Saturday, July 27, 2013

Meet Petra Ortiz, Author, Publisher, and Book Trailer Designer

Petra Ortiz is an author and publisher. She creates promotional videos, audio products, and book trailers that entice viewers to take action. She is always studying and working towards improving the value she provides to her clients.

Petra enjoys helping business owners, whether online or offline, gain more happy, loyal, and repeat customers by producing high quality video and audio creations. Find samples of Petra's book trailers on her website as well as on Pinterest.

Below is a slide from a video she produced for a client.

And here is a sample video in its entirety.

1. How did you get started making audio and video products?

Well as far as voice products are concerned--it's funny to me how that started. Ever since my first "job" at 14 yrs young, as an office assistant and all the jobs I've had since then, I've always been the one chosen to record a phone system's greeting message. Each time I asked why I was asked to do it, I'd always receive the SAME simple answer: "because you have a nice voice."

So, I decided I should learn how to record and edit my voice, because I was being asked more and more to read scripts for the videos I was ultimately producing for clients. I have recorded for radio shows, blog posts, promotional videos, book trailers--and am now being chosen for voice acting jobs as well (those are always fun). In my offer's description I mention that my voice works well for clients that are looking for an honest, sincere genuine and happy voice--not necessarily a "salesy" one.

As far as video products are concerned: I love videos; I search YouTube all the time to solve almost any problem I may have. My children learn from YouTube videos as well, and in fact I am starting a "Lego" channel for them soon, because they enjoy building Lego sets. I am so thankful that it is available.

One of the things I enjoy doing is helping other people learn how to do something--it can be anything. Because I love watching videos to learn, I figured I'd better learn how to make my own to teach others. I create videos to provide helpful information. When I look back on things that have happened in my life, and how I got myself out of things--then I shared the information with as many as I could, to help them avoid the same mistakes and mishaps...I understand now how that's basically why I do what I do.

I mostly make videos for myself about a free product or site that I really like and wish to advocate. Other times I am promoting things I love. I'm always happy to receive "thank you's" from viewers. Shortly after making videos for my own needs, I started getting requests to make them for others. And requests to voice the videos. And requests to create tutorial-style videos and so on and so forth. I rather enjoy doing this.

So when I first heard about outsourcing, and Fiverr, and began my search for the best illustrators there for my books--I decided and it seemed like a natural thing, to begin offering my services there too. Traditionally I created products for local clients, and now I can offer my services on a global scale--it's pretty cool! After all, they, like Amazon and other big companies, spend tons of money on generating traffic to the site. And anytime that a business owner can associate him/herself with a site that already spends big money for reliable steady huge traffic, that is a plus in my book.

2. As both an author and a video producer, what particular knowledge and skills do you bring to making book trailers?

For audio products, having a good microphone, a noise-free room or studio, and good audio editing software is essential. It takes time to learn how to use software properly, fully and more importantly efficiently. For making book trailers, understanding how to manipulate music and voice recordings is important.

For the video production, you will need the audio skills I mentioned, and also video editing skills. You will need to know how to use different platforms (and there are tons out there), not just the technical aspects of these platforms, but how to use them creatively, so that your clients will get great feedback on your work, and that increases the chances for more sales for the client, plus that the video will be shared with others. This means more "word of mouth" advertising for the author, working 24/7 in his/her favor. This also means more referrals for the video producer.

Having these skills, plus experience in writing scripts, generating traffic, and writing and publishing ebooks, paperbacks and audio books helps me to understand more what my client's needs and wants are. Which means I can help to create something enticing for him/her. And that is what this is all about: enticing the viewer/reader to get them to take action. (By the end of reading this entire post, are you ready to take action and create your next book trailer?)

3. How do book trailers help authors (in other words, why does an author need a book trailer)?

There are tons of books produced every year. Only a small percentage have book trailers produced for them. How many movies have no movie trailer?

How does a potential ticket buyer or book buyer know that a movie or book is available (aside from walking into a theatre or bookstore)?

By having book trailers "out there" on the web, an author has a way to entice potential readers to want to take a look at the book's listing--to "take action" as I mentioned. This allows the potential reader to decide to buy, download a sample, spread the word about the book in an easy way using sharing icons available at most video sharing sites.

And how much does it cost to have 24/7 access to a book trailer on a video sharing site? Nothing.

A book trailer allows the author to convey the tone and genre, or even make the potential reader's problem (for a non-fiction book) "blow up" in her/his face--and then show that potential reader that his/her book IS the solution.

Let me ask you: when you use a search engine to find out about a topic, do you readily notice--and then click-on-- the hits that have a video thumbnail image? Or do you bypass those and look through the other listings?

As an example, visit Google, Yahoo or Bing and type "dumbo octopus book" and look at how many video thumbnails are present. Why? Because Google "loves" Amazon, and Google owns YouTube. So naturally, Google will show more YouTube video thumbnails and more Amazon listings near the top and on the first page.

4. Your blog mentions resources to help authors and entrepreneurs promote their work with free and low-cost methods; how does video and audio content come into play? (In other words, how do you keep your content affordable for your clients?)

By educating prospective clients, it is an easier, and less costly process to have a book trailer produced. It saves time, because one is getting exactly what they want, and it saves money because projects don't have to be re-ordered, re-created, re-done...and at an inexpensive base price for a nice looking video, why not get several made?

In order to have a book trailer created, and preferably after that author or publisher has watched samples to get a feel for what he/she would like, it's very important to decide what to do and what to hire out for, when it comes to the following:

1. Is a voice over going to be utilized? Yes? Then you need a script for the voice over part (a book description helps, and reviews and testimonials help for this, too).

2. A script of the texts that the author wants displayed in the video. Some videos show texts, word for word, while others, show bits of sentences here and there. It all depends on what the content is, and what mood one wants to convey. Think "what type and what combination of items will create the most intrigue?"

3. Images and/or illustrations (or will it be a text heavy video, with just the book cover as the only image utilized?).

4. Music--very important! A video without music is boring, and most people will not sit through and watch it.

5. How much money is budgeted for this book trailer? Decide this at the beginning so there are no surprises later.

6. A portion of the audio book can be utilized as content for the "voice over," which also saves money.

7. A portion of the book can be utilized as content for the script to save money on copywriting.

So to keep things affordable:

A. The ebook I mention below will help tremendously, and it is short and to-the-point as far as how to find the best people to hire, and which items in particular to buy.

B. Using the book listing's description, and reviewer's subject lines and reviews will help craft an awesome script. Otherwise, it would be better to have a person write a compelling script for you, especially if the book description is just a block of text. By this I am referring to bolding, bulleting, spacing--as far as the book's listing page--to create more enticing slides.

C. The use of royalty-free, and attribution-free, stock images and or stock footage, and stock music will save money no doubt. If the free items are not to one's liking, there are sites I recommend all the time that either allow you to purchase individual items, or offer packages and subscriptions. I have music, images, and footage to use in my video productions, but always refer sites to people that would rather look and choose on their own. The only cost is one's time.

5. For someone with a low budget and a product to promote, what advice would you give?

I am currently writing a book, and creating a course on this very topic. Because most of my clients come to me not knowing exactly what they want--and not knowing what it all entails--I want to help them make the best decisions for their project, with their budget in mind. I want to make it simple to understand, and productive and highly successful for us both. Rather than spend hundreds to thousands for a book trailer, they can have several created at a fraction of the cost.

Video and audio content, whether it's on a blog post, an article, in a book sample, etc is always going to be more noticeable, and more enticing, than a page full of text. More importantly, viewers will retain more of that information, because of the way it's presented.

I recommend going with a book trailer that is only going to cost $5.00. In my instance, that would mean that I'd create an up to 2 minute video using an animated template, using just your book cover image, your script of messages to display, and creating a nice-looking "book slide" with a call to action for the end of the video, and adding music to it of course. After that one trailer, I'm certain that you will want to have more created, in various styles, to promote your book even more. Once a video is uploaded to video sharing sites, it is there to stay.

The next step for an author or publisher will be to promote it heavily, either by themselves or by outsourcing some marketing. I can recommend several people whose main goal is to get as many potential readers as possible to one's book or offer.

You should also embed the video onto blog posts, articles and "sales pages."

The next step is testing various affordable promotional efforts, namely using the right offers at Fiverr. Find out which ones are bringing forth not just more sales, but also more social shares, and comments and subscribers. What I call "testing and tweaking."

Then focus on those in particular with which to place more time energy and budget into--because you now know the outcome of your efforts.

I highly recommend utilizing sites like Fiverr, which allow one to purchase high quality products and services at amazingly low prices. It is important to understand beforehand how to do so, so that a person doesn't waste time or money, ending up with an inferior product and frustration. It is for that reason that I highly recommend this book, written by publisher and author A. Parra Pinto, editor of the South American publishing company EDICIONES DE LA PARRA: The Indie Author's Guide To Fiverr Resources: How to Write, Publish and Promote Your Book for Only $5! (Kindle Self-Publishing 101), available on Amazon.

I am one of the people he selected to interview, because he was happy with my work, and because he wanted to share the top resources he found on the site, not just for authors and publishers but also for entrepreneurs.

I use his ebook before I am going to undertake my own projects, to find the best people. I also refer clients to his books as well as refer them to sellers offers based on the vital tips included. Even if someone decides not to hire me, I can at least point them in the right direction and I very often do because that is just the way that I am.

Thanks, Petra!


  1. I had the pleasure of working with Petra for a video done for my debut novel and she is every bit the professional and on top of her game when it comes to giving the client what they want/need. I had never had a video before and when I went in search of one, her profile stuck out for me and I will stick with her through ALL my projects if she will have me. I thoroughly enjoyed this article because it gave me further insight to who she is as a person and I admire the diligence that she has and the journey she has traveled to have gained her mass knowledge base. I love when we, as women, take control of our destinies and use our talents along the way. Very inspiring.


    1. Thanks, Traci. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. :)