Creating Promotional Video: HarperCollins executives talk about the publisher’s new in-house studio
Last month, HarperCollins announced the creation of an in-house Internet broadcast studio to create author videos for sales, marketing and promotional opportunities. Five-hundred promotional videos featuring authors from the publisher’s roster are expected to be produced each year. Using HarperCollins’ fellow News Corp. sibling The Wall Street Journal as a model for the venture, the studio was developed with a newsroom environment in mind, according to HarperCollins representatives.
Marisa Benedetto, who was formerly a multimedia producer at the Journal, joined HarperCollins to serve as executive producer of the new venture. Benedetto reports to Ana Maria Allessi, vice president and publisher of HarperMedia.
Both Benedetto and Allessi spoke with Book Business Extra about the creation of the new studio, and the growing importance of video as a marketing tool for book publishers.
Book Business Extra: What types of personal connections are you hoping will transpire between readers and the authors who step in front of a camera?
Marisa Benedetto: The simplest way to describe it is that it’s a casual conversation. The author and reader are spending a few minutes in each other’s company. The reader will be able to get something that they weren’t able to in the book. I think that readers will feel that they’re sharing something with the author in an informal scenario. The author will come in. Most of the time, the author will answer the questions of someone off-camera. … If there is art from the book, we’ll show that. I’ll think about what kind of music to use for the piece. [The videos] are about two to three minutes long. We’ve [filmed] about 23 authors in a month.
Extra: What types of video content have you found work best for authors to connect with an audience? What hasn’t worked as well?
Benedetto: What works best is if the author answers a few well-thought-out questions that were specifically written to their book or personality. Even if they talk about one topic that is important to them, that’s great. What doesn’t work is if you go in, and they’re answering many questions. … I think we’ve worked very hard to make [authors] feel comfortable when they come in. We’re trying to make it warm. We’re trying to make them not feel like deer in the headlights. I haven’t had anyone come in [and] be shy and have stage fright.