Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Peek Behind the Scenes, by Kathleen Ernst

The official publication date for Old World Murder is October 1, 2010. And I want to spend the next six months helping to create some buzz.

When I worked in the historic sites biz, I learned that visitors are fascinated with behind-the-scenes stuff. Where are the collections stored? Why is that farmhouse furnished the way it is? What research led to that program? People pay extra for tours that offer answers to that type of question.

So as I thought about promoting Old World Murder, I decided to do something similar. I'd make a video or two to help draw readers into my (and my protagonist's) world, and--I hope--intrigue them about the book.

Now, watching me stare at a computer screen is about as exciting as watching paint dry. But there is, of course, more to creating a book than the actual writing.

The plot of Old World Murder revolves around a missing antique Norwegian ale bowl. I needed to understand what antique Norwegian ale bowls looked like, and how they were used. That kind of research is the fun stuff! And I thought readers might enjoy it, too.

I got to see a lot of gorgeous old bowls at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum--some on display, some in storage. My husband Scott and I recently completed a short video about my visit. This is not a book trailer; it's a peek behind the scenes.



I embedded the video into a blog post that provided additional context. I've also posted it on my website, my Facebook fan page, and on my (brand spankin' new) YouTube channel. I don't pretend to know that making short videos will make a noticeable difference in sales, but it was fun, and I've gotten some positive feedback.

Have you seen or done any promotional video-based projects, trailers or otherwise? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

9 comments:

Lisa Bork said...

Beautiful bowls, Kathleen. Thanks for sharing.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

You are so right, Kathleen. Readers love to know the stories behind the books we write. I post photos of the places I visit for research on my Facebook page. Sometimes it encourages folks to plan their own visit.

The video you made is so cool! Thanks for sharing.

G.M. Malliet said...

What gorgeous workmanship. Thanks for sharing this.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

These are amazing!

You've really done some research, Kathleen! Thanks for sharing your findings with us in your book and online...

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Beth Groundwater said...

Great idea to share a research video on the blog, Kathleen!

Alice Loweecey said...

Fascinating!

Darrell James said...

Thanks for the background, Kathleen. I always find it interesting to see what insired a story to life. Great post!

Kathleen Ernst said...

Thanks, guys. Sue Ann, it must be wonderful to know that readers want to follow in your characters' footsteps!

Alice Trego said...

This was really neat, Kathleen!

Wonderful that you've added video-making as a way to let fans know a little bit about behind-the-scenes research.

I love how you ventured to Iowa to learn more about the bowls for your latest release. Being 'there' is just a must sometimes...

Alice