Crowdfunding projects with videos have a much higher rate of success than those without. Videos are by far the best way for readers to get a feel for a book and its authors. There are no rules for what makes a great crowdfunding video, but here are some tips we’ve found useful.

Before you start

Watch at least 10 other video pitches – what did you like and not like about them? Think about which ones were successful and why, and learn from them.

Videos should be short and punchy, with an ideal overall length of about 1min30sec. After 2 minutes, readers’ attention starts to drift, they tend to leave the page and are less likely to pledge.

If you know someone who has a knack for making videos, why not ask for their advice and help? 

What should I say?

Write a script – put your thoughts down on paper to help you prepare and make sure you don’t miss anything. After all, you're doing this because you're good with words, right? Take the time to make your script as slick as you can. 

Grab the viewer's attention in the first 10 seconds and keep things brisk and engaging. Make sure your pitch clearly demonstrates your project, what makes it unique, and why people should pledge to make your book happen.

Clearly explain what the book is straight away – a novel/short story collection/photobook about the financial crisis/1860s London/Punk music.

Think about answering questions like: Where'd you get the idea for the book? Why did you write it? Or why are you the right person to write this book? Think not just about the narrative inside the book, but the narrative of how the book came to be and how you came to write it.

Give a flavour of the project using examples, stories from the book or images.

Come out and ask for people's support, explaining why you need it and what they’re getting in return.

Where should I film?

The best videos are filmed in a setting that is relevant to the project, for instance a location that features in the book, where it was written or maybe where one of the rewards will take place.

Before you hit action, shoot a sample scene. Look at it on your computer to make sure the lighting is correct and clear. 

What should it look like?

Think about what’s happening visually while you’re speaking. Are there any appropriate images or footage to use at cutaways? This can help to break up long shots of talking to the camera. 

How should it sound?

Speak loudly, clearly and have the phone or camera at an appropriate distance. Listen to a sample of your audio before starting – trial and error is the key here.

Consider buying a cheap clip-on microphone that plugs into your phone or camera rather than using the built-in audio.

Remember to avoid the use of copyright material like video footage, images or music. There are plenty of places online to find out of copyright music, like here.

How should I film and edit? 

If you’re struggling to record your script all in one go, try and record short, direct and punchy segments and then edit the clips together later. Turn your script’s sentences into bullet points and concentrate on getting the message of each part across rather than the exact words on the page.

Some people try printing out the script in large font size and taping it up next to the camera, but be careful that you’re not looking too far away from the camera or that it isn’t too obvious. This is difficult to get right and can be more distracting for the viewer than helpful for the performer.

Film as many takes as you can to give yourself more material to work with later.

What should I film with?

You don't need a fancy camera. Shooting high-quality video on an iPhone or Android device is possible. Use a tripod (or other stabilized device) if possible.

Macs and PCs both have their own easy-to-use film editing software, iMovie for Mac and Windows Movie Maker for PC. There are lots of online tutorials for both programs if you get stuck.

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