Writers, like you and me, focus on writing. We hunt for precise verbs, follow intriguing storylines, and create captivating characters. We slip away to our quiet sanctuaries to get lost in our stories.
We have more responsibilities too. In recent years, and with the advent of self-publishing, writers have had to become marketers and salespeople. The path to success is doing it yourself, not relying on the publishing house.
And there’s even more. In today’s social media age, writers must be film-makers and photographers.
Not all of your readers can meet you in person. You likely don’t have cross-country book tours, and stores aren’t begging you to have a book signing at their place. Yet your readers want to get to know you, and they expect it via the Internet.
That reality requires authors to think about moving pictures. How do you do become Emperor?
Practice Your Smile
Readers want to see more of their beloved author than a headshot on the book jacket or the posed picture on the website banner. They want to see into your life, how you live, and where you go. Good shots are so important even when you can’t get the professional photographer.
Pictures of yourself are essential for getting likes on social media. According to statistics, photos on Instagram showing faces get 38% more likes than photos without faces.
Learn to take decent pictures of yourself. You have to be proud of your smile or you will shy away from putting your face on Instagram or Facebook. My mother takes selfies to practice her smile. She tilts her head up and down, turns it to the left and right, raises and lowers her chin. The selfie lets her see immediately what her smile looks like. She goes through the tilts, bends, and turns again, until she gets the perfect shot.
Writers are becoming film-makers and videographers. We aren’t making high-budget feature films, but we should star in our own YouTube and Facebook videos. Your readers want to see you and hear your voice—another aspect of their favorite author.
Create a YouTube account and try your hand at filming. You can use your developing selfie skills in front of a camera or smartphone that’s recording.
Filming requires planning. Don’t just hit record, smile, and run off at the mouth. In the book titled Making YouTube Videos, Nick Willoughby, a kids filmmaking teacher, recommends:
- Write a script before hitting record.
- Keep the camera or smartphone steady with a tripod.
- Consider the camera’s angle. Your most devoted readers don’t want to see up your nose.
- Speaking toward the camera lens. With a camera the lens is big and round, but a smartphone’s camera lens isn’t as clear. The main screen isn’t the lens. It’s a tiny circle in the upper corner. Look there when recording.
- Check out your background. What will viewers see over your shoulders in your video and what noises will echo when you’re recording?
Selfies and videos are another aspect of the writer’s life.
Welcome to the new age!
Article by Matthew Weigelt, author and journalist.