How to produce a Zoom/YouTube Series and make it work…correctly, part 2

by Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn

We are a husband and wife team who write together as well as individually. When the Pandemic hit, we were as shocked and confused as everyone else. Not only by the world’s sad state of affairs, but we missed our friends.  It took a few months to realize that the Pandemic was going to take some time to resolve. So, we decided to launch a YouTube channel, “Chatting with Authors.” We produce casual interview programs via Zoom and air them on YouTube.

          This is the second of a two-part series that discusses the ins and outs of making it work and some pitfalls to avoid.

Once you have all of your technical details worked out and, most important, are comfortable using them, next comes the talent (people you want to interview).

INITIAL CONTACT- First, we sent an initial letter to inform authors of the program, what it was going to involve and asked if they were interested in being on the program. Surprisingly, we had little response to the idea. We set up three Zoom recordings of those who were interested. After editing them and scheduling them on YouTube, we were able to refer the authors to the three programs. That’s when the flood gates opened!  

FOLLOW UP- We scheduled two to three Zoom recording sessions per day. We found that any more, and we were getting too “punchy” toward the end. The best was two or three. Once the talent was scheduled for recording, we asked them to send a headshot, website address, short bio, and five questions they would like us to ask them on the show.  Once we received their information, we scheduled a phone interview a week before their Zoom session. This is where we discussed the procedure and went through the bio and questions (we usually had to edit the bios and questions to fit in the 30-minute recording session).

DURING ZOOM RECORDING- We discovered gremlins in the internet that can cause all sorts of problems, especially when interviewing people in different countries or the east coast (we are in California). So it is best to schedule an hour even though our show is 30 minutes. Once you get them online, check audio and visual. Remedy any problems, like echoes, before you begin recording.

Be sure to keep the talent on after the recording is finished to discuss any problems that may have occurred during the session, i.e., visual static, audio blank spots, lights falling (it happens!!), and decide if you need to redo the interview at another time. This happened only twice out of 64 shows.

AFTER THE SESSION- Immediately after the recording session, summarize the interview for your PR for the show. We have a specific logo we use and superimposed their headshot on it. When we schedule our airings on the various platforms, we use that summary and logo.

 A week before we air their program, we send them a notification of day and time, a copy of the logo, address, and summary we are using. 

IMPORTANT!  Always ask them to confirm that they received the information. Always!

DRESS-be sure what you wear will not disappear into the background. And council your talent to be careful if they are using a green screen or a background. We had a few people who were armless and faceless or bodiless until they changed their clothing.

THE STUDIO- We record from a corner of our office, early in the morning every Thursday.  So, each Wednesday evening, we set up the studio and take it down every Thursday afternoon. It may seem like a pain, but it does get easier as you do it.

Things to watch out for:

—If you are recording on your premises (home, garage, outside), be sure you know when the gardeners, carpenter, cement workers, trash pickup, etc., are coming anywhere in the neighborhood. It can get embarrassingly loud! 

—Be sure your lights are soundly taped down or strapped. One of our lights managed to stay put during the first two interviews of the day but came crashing down on the third one. We acknowledged it but kept the interview going. 

—During the phone interview prior to recording, you will get a feel for the nervous state of the talent. If they have never done this before, they can get pretty frazzled. So encourage them as you record their interview.  

With much planning and practice before your first recording, you will have a blast doing interviews with friends, meeting new people, and, most of all, making connections. We have written five books and recorded 64 shows together, and yes…we are still married!

 

Janet Elizabeth Lynn
Author of mysteries, checkout my website www.janetlynnauthor.com
Check out our latest Skylar Drake Mystery.
 

(For questions and/or information on how  YOU and your writing can be hosted on “Chatting With Authors” please contact them at: lynnslp@earthlink.net )

 

This blog was posted for Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn by Jackie Houchin

 

Is a Web Con Worth It?

Is a Web Con Worth It? An opinion by Jacqueline Vick

Writing conferences are a great opportunity for both published and unpublished authors to mingle with others for camaraderie and support; meet agents, editors, and others who can help shape their careers; and soak up information offered by various panels.
I remember my first writer’s conference – Love is Murder in Chicago, IL. I was floored by the warmth and sense of community offered by both attendees and big wigs, such as Charlaine Harris and Ken Bruen.
Now that money is tight for most people, online conferences are popping up all over the internet. But can a writer get the same benefits over the internet?
I recently “attended” both The Muse Online Writers Conference (2010 registration opens up soon!) and The PP Web Con offered by Poisoned Pen Press and the Poisoned Pen Bookstore, and here is what I found.

It’s hard to beat the costs of an online conference.

PP charged $25.00 which was then donated to a library chosen at random. Muse was free. You can’t attend a physical conference for $25.00.

Socializing takes place online, too.

Each of these conferences had chat rooms or “coffee shops”. At the PP Web Con, you did have to schedule time to visit, assumedly to keep the site from crashing.

Plenty of Panels to choose from

Both conferences offered dozens of live presentations, panels, and chats. The difference is, some of these panels were recorded and made available at any time during and after the conference to enable attendees to listen at their leisure. Some classes and panels were offered in text, some were offered as audio files, and some were full-blown video feed. My preference was the video, and my favorite was offered through Skype. I was able to type in questions and the author answered them. It was as close to being there without getting in the car and driving to the author’s home.

What about pitching?

Muse offered a lot of opportunities to meet with publishers and to pitch. Most of these companies were looking for Romance, and if that’s your genre, you couldn’t ask for a better chance to pitch your book. At PP, there was a drawing, and winning participants were able to pitch.

Will I need special hardware?

As far as hardware and programs, the PP WebCon listed the various free programs you might need, such as Skype, and a high-speed hookup will work best for conferences with live video and audio feed. You definitely need working speakers, and if you want to participate in some of the live panels, you will need a microphone as well.

I don’t believe that online conferences will replace physical conferences, since it’s difficult to get the same sense of community online, but they were both well worth attending, and I hope to see more offerings in the future.

***

Jackie Houcin

But what about book purchases and book signings? I know I would miss that feature in an online conference. What about raffles and drawings and goodie-bags? And no candid photos of myself with Lisa Scottoline, Michael Connelly or Dan Brown? Ha-ha!
And, the food! Now, I know banquet food isn’t always that great, but sometimes the fresh fruit platters, French rolls with real butter, and of course the desserts are hard to beat. (Yes, I know, we can always raid our own refrigerators if our stomachs start growling or we need something to chew on or to wake us up. But there’s something “pampered” about having your meals provided.)
On the other hand … online conferences do allow you to attend wearing your pajamas.
***
I should have mentioned that the PP Webcon did have a goodie bag filled with downloadable short stories, novel excerpts, and even entire novels. PP also gave attendees a $20.00 gift certificate toward their bookstore.
As for food, since you’re in your pajamas anyway, you can eat at the computer and no one will think you’re a piggy. (Except your significant other!)
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