I've read so much about how video blogs are the next big thing. I swore I'd never do that. I mean, come on. I'm old, I'm fluffy, I don't think well on my feet, don't know anything about the tech involved, and I say 'anyway' all the time. Oh, and I'd have to do my hair and makeup. Other than that, sign me up!
But then a few things happened. I read that in January 2016 Facebook announced there are more than eight billion video views and more than 100 million hours of video watched on the platform daily.
That's an amazing stat, but it doesn't negate even one of my arguments above.
Then I ran across this video:
Oh my God. I'll bet I've watched that 9 times by now, and she has almost a million hits on it (more, after today, I'll warrant). Do I judge her for being goofy? Hell no. She's badass.
Dammit, this woman just negated all my arguments.
I eased into this the same way I convinced myself to write my first book - I'd write the book, get it out of my system, then hit delete! NO one would ever have to see it. Boom.
Well, knowing how that turned out last time, I should have known this strategy wouldn't work. But I told you I'm a slow learner, right?
Anyway, I thought if I could be entertaining (always tough, given people's varying tastes), and offer people something they could use, maybe this could work. Maybe I'd get my name in front of people. Maybe I could even sell a couple of books.
Maybe being the key word.
I Googled how to do this, and there are a ton of articles out there.
I decided on a few key things:
- I'd do a craft/writer's life vlog - I teach workshops and classes - I have something to say!
- I'm cheap. I'm not buying special equipment. But I own an ipad, and it takes great photos...
- It has to be entertaining - I'm a bit of a dork, and I live somewhere that, though I think it's awesome, my friends think I'm crazy for moving from Southern California to Midland, Texas (think flat-ugly-oilwell-arewethereyet kind of country). I could show the awesome and odd about where I live!
- They can't be too long - people are too busy for a lecture. The first one, since I had a lot to cover about the set-up, was seven minutes. I'm trying to keep the subsequent ones about four minutes each.
- I'd have to get over myself. If they're looking for fashion advice, or runway models, they wouldn't be clicking on my vlog anyway, right?
I wanted interaction - to be sure I was answering questions that people actually had, I went out on Facebook and asked. Boy did I get questions! Everything from, grammar, how I like my coffee, plotting, how to do descriptions, to wanting to see what I wear in the morning to sit down and write.
Nowadays, if you own an iphone, or an ipad, recording a video is pretty easy. Still, I made mistakes. Here's a few tips, so you don't:
- Exposure. In bright light or shadows, it may not get it right. Tap on the shadowy part to brighten it, tap on the bright part to darken. Who knew?
- Focus. The regular setting is good - it usually focuses on faces (you can tell, because there's a yellow box around the focus point). If you want it to focus on something else, tap it until you see the yellow box. But be aware, this will also change the exposure.
- Shoot in Horizontal mode - now they tell me. You'll notice in mine, below I didn't do that. And it screwed up the sign I wanted to show. It showed when I was recording, but the black bars covered it in the recorded version.
- Trim. Start before you think you need to, and stop after. You can edit it with a simple free software (I used MovieMaker, but there are a bunch out there)
- A video is too large (usually) to email. Enter the amazing Apple. They'll do a video drop to an email. But usually, it's easiest to just upload it to Youtube (or FB) directly from your ipad. Boom.
So, I went for it. Here's my first posting - technical difficulties, silliness, bystanders and all. I then did two more (you can sign up to get email notification of new installments, either on my website, or on Youtube.
AND, I just talked to Alpha Dog's Uncle Bob. He owns 3 longhorns! So expect to see one from a pasture soon. I just hope he wasn't pulling a Yankee's leg when he told me they're docile!
Is this going to work, long term? Not a clue. Am I having fun with it, so far? Oh hell yes!
So, what do you think? Would you ever try vlogging? Or are you in camp OhHellNO?
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She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central. The Sweet Spot won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award in the Best First Book category.
Her 'biker-chick' novel, Her Road Home, sold to Harlequin's Superomance line (August, 2013) and has expanded to three more stories set in the same small town.
In January, Laura released her first Women's Fiction, Days Made of Glass.
In 2014, Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She's a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.