TED-ish Talk Tips – and a question

Lately, I’ve been creating YouTube videos to promote my nonfiction books. Often, I share one or two tips from a book, and then point viewers to it at Amazon.

TED-ish Talk Tips for Video Book TrailersThat presents some slight problems.

First of all, there is no way I’m stepping in front of a camera. That’s a privacy issue.

So, my presentation has to be compelling.

The second issue is a quirky one. I’m kind of famous in one niche, and people know my voice from lots of radio shows, public appearances, podcasts, and so on.

(I was on the History Channel once, as well. It was less fun than I’d hoped.)

But this means I can’t sound like myself in videos under another pen name. Someone is sure to notice the voice and say, “Hey, wait… I know that voice! She’s [pen name]!”

So, my presentation has to say everything in text, usually in slides, right there on the screen.

(I use music for the backgrounds. If you’re doing this, I recommend getting the 7-day free trial membership at AudioBlocks.com. You can download 20 audios per day. It’ll save you money while you’re deciding whether you want to continue making videos.)


To keep my slides interesting, I’m studying TED Talks.

As a shortcut to understanding what works – and doesn’t – in related slide presentations, I like a book called How To Design Ted Worthy Presentation Slides, by Akash Karia.

If you don’t mind reading an older version of that book – it’s shorter by about 35 pages – you can find a PDF of it here:Β http://communicationskillstips.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/How-to-Design-TED-Wothy-Presentation-Slides.pdf

He links to some great resources.


Like many people, I’m stepping away from Facebook. Not entirely, because – for now – it’s still useful for connecting with fellow writers. And for advertising, maybe.

(Seeing how wrong Facebook got my interests, I’m not as enthusiastic about their “targeted” ads, now.)

I might just use HootSuite to post quick links at my Facebook page. It is a convenient way for people to see them.

Or, I’m considering doing that at a blog (maybe here), and people will see those posts if they’ve subscribed to my emails (in the right column on this page), or if they use an RSS reader. (Yeah. I know. That’s very old-school, but it’s something I may go back to, myself.)

So, I’m interested in your reactions. How would you feel about a mix of quick, short links-plus-blurbs here, in addition to my usual everything-but-the-kitchen-sink posts?

Or, should I set up a “just the links, ma’am” kind of blog, for those posts?

UPDATE: The response was almost immediate. Many of my readers made it clear that they prefer infrequent, personal, sometimes-long articles. So, I’ll be setting up a separate micro-posts blog for links, trivia, and the occasional/fleeting bright idea.

7 thoughts on “TED-ish Talk Tips – and a question”

  1. You were on the history channel? OMG, that’s so cool!
    I would love to hear more about what that interview process was like.
    I know one of your pen names and niches, but not sure if that’s the one you’re talking about.
    Ima put on my sleuth hat and see what I can figure out now. Mwahahahaha But don’t worry, if I’m successful I won’t say anything. Privacy is very important to me, too, which is why I use so many pseudonyms.

    I love Facebook though, and I don’t actually care if they know stuff about me. But that’s just me.

    Blogs are very different from social media sites. But I don’t see why you couldn’t blog lots of teeny little micro posts a day, if you wanted to. I don’t have you on Facebook so if you switched over to here I’d get to see everything, and that would be sweet.

    I do wish you had a blog reply notification button though. I have to come back here to check to see if you replied, and sometimes I forget. The notifications are the best part of social media sites.

    1. Ah, my moment in the spotlight… LOL

      It was weird. I don’t know what I was expecting, because they were interviewing me under one of my “woo-woo” pen names. The topic was… odd.

      But, I had no idea how odd it was, until I was sitting in a hotel – a makeshift “green room” while they were filming in coastal Massachusetts – and looked around the room.

      All I could think was, “Whoa. Am I one of these people…? Is this the creme de la creme of experts on this topic…?” LOL

      Then there was the actual interview. I was given an uncomfortable chair in front of a green screen. I had a bazillion lights in my face. People – who were only vague, shadow-y outlines in the glare – shouted questions at me. (In post-production, those would be edited out, so it sounded like I was being interviewed by a single, calm, show host.)

      Worse, I’d been in the middle of some major dental rebuilds. So, I tried to limit my smile (to cover the temporary work) and that probably didn’t help me look like a normal, sane person, talking about a slightly zany topic. LOL

      The icing on the cake was the NDA I had to sign. It required me never to talk about just which show and which episode I’d been on. (I have never understood that. I thought they’d want my fans/friends/followers to know about it, to watch the show.)

      But, even I didn’t watch the show. I didn’t want to see how bad I looked and how I’d been edited.

      After that, I swore off TV. (I was already wary. I’d seen how several close friends had been edited on their shows, and… yikes. The edited shows turned them into caricatures of themselves. The results were between “sad” and “creepy.”)

      So, yes. This week, yet another TV producer contacted me, wanting to give me My Very Own Show. I’m always amazed that, though I’ve made my disinterest clear on my author site, producers seem to think they can offer me something new/different that will change my mind. Or maybe they don’t believe me.

      Either way, I’m sure TV can be a great opportunity in some niches. Apparently, my friends and I don’t write in those niches. LOL

      1. I love History Channel shows. The wooier the better! I think most of the peeps they interview doe those shows are authors. I never stopped to think about how they got those authors on the show though.

        That’s interesting that lots of people were shouting questions at you instead of your interviewer. I don’t blame you for not wanting to watch yourself. The first time I saw myself on video I cried. πŸ˜€ So I don’t do video at all, or even audio. At least right now.

        Being offered your own TV show is flattering, at least. πŸ™‚

        Thanks for sharing more details about your experience. And for adding comment follow!!!

        1. Agreed. The History Channel is one of my favorites to watch. And yes, I’m always flattered when someone offers me a TV show, but – to be honest – I’ve had offers at least once or twice a year, since around 2003. Sometimes they just want me as a guest, as a sort of screen test for my own show. Other times, they’ve offered me a show, outright.

          Seeing what happened to my friends’ privacy…? No way. There isn’t enough money for that kind of life-in-a-fishbowl existence. :-p LOL

          Also, I’m glad you suggested the comment follow option. It never crossed my mind!

          1. I understand wanting to keep your privacy. It’s easy to attract stalkers, trolls, or just well meaning but very lonely people who feel a kinship with you and want to get a little too close for comfort.

          2. Yes, all of the above! I love the opportunity to have a conversation with friends, fans, and people who are curious about my niches. I’m flattered when, in real life, people realize who I am… and go all starry-eyed and talk about how long they’ve been fans. But… yes, though the little-too-ardent, creepy, or antagonistic people, online and off-, are a tiny minority, they drive many of us into seclusion.

            I keep looking at this, and thinking: Okay, because we can see them online, at least we have a general idea of who they are, where they are, and how many there are. But, the flip side is: Being online, our visibility attracts more of them.

            At the moment, I figure that the percentages remain fairly constant. Long before the Internet, I had stalkers, antagonists, copycats, and people who seemed interested in me at an unhealthy level. I just didn’t know about them until they signed up for one of my classes, showed up at my front door, or – the most ridiculous example, so far – got a job at the post office, just to steal my incoming & outgoing mail. (He was caught. His landlord found bags of my mail in the guy’s basement, and called the cops. And yes, that’s a federal crime and he went to jail.)

            In my opinion, pen names are kind of essential. I have several, and all of my popular books sell under those names. It’s peace of mind! πŸ™‚

  2. Oh, and youtube is a great way to advertise nonfiction books. Great idea! Akash Karia is pretty great. I have a few of his books and I’m in his Facebook group under my real name.

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