capable of it, it’s just that I know some really awesome graphic artist, [00:05:48] designs. I’ll give here a plug there, she does my current contemporary romance covers.
Lisa Siefert: Great. Where did you pick up all those skills?
Brinda Berry: My Masters Degree is in learning systems technology. I’m trained to teach teachers how to use technology in the classroom. I also worked for five years for an internet technology company. I did web development when I worked there too. I was in a small company where we wore a lot of different hats. I did a little advertising, marketing, web development.
Lisa Siefert: Okay, great. You write, you do book trailers, you do video, you do web design, anything else special that we should be asking you about that you know how to do?
Brinda Berry: I think that’s about it. I’m really good at watching Netflix, let me throw that one in there.
Lisa Siefert: That’s a good talent. Lets just talk about what services do you provide to authors and what is that process look like?
Brinda Berry: On my website, sweetbiscuitscreates.com, you’ll see that its very focused on what I deliver to clients because I don’t feel like I need to do everything for everybody. I think that I need to pick out the things where I have talent and then try to work with people in those areas. I do the book trailers, I can do the one minute video with a mixture of video and stock photos. I can also do shorter spots, Facebook is something that’s really popular for authors right now to use for advertising. Sometimes those only need to be like 15 seconds long actually. We have short attention spans. Going that fade, 15 seconds is probably plenty of time to bribe somebody.
I also do book formatting. We have lots of authors out there especially with the way that the industry is changing and you have publishers sadly closing down sometimes and giving people all of their back list at one time. I know that a lot of people are able to format their own books. That’s one of those things that I think I could work with somebody in a consulting capacity to DIY. Let me show you how to format your books and then you should be doing this because it’s really great if you can update something one evening and have it uploaded the next day and not having to involve somebody else. For those people who have a lot of books that they’re trying to format at one time and they don’t know where to begin, I think that I’m a good resource for that.
Lisa Siefert: Yes, that’s perfect. Just like you said, you Masters Degree is in teaching other people how to use technology. That’s perfect. What is that process look like? What should they have in their mind before they come to you and ask for you help? Do you take people right away or do you have a calendar or a waiting list?
Brinda Berry: I do have a calendar and waiting list because I do have things going on in the day job and my own writing. I do fit people in where that works with my schedule and theirs. Sometimes if someone comes to me and I’ve got a rush job, it may not be possible but you never know until you ask me. I also like to consult with somebody and go back and forth to make sure we’re the right fit for each other. Sometimes you don’t know what you want until people ask you the right questions and then, “Oh, I didn’t think about that. Yes, I do want video because I want to see the people moving. I don’t want what I’ve seen other people do with just a lot of text scrolling across the screen, which is something I don’t want [inaudible 00:10:10] anyway.” It’s where we do a lot of back and forth to make sure I know what that person wants and then I can give them what they want.
Lisa Siefert: Okay. Just going back to that Brinda, that was a good point you made. Is there a new trend in book trailers that people should be following and trends that are … Just like you said, 2011 was very different than what it is today.
Brinda Berry: I think that something I saw recently that’s pretty interesting and I’m trying to teach myself how to do … You asked me what I’m good at, I see something that I like and I think, “Oh, I’m going to learn how to do that.” I saw Mark Dawson and Bella Forrest had video ads on Facebook, and there were cinemagraph. Do you know what that is?
Lisa Siefert: No.
Brinda Berry: It’s like a still photo that has emotion part of it. It might be a girl standing there and everything is still in the background but the rain is moving.
Lisa Siefert: Okay.
Brinda Berry: Actually, Mark Dawson’s cinemagraph had that feel to it with the rainy day, but not something that’s a whole video scene, it’s just a movement. Even Amazon has taken on, trying to catch a readers eye because they’ve got Kindle in Motion, where there are some book covers that you can look at on Amazon that are like a video.
Lisa Siefert: I didn’t know that.
Brinda Berry: Rachel Van Dyken has one and I think it’s the match linker. I’m guessing at the name, I’m probably right on that. Try to look for that, it’s pretty cool.
Lisa Siefert: Wow. Are you doing that for book covers and too for people?
Brinda Berry: I haven’t done that yet. Now, that is something that I could offer and that would catch a readers eye when they are looking at a website or on Facebook or Twitter, wherever.
Lisa Siefert: Exactly. Are you doing that in Adobe After Effects or are you using another software.
Brinda Berry: Adobe After Effects is the primary software that I use.
Lisa Siefert: Okay. Just going back to that other question, how long should people plan for a book trailer? Should they come do a month before they need it, two months, three months, and how long does it take you?
Brinda Berry: At the very least, four weeks ahead of the time is great. It depends in how complicated of a video or how much they know going it about what they want. [inaudible 00:12:55] I had one client who said, she had looked at some of my other videos and said, “I’d like to have something sort of like what you’ve done here.” I asked her, “Can you give me keywords that show emotions that you want the viewer to feel. Can you send me your [blog 00:13:17].” I did a little mockup. She was happy with the mockup, didn’t want any changes. I delivered her video within a week. I probably shouldn’t say that because not everybody is going to have the same experience. That’s why we think four weeks would be a good amount of time.
Lisa Siefert: Okay, good. Come to a month ahead of time and then budget a month for you to work on that project, right?
Brinda Berry: Right.
Lisa Siefert: Okay, good. The other thing still is because you can’t teach people how to do things. What things would you suggest that authors on a limited budget DIY themselves versus outsource?
Brinda Berry: Like I said earlier, I think that things like editing and cover design really need to have a professional who that’s their focus, that’s what they do well. Authors should really learn how to make their own teasers and graphics although I do offer that as one of my services. Especially if you’re getting ready for a book launch and you know you need a dozen different images and you want them to say different things like the release date and pre order date. I can help them with that, but I would suggest any author go ahead and start investigating a software that they can learn how to use.
Photoshop is what I use, but it’s not what I would recommend some person who is not in love with technology, can’t [inaudible 00:14:52] out there and it’s just wonderful. There are a little tricks that I can teach people, things that they don’t know were in that menu. PicMonkey, Canva, Pixlr, a lot of different really user friendly software packages out there online that don’t cost much. Canva is freebies, PicMonkey has some monthly subscription, it may also have a free version right now too.
Lisa Siefert: I think it does. For yourself as an author, the answer is probably editing, but what’s the most you’ve ever spent on an outsourced service and would you do it again?
Brinda Berry: I’ve spent over a thousand on editing. 73,000 for a book. That’s probably the most that I spent on any one service. I spend a lot on my covers as well because I always try to have exclusive photos. Between the graphic design and the cover image, that ends up costing quite a bit.
Lisa Siefert: Is it worth it? Would you keep doing that again in the future?
Brinda Berry: I know that people argue over whether or not it’s worth it to spend that much on a cover, but really I can’t think of any other way that you can capture that reader’s eye when they’re browsing than that cover. I know the editing is important too but I dint regret on any financial investment I made on my cover.
Lisa Siefert: You’ll continue. You see yourself investing in covers and editing.
Brinda Berry: Yes. I’ve actually had covers that maybe I did not invest as much in them initially and then I would have them redone. There is a payoff you can track and see that you made a good choice.
Lisa Siefert: Just do it right the first time.
Brinda Berry: Right.
Lisa Siefert: For the cover designs, are you actually going out and paying because I know some people will go out to hire the photographer and pick the models and the set.
Brinda Berry: I’ve used several different photographers who will offer a gallery so that you can look through and buy exclusive photos. Sarah [Abraham 00:17:22] is one.
Lisa Siefert: She is popular.
Brinda Berry: Scott Hoover, Robinson. There are some really great photographers out there who are working for the big publishing houses as well as the indie publishing community. You can look at their websites online but most people I know discover them when they’re on Facebook.
Lisa Siefert: Okay. I … Go on.
Brinda Berry: There are lots of groups where you have that person add you and then you’ll see the models, the shots go up right up then and it’s so tempting, you want to buy all of them.
Lisa Siefert: I’m sure. What are you most excited about for 2017, for this year as an author and for your side business.
Brinda Berry: I’m looking forward to connecting with more readers this year. Sometimes you go through a lot of growth in your journey as an author. In the beginning all I focused on was the writing and craft and learning to become a better author. This year, connecting more with readers, with the reader group that I have in Facebook. Building my Newsletter and trying to interact more with people there. Then with business, Sweet Biscuit Creates is going to be a lot of fun for me this year to see if I can have more people. I know this sounds cheesy but this is really what it rolls into. I used to help a lot of people who were my friends. I still do that and I enjoy that, don’t get me wrong but I think that just that satisfaction of knowing I’ve helped someone be able to market their book a little bit easier than they thought they could, that’s [inaudible 00:19:25] out there. I look forward to that 2017.
Lisa Siefert: Good. I don’t think that’s cheesy at all. The whole reason I love romance writers and connecting with other women, the reason I have this channel is because I love just helping people and I want everyone to succeed. I love that nobody is competitive and thinks if you sell more books then I can’t sell a lot of books. I don’t think there is anybody in romance who feels or acts that way ever.
Where can we find you online? Where should people go next?
Brinda Berry: You can find my author website at www.brindanberry.com, and then the business website with the designs and formatting and trailers, you can find that at www.sweetbiscuitcreates.com.
Lisa Siefert: Great. You talked about a reader group on Facebook, will they find that through your Brinda Berry website?
Brinda Berry: Yes, you can find it there.
Lisa Siefert: All right, great. Now we do the speed round. Coffee or tea?
Brinda Berry: Coffee.
Lisa Siefert: Android or iPhone?
Brinda Berry: iPhone.
Lisa Siefert: Cats or dogs?
Brinda Berry: Dogs.
Lisa Siefert: Ice cream of frozen yogurt?
Brinda Berry: How about pasticcio ice cream.
Lisa Siefert: Okay, all right. Thank you so much for being on today. You guys, if you want to connect with Brinda, I’ll leave all of her contact information below and you can check her out, right?
Brinda Berry: Thank you.
Lisa Siefert: Bye.