Every author and publisher knows that social media is a crucial component of marketing; however, it is more important to understand new, emerging trends in the media marketing world. Most authors remember the hit of the novel trailer and how Epic Reads swept viewers away with some of Harper’s most amazing adverts. Once again, they’ve stepped into the media marketing world and surfaced with a new trend that is starting to become viral: livestreamed readings and interviews with authors.
YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook have all launched live video streaming systems to their platforms. These systems allow followers to interact with the video as it is streaming live via the chat. After the footage concludes, it is still archived for future viewers to watch as a non-live video. Epic Reads started by hosting live interviews with their featured authors. This allowed their audience to feel connected to the author, like they were really there speaking with them, which kicked off a booming success. Shortly after this, BBC followed suit by adding livestreaming events to their “Authors Live” page.
As the hype of live interviews started sweeping the social media platforms, a new, more direct form of live videos began to arise—not just from Epic Reads, but even from indie authors and small presses. This new trend was live readings. In 2017, Alan Parks, reporting for Indies Unlimited, launched a Facebook group for authors to share live readings and Q&As with fans. Although this group failed, the idea did not. Authors started reaching out on their personal pages to host readings, share unpublished teasers, invite their readers to join in the editing process for future titles, and more.
As the phenomenon continues to grow, more “how-to blogs” on self-publishing have begun encouraging authors to use videos. Along with walking people through the types of videos authors can use, Book Baby Blog reporter Chris Robley has discussed the rising costs of hiring professional camera crews. Despite an up-front fee well into the high hundreds (if not the thousands) for professional camera kits, many authors are still making a killing on live videos using cell phone cameras.
We have reached a point in the last few years where even dominant publishing houses, like Penguin Random House, are sharing this method on their blogs and in their newsletters. Despite the trend emerging in 2016, the climb to popularity has been slow. As more and more content creators have suddenly flocked to YouTube and Instagram, the market for readers seeking video content has grown.
In this highly saturated market, nothing is more exciting to readers than a chance to feel connected to their authors and those authors’ books. Having a live video marketing strategy—even one or two videos per title—could increase readership across multiple platforms. Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have offered up the golden opportunity for authors to meet and interact with their readers, and it is entirely digital. This eliminates the high costs of traveling, booking locations, and finding full staffing, but still yields similar results. For international authors, the digital approach can even provide better outcomes, since it allows them to connect with both local and international readers in one place. The future of streaming authorial content is an exciting prospect now that interactions with your favorite creator are only a click away.