Working with COS

- by Rebecca York

Last month, Patricia Rosemoor told me that Sheila Clover English of Circle of Seven Productions (COS) would be blogging yesterday. Since I’m a COS client, she asked if I wanted to follow Sheila with the client’s perspective.

So here I am.

A couple of years ago, I decided to put more effort into promoting my books and thought that the new vehicle of book videos might be a good investment. I’ve done videos with COS for my last three Berkley single-title releases.

It’s taken me three tries to get what I think is my optimum video–because I had to do a couple to realize what I really wanted.

My first book video, for NEW MOON, used live actors and was filmed on location in Phoenix. I got to pick the actors and watch the filming. And my husband and I each got to have a cameo role in the video. There were two versions–a one-minute and a two-minute. The video won a Telly, which I proudly display with my other awards. But a live-actor production filmed on location was expensive. More than I should have spent.

Next time, for BEYOND FEARLESS, I went with what COS calls a level II production using still shots and film clips, music, and a voice-over (which cost extra). I wanted to get value for money, so I got the longest video I could–two minutes, I think.

The third time, for GHOST MOON, I also went for a level II production. I skipped the voice-over because I could see that under some conditions (like at the RT Book Fair) the videos play without sound. And I asked for a shorter video because I decided that instead of trying to tell as much of the story as I could, I should focus on giving the viewer an overview of the book.

The products I got from COS are very professional. I approved the script for each video. On the last two, I also chose the music. Once production started, I reviewed a preliminary video and gave my input.

This isn’t a book cover where the publisher sends you something–and you either smile or cringe. You CAN get the look you want. In fact, I think you’re short changing yourself if you sit back and let them do it all.

With the third video, for GHOST MOON, I didn’t like the hero the producer had chosen, so she sent me to a Web site where I could find a guy who turned me on. I wanted to make it clear that he was a ghost as well as a werewolf, so she inserted a cool paranormal effect. And when I didn’t like the couple she’d chosen for the big kiss, I got to pick a different hero and heroine. At my request, the producer shortened a sequence in the video, to make it move faster. And when we needed a picture of wolves fighting, we used a photo that my husband had taken at the Bays Mountain refuge in Tennessee. Click the following to see this video.

GHOST MOON Trailer

What didn’t I like about using COS?  Well, the director of my first video was hard to work with. I did have trouble getting him to make changes I requested. Also, because he held up production, my video barely got distributed before my book came out. After that, I asked to work with someone else, and I’ve been really happy with her.

Once you’ve got the video you want, distribution is the next step. Which is one of the reasons I’ve stuck with COS, even though I could probably get a cheaper video. They’ve put a lot of effort into distribution channels–with various packages you can select. They’ll get you onto the booksellers’ Web sites. And they offer extras–like showing your video on transit vehicles, on TV or on movie screens. Also, they offer services to established clients that are similar to those a publicist offers. For example, they interviewed me at RT last year, and that video will be showing on Reader’s Entertainment Channel TV (readersentertainment.tv) and also in their transit video program, free to me.

Would I do it again? Sure. Now that I’ve got the book cover for ETERNAL MOON, I’m going to start the production process for that book.

Is it all worth it? Am I increasing my book sales? I wish I knew. But I guess I’m convinced that in today’s market, you have to spend some money on promotion.

Rebecca

3 comments

  1. I don’t pay much attention to trailers.
    Is there any way to tell if the trailers help sales?

  2. I like trailers, but don’t always watch them to find my interest in an author or book.

  3. The thing is to have a goal, create a strategy and use the right tool. It doesn’t matter if that tool is a trailer or a print ad. You need to know what you want to get out of anything you invest in.
    Ruth is a woman who knows her mind. She knew what she liked and didn’t like. And as with any relationship you learn to get a feel for each other. Ruth’s teaming with producer Brenda Urquart was a great fit. Brenda fell in love with the books and I think that comes across in the videos.
    10 million people are about to see a wonderful interview of Ruth talking about her videos, her books and herself. Soon after, those same people will see her book video. We think this is a great way to keep her name in the public’s memory and a great way to appeal to different kinds of people.
    I look forward to the new book, Ruth!