Literary Video‘s tagline is “Creating Multimedia Content that Sells Books.”  I discovered this service last month and exchanged a couple of e-mails with David Woodard, founder and creative director.

With the ever increasing importance of video in the publishing world, I jumped on the opportunity to do a blog interview with David.  Here’s what he had to say about Literary Video and what it’s up to:

JW: You had been working for a publisher in Nashville for awhile and decided to launch this new business venture, Literary Video.  What’s your vision for the business and what drove you to create this start-up?

DW: Working in book marketing for eight years taught me many things, but one of the most impressive things I learned was that the best salesman for a book is almost always the author. There are exceptions to this, but by in large it is true.

That is why when the bigger books release (think John Grisham, for example), these authors pop up in various media like The Today Show, Good Morning America, or even Oprah or People Magazine. No one can sell the story like the author can.

The Internet and the proliferation of video online gives publishers and authors new and relatively inexpensive ways to reach their audience. According to USAToday, “Book videos are increasingly common and, publishers say, essential.” They are the new book cover.

Literary Video has come into existence to help publishers and authors not only develop multimedia content, but multimedia content that sells books. We feel our background in book publishing and marketing gives our clients an advantage that a generic video production house can’t give offer. We not only facilitate the creation of content but help mold the content in a way that sells the project most effectively.

Changes in the marketing structure of the publishing house for whom I had been working gave me a unique opportunity last fall to exercise not only the skills and knowledge I had learned but also the contacts and network I had cultivated the last eight years in the industry. Literary Video was born.

JW: Success here largely depends on how many eyeballs see each video, right?  With that in mind, will Literary Video also help show authors how to increase the exposure of their videos?  If so, are there any details you can share?

DW: You are right in that like any advertising collateral, impressions are key. A book video is not an end in and of itself, but a part of a greater strategy. However, book video offers a more intimate “experience,” and, it has the capacity to become viral. Book videos are marketing by offering content and not interruption.

But just as posting a web site does not guarantee visitors, creating a video doesn’t automatically assume viewers; you have to have a bigger marketing strategy in place. However, there are sites, like YouTube, BookVideos.TV, & ChristianReader.TV that people visit in order to find video content. A compelling video posted to the right places can find an audience. This is where Literary Video becomes not just a content producer, but a partner in distribution strategy as well.

JW: I’m a big fan of widgets and it would seem they would represent a useful vehicle for getting videos out on as many websites as possible.  Are you looking to offer widget functionality for Literary Video?

DW: Incorporating video into widgets represents the cutting edge of video distribution. If done right, it not only offers a compelling way to present the video in an easy to use fashion, but also creates a “portable” marketing collateral that can become very effective in viral and grass roots marketing efforts. In other words, if a viewer can forward the widget to someone else, or even take the widget and embed it in their own blog or Web site, then the widget has become portable. This can also be effective in sales efforts, as book retailers can post these widgets on their e-tailing sites and product pages.

If a client desires to use widgets, Literary Video can develop the content, widget, and help strategize for the most effective use of the widget.

JW: What are the most innovative and interesting elements of some of the better book trailers/teasers that you’ve been involved with?

DW: I can think of three that I thought exploited unique dimensions of books that would have been lost in traditional advertising efforts.

My Go to Bed Book is a charming children’s book in the tradition of Good Night Moon. It was originally published in the 1950s. B&H Publishing Group released a 50th anniversary edition in the fall of 2007. The back story as to how this edition came to be is in itself a very charming story. We created a mini-documentary telling this story called The Story Behind the Book, as well as an e-Galley for the book.

Squat is novel written by first time novelist Taylor Field. Taylor’s personal story as a pastor running a mission in New York’s tough lower East Side is the inspiration and backdrop for this novel. Think Rent meets The Passion of the Christ. The colorful world of Manhattan’s Alphabet City is a major character of the book itself. Squat Movie is a mini documentary (embedded below), shot on location in the east village with Taylor as our guide, bringing the landscape and the real life people that inspired this tale. Squat Movie was awarded the bronze Telly Award for 2007.

Biblical Barbie is a fun book trailer that emphasizes entertaining content over hard selling. Making fun of stereotypes, the video is just fun, with a soft sell for the book The New Eve at the end. It is viral marketing at its best. We partnered with stop-motion film maker Greg Pope to create book video that entertains first, and sells second.

Moderator: Also see HC launches in-house video studio (Publishers Weekly). Meanwhile here’s a reminder of the obvious, an issue we’ve discussed in the TeleBlog before. Will mediocre but telegenic authors prevail over the gifted but not-so-good-looking variety? In fairness to video, book-jacket photos have long been a factor. – D.R.

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