Video is one of the most popular forms of content online today, especially when it comes to YouTube. Videos are widely watched on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, too. Because they tend to reach more people than traditional posts and even photo posts on social media, videos have become one of the best ways for authors to market yourself and your books. As with any form of marketing, there are pros and cons. You can decide for yourself whether the pros outweigh the cons for you if you want to use video to advance your readership.

PRO: You don’t need a marketing budget, just a webcam or mobile phone.

Years ago, people spent big money on producing videos. While you certainly still can create videos with high production values, it’s not necessary, especially as an author. Actually, many people watching videos online today prefer videos of people just being themselves and talking about things. You don’t even need a script, you can just hit record and talk about a topic related to your books or about writing. Be sure to not spend the whole video trying to sell. Leave that for the very end of the video.


CON: You have to make videos people are actually searching for to watch.


As popular as videos are, you want to be sure that your target audience actually watches videos. Sure, they are a great way to gain new exposure for your work, but you want to be sure what people are searching for that’s related to your books. One way to see what sort of videos you might want to make is to use YouTube autocomplete. Like on Google, you just start typing something into the search bar, and it will make suggestions.

For example, if you are a horror author, you’ll get suggestions for “horror authors” and “horror author interview.” So, you may want to create content about your favorite horror authors or get someone to interview you for a video. Lots of genres can find potential topics, but if your book is a bit niche, it could be difficult to find topics for videos that will get much traction.

PRO: They’re quicker to produce than written articles

Contrary to what some people may believe, you don’t have to write a script for making a video. In fact, a lot of people prefer to watch unscripted, off-the-cuff sorts of videos. While having graphics and such in your videos is great, and editing can make your videos better, plenty of people create single-take videos that get plenty of views and interaction. If you have a good topic and can be engaging enough for people to watch, videos are a quick piece of content to create.

CON: What if you HATE making videos?

Of course, not everyone likes making videos. The upside is that you can actually create videos that don’t even feature you at all. They could be slideshows made with something like PowerPoint set to music. You can also get people to create videos for you about topics related to your books, although that likely will take some extra cash to do. Still, videos that get search traffic or lots of social media shares can expose your books to a much greater audience. So, if it’s in your budget, or you have really awesome friends, family, or fans that want to make videos for you, having videos made for you is not a bad plan.

Making videos isn’t for everyone, but for topics that get a lot of YouTube search traffic, they can get you a new audience in a hurry. Whether any of them will actually become your readers is hard to say, but creating videos to advance your readership is one of the more cost-effective forms of marketing out there. Even one new reader coming from a video is worth the time and effort. So, if you’ve never considering using video to build your readership, it’s a good idea to explore what video could do for you and your books.