First They Watch the Movie, and Then They Read the Book

When Margaret Heffernan was on her book tour for The Naked Truth, an insider look at women in business, I grabbed her after the talk and had her do a brief pitch to her readers. Took me about five minutes to produce with MinutePitch. It was very satisfying to see the author of the book tell me why I should buy it. And as an open source pioneer in operating systems () and author of books and articles myself, I sure understand the need to speak to your reader directly. The Internet is the key for distribution – if you can get it off your camera first.

That’s what VidLit is about too, according to Daniel Terdiman at Wired. “To date, VidLit founder Liz Dubelman has created VidLit videos for seven books and has five more in the works. They range from one to three minutes and cost approximately $3,500 a minute to produce.”

Why that kind of cash, when advances for the lesser lights are usually in the $5,000 – $10,000 range, and when selling a printing run of 2,000 – 5,000 is doing great? M.J Rose, a novelist (formerly a contributor to Wired) thinks that “initiatives like VidLit and a few others are crucial in an era in which authors are having a harder time than ever getting publicity. ‘We’re in a crisis situation in publishing where there are 150,000-plus books published a year and review space has been cut by about 50 percent across the board. Either magazines have completely cut their review space, or newspapers have cut it back, or they’re using syndicated reviews’.”

The loss of review space is why they also like to plug a short vid into a blog. “Amazon spokeswoman Kristin Schaefer Mariani said that the company has begun incorporating VidLit videos as part of its “larger, ongoing effort to provide customers with a range of content to help them find and discover products that best meet their needs.”

I know Margaret was really surprised when my interview was just a digital camera and a few minutes work – she’s a former BBC producer and expected a TV crew. But she’s a smart cookie, and knows there’s nothing better than a pitch from the heart.

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