Are book trailers considered an essential marketing tool for authors now? Probably not by many, however, when you consider the huge marketing potential offered by video sharing sites like YouTube, authors might be well advised to consider tapping into this marketing tool. But be warned – a bad book trailer may be worse for you than having no book trailer!
Video book trailers come in a variety of ‘styles’. Everything from simple image and text montages, to authors talking about their books, right through to productions that resemble movie trailers. It is particularly important to consider which type of trailer will appeal to your potential readers. Not only do you want something that shows people what the book is about, but something they will enjoy watching and feel compelled to share with others.
Read the experiences of these authors, who have used a variety of different types of trailers. View their videos and share your thoughts on these trailers at the bottom of the page. What type of trailer do you have for your book? Or what type do you think would suit your book / reader’s tastes?
I produced a video book trailer for my humorous relationship advice book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates. I wrote it myself and used images from my book. I also selected the track from stock music. A friend, who lives in LA and works as an animator, put it together for me, as I don’t have the technical know-how.
It’s difficult to measure how successful it’s been for driving traffic and sales. At the moment, it’s had over 450 views and has been live for 6 months. I’m glad I have it, because I think it’s a really fun and dynamic way to promote the book.
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I created a book trailer for my book Be A Free Range Human which launched at the beginning of January. My publisher (a traditional business house) had never had an author do a book trailer before and I did it all myself, with some outsourced help.
The – rather unusual – trailer drove signups for my book site www.beafreerangehuman.com and as a result we got this book to a) sell out on Amazon.co.uk on its first day and b) be Amazon’s hottest new release across all books in mid December (based on pre-sales alone!). It is also a #1 bestseller in entrepreneurship and careers. Much of the buzz that led to that initial success was from the trailer (but now the book is gathering its own momentum).
The trailer was filmed in two cities and put together in a third. I was in California for most of it (all the outdoor cliff shots!) then in NYC for the street shots and back in London, UK for the rest. I story-boarded it all myself and got a videographer to shoot and edit under my direction. The speaking you hear on it was from Skype-recorded interviews with some of my clients (their words were unscripted and we edited them together).
What it is not – book trailer mistake to avoid
It is not an ad for the book. I don’t mention the book anywhere in the trailer! It’s there to get people thinking, inspired and curious – I think that a lot of authors make the mistake of trying to do an info-mercial for their book, but you don’t pass a bland info-mercial around to your friends! This trailer is one I know has been passed around with people saying “you have to see this“, and it’s the message and passion that people buy into, and that in turn leads to getting the free chapter from the website and buying the book.
In total, I spent only $600 US on this (I was going to be in those locations anyway so flights don’t count!). I could have done it myself (as I usually make all my videos) but I wanted something unusual and of a higher quality for the book. I think this video drove substantial interest and sales and it is still something people comment on when getting in touch about the book.
You can see the trailer here: www.beafreerangehuman.com
I had a computer animated trailer produced for my book Gamers’ Quest in 2009. It’s been viewed over a thousand times on YouTube, but I discovered that I actually had to promote the trailer in order to get those hits. The most useful part of having the trailer was being able to show it to school groups whenever I did school talks and writing workshops. It proved to be a great way of engaging an audience and getting their attention from the word go.
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When the sequel, Gamers’ Challenge, came out in 2010, I had another trailer made by the same guy who did the first (Henry Gibbens). This time around I really didn’t put very much effort into promoting the trailer online. This is reflected in the smaller number of hits. But I did use it for school visits and again it proved to be very successful in this regard.
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In June this year, the third book in the series will be published — Gamers’ Rebellion. Henry Gibbens will again be making a new trailer.
I published a book in February last year called Ambush Proposals: The Hero’s Guide to Wedding Proposals. The promotional video has had 20,000 views and was featured in The Huffington Post as a quirky and unique way to promote the book.
The promotional video played a large part in attaining media coverage of the book, including reviews and articles in The Courier Mail, BMag, Mx Commuter Magazine, ABC Radio, The Knot.com.au and various online publications.
The promotional video is interactive, and was created with the help of Paul Holland. Paul assisted with the animations and producing the video in an interactive format. The video itself was filmed in my home by myself and my husband.
The video provides viewers with a number of questions, to which they respond by clicking on an icon on their screen, which prompts the next part of the video. They are eventually streamed one of eight possible proposal ideas based on their answers to the questions. The video functions on PC, but iPad and mobile users can scroll the ‘description’ of the video to select their responses. (When viewing the questions, I recommend waiting until the end of the clip on Question 3 for an extra giggle.)
It has been a fun way to promote the book, which won a finalist medal in the Indie Book Awards in 2012.
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My first book, It’s That Easy – Online Marketing 3.0, was a collaborative effort. I sourced eighteen authors (which includes myself), to show business owners how to better connect and engage with their market online.
I’m very big on video marketing and know the power it has in terms of Google ranking, syndication and customer engagement, so producing a video that not only highlights the content but also the authors, in my eyes, is essential.
I used an online program called Animoto which has a small yearly licence fee. It’s a program that allows you to draw in images and audio files along with your choice of text and then it magically edits it together based on the tempo and length of the music. The music is original and was written by one of my staff, Aaron James Lee. Anyone can use Animoto and it is simple and fast to put together.
I know that the video will help with the decision process of potential purchases. It not only highlights the content and authors but will engage purchasers in a way that text and images alone cannot.
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What Do Vegans Eat? book started out as a scrapbook-style presentation for a Brisbane vegan group. I wanted my presentation to be fun and visually appealing, yet still have the important educational aspects of a vegan health talk. I combined my love for fun, easy to comprehend education, with food and animal photographs and myself posing to create what I hope is an inspiring look at how easy being a vegan is nowadays.
The video idea for What Do Vegans Eat? and My USA Adventures was simply like my other videos: DIY, friendly and colourful, with basic information.
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My USA Adventures is a book based on my travel adventures to 14 out of 50 states in the United States of America. Throughout June and July in 2010, and July and August in 2011, I take readers along on my travels with journal entry-style narration of my adventures.
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My video book trailers have worked well for sales and I would suggest everyone include a video for promotional purposes.