So, you have written your book, or almost have, and you’re getting into marketing mode. Have you thought about using a book trailer to promote your novel? Book trailers are extremely helpful in spreading the word about your book and getting people interested in reading—and hopefully, buy it. There are two routes you can take—hire a company to design and produce your trailer or you can go it alone and DIY. If you hire someone, the prices vary wildly. From what I have researched you can spend anywhere from $400 to $15,000. Now that’s a huge gap in price ranges, and the quality of the work will reflect what you pay. However, if you decide you want to create your trailer, there are many software programs available for free and purchase on the internet. Either way you go you should absolutely have a book trailer for your work to get the public’s attention and peak their curiosity. If you want to DIY your trailer but don’t know how, below is a video of one author’s journey to make her own. There is also a Book Trailer from Film 14 that will give you an idea what a good trailer should look like. I hope you enjoy and use what you learn to sell more books😉
Book Trailers And Using Video For Book Marketing
By: Joanna Penn
Trailers can certainly be a very different way to get attention for your book and today, I’m going more in depth on the topic with Jerome McLain from Book Frenzy Studios.
First, check out the trailer for Gates of Hell below or here on YouTube, which Jerome made for me. It’s certainly a cut above what I have been doing myself!
Why is video an important part of book marketing?
I believe video is very important for 5 reasons:
- The explosive growth and popularity of video allows an author to be seen by large numbers of existing and potential new fans.
- Video can directly impact your marketing efforts because it is a “shareable” medium that can create immediate buzz about your book.
- Video can foster deeper connections between authors and their readers by increasing the KLT (Know, Like, Trust) Factor which is critical to book sales.
- Video helps keep your book top-of-mind as the reader is faced with the choice of purchasing your book over another title.
- Video is cost-effective. Once created, it continues to deliver your message 24/7 with no further investment costs.
[From Joanna: I would add that video trailers can be particularly effective for translations, where you have fewer options for marketing if you don’t speak the language. I’ve done German, Italian and Spanish trailers using the same English video with translated words. So in that case, it’s great value!]
What evidence is there for book trailers actually getting attention and buyers for books?
A book trailer is a specific type of video marketing. Some video marketing stats that authors need to be aware of are:
Readers are 64% more likely to purchase your book if they see a book trailer that effectively promotes your book. (Source: ComScore)
Using a book trailer on a sales landing page can increase conversion rates by as much as 80% (Source: Unbounce)
Visitors to your author website stay an average of 2 minutes longer than on author sites that do not use video. (Source: ComScore)
92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. (Source: Invodo)
Authors who use book trailer video in email campaigns can experience Open Rates [increases] from 19% to 300%! (Source: Forrester Research)
These stats show that if a book trailer is used strategically as a video marketing tool (rather than a vanity item) it can lead to increased awareness and book sales.
Besides creating an engaging book trailer, the most important thing I can recommend is Distribution. This means taking your book trailer and posting it to several top websites in your niche or genre. I believe this is a critical step that many authors either skip or don’t know.
Posting your trailer on YouTube or FaceBook isn’t enough these days.
You must strategically place your trailer in all online/offline places where book buyers hangout. I truly believe a widely distributed mediocre book trailer will generate more book sales than an amazing trailer that is practically invisible online.
What makes a good book trailer – and a bad book trailer?
A good script, creative editing and brevity are what make a good book trailer.
The trailer should visually hint at what takes place in the storyline rather than literally explaining all the details. A well edited trailer keeps the story moving and ensures that the trailer isn’t too short or too long in duration. Your music selection and quality of graphics are also important considerations for a successful trailer.
The book trailer for Revived by Cat Patrick is an example of really good work. Also, the trailer for Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard is awesome. These are two great examples of trailers that make you want to know more about the book after viewing them.
Examples of a bad book trailers are everywhere. Most of them are not actually trailers but rather DIY slideshows.
There are some popular services that make creating video easier but I liken them to the early days of desktop publishing: just because you have a tool that allows you to create your own layouts, doesn’t mean you will automatically (or easily) produce professional results. They often use low quality graphics/photos, copyrighted music (don’t even get me started on that!) and poor music selection.
Poor editing makes them way too long and they just plod along to the bitter end. The main reason why they don’t work is that viewers’ tastes are more sophisticated these days. You are competing with what they see on network tv, cable, etc. Some examples of really bad trailers are here and here.
What are some tips for authors wanting to do their own book trailers?
First, I’ll cover some great sources of media for your trailer. For beautiful, high resolution images that you can download for free, visit www.unsplash.com. Another site along the same lines is www.gratisography.com.
Video clips for your trailer can be expensive but fortunately there are some really good free or inexpensive options. You can find free public domain clips at www.archive.org. You can find thousands of great video clips at www.videoblocks.com. They offer very high quality videos for a super low yearly subscription. For music go to www.freestockmusic.com. Just create a free account and download all types of music styles for free with no license restrictions.
Once you have your media, here are 4 basic steps to creating a trailer that has impact:
- Write a script specifically for video. Start with your book’s synopsis. Its usually brief and provides enough detail without giving away the plot. Make your trailers duration is no longer than 90 seconds. A good rule of thumb to remember is 50 words amounts to about 30 seconds of video.
- Find appropriate music. Music sets the emotional tone of the trailer and is just as important as the visuals. Wisely choose what goes with the story you’re telling with the video. Watch trailers in your genre to study what music selections were used.
- Edit the trailer. PC users can edit using Movie Maker which comes installed with Windows while Mac users can edit with iMovie. A great resource to learn tips & tricks of editing video is lynda.com.
- Distribute your trailer in multiple places. Although a great place to post, YouTube is now a crowded space that requires LOTS of work to be noticed there. That said, don’t put all your eggs in that basket. There are video distribution services such as oneload.com that, for a fee, will distribute your video to multiple, popular social and video sharing sites. This really increases the chances of your hard work being seen and traffic being led back to your site or blog.
Top 9 Book Trailer Production Services:
1) Kathy’s Notes http://www.booktrailerservices.com/
2) Film 14 https://film-14.com/
4) Dog Ear Publishing https://www.dogearpublishing.net/book-marketing-services/marketing-book-trailers.php
5) LiteraryTitan https://literarytitan.com/book-trailer-service/
6) Crimson River http://www.crimsonriverproductions.com/
7) Book Venture https://www.bookventure.com/services/marketing/book-trailer
8) Black Chateau Enterprises https://www.blackchateauenterprises.com/book-trailer/
9) Brilliant Book Trailers http://brilliantbooktrailers.com/
The Ultimate Guide to Book Trailers: How To Produce a Killer Book Promo Video
By Julia Drake
Consider these stats: Video racks up over 22 billion daily views. It increases the organic reach of social media content by over 100%, compared to photos or text. It ranks toward the top of the first page in Google searches, is popular across demographics, and builds an instant emotional connection with your audience.
No wonder publishers and authors are increasingly leveraging video to tap into an exploding audience. But as much as a good book promo video makes that lasting first impression, a bad video is like a bad book cover—it cannot be unseen and can ruin a reader’s expectation of a book before they’ve even had a chance to crack into that first page. To help you avoid this pitfall, here are some key considerations and steps to successfully produce and distribute a book trailer that sells your work:
What’s the big deal with video?
As I mentioned before, there are lots of reasons why video should be an essential tool in an author’s book promotion toolbox. Video generates the most online traffic and engagement, 78% of people watch online video each week, studies show people recall 6 times more info from video than text, and our brains process imagery 60,000 times faster than text. Need I say more? Humans are wired for video. So why not take advantage of that?
What can a book promo video do for you?
Of course, the dream is for your book promo video to go viral and sell millions of copies, but let’s talk about what’s actually in your control: It’s to build credibility for your platform as a writer and for your body of work. A professional book video shows that you are taking your work seriously and that you are a good storyteller across mediums. A great video can also capture the attention of top influencers and media who might otherwise not look at a synopsis or pitch, but will check out a 90-second video. Video also expands your exposure to video-driven sites. And lastly, what better tool could there be to show Hollywood that your book would make a great movie?
Types of Video
While the book trailer might be the most common type of book video, it’s not a must. Many non-fiction authors prefer to do an author video that showcases them as an expert or thought leader; author videos also lend themselves to a video series, a webinar, a booktube channel, or other video-driven sales tool where the book’s role is to be more of an extension of the author’s expertise. While book trailers focus on the world and narrative of the book, author videos aim to build the author’s personality and forge a personal connection with the audience. In addition, videos can range from live action to animation to a collage of images set to music. Budgets are vary from $0 – $10,000. There’s no set formula, so get creative!
Bad Book Videos
We’ve all seen bad trailers. In fact, it’s safe to say that the majority of videos out there promoting books are of subpar quality. So I don’t need to subject you to watching them, and plus it’s not nice to call people out. That said, the following trailer won the Moby Awards for “Worst Book Trailer” in 2011 and has been talked about so much online that it has almost gained cult status. So here, by way of the Moby Awards judges, check out this trailer (not the official trailer) for Nelson DeMille’s suspense novel, Wild Fire:
It encompasses the things that all bad videos struggle with. Like this one, most bad book trailers just feature a copy and paste the back cover and book cover with music. It also includes these additional problems:
- Bad writing
- Bad sound
- Low image quality
- Low production value
- “Tell, don’t show” instead of “show don’t tell”
- Doesn’t communicate the tone/genre of the book
- Continues for way too long
Good Book Promo Videos
By contrast, good videos (see examples below) have the following in common:
- Good writing
- Professional execution
- High production value (not to be confused with a high budget: As you can see from Cigarettes for the Dog, all you need is a paper clip, empty coke bottle, a piece of paper, your cell, and a sense of humor.)
- Teases the audience without giving too much away
- Follows the “Show, don’t tell” principle
- Clearly introduces the concept or an angle of the book
- Leaves you wanting to know more
For good videos, visit trailershelf.com.
In summary, good video leverages video as a visual, cinematic tool, a way to translate the narrative of the book into moving images to establish an emotional connection with the audience. Bad videos are “too literal” in the sense that they show no overarching concept or understanding of tone or any creative vision for using the medium of video to their advantage. Instead, they try to cut and paste the book onto video, which makes the experience flat, and unintentionally humorous or just plain painful to watch. The key is to tease the audience, to communicate emotion without giving too much away. After all, the joy and purpose of reading a book is to allow the reader’s imagination to roam free, to create his or her own version of the world of the story and the characters.
How to Produce a Video
No matter what your budget or scope of the video is, it should follow certain steps to proper execution:
Develop your concept for the video.
What’s inherently fascinating, timely or socially relevant about your book? Perhaps there’s an unusual setting or character? What are the stakes? What is the genre/tone? What’s the core conflict or emotion? Who’s your audience? Is there an element of surprise or reversal that defies your reader’s expectations and compels them to want to know more?
Develop the format for the video.
Will it be a book trailer or author video? Live action, animation, documentary style, found footage, or a collage of images set to music?
Write the script.
Your script will be your creative blueprint and also define your budget. Keep it short—the ideal length for a video is 90-180 seconds. Write out the action and dialogue. What do we see and hear? Don’t forget the call-to-action at the end of the video, i.e. your website/social media channels and purchase info.
Budget it out.
Line items you might spend money on are videography, equipment, editing, sound design, stock images, video and music, a voice over artist, a producer, locations, etc. If you choose to go with a book video production service to handle everything, be sure to vet them as many of these turnkey services deliver bad results.
This phase applies mostly to a live action on-location shoot and encompasses hiring a videographer, talent, crew, etc., but the idea here is to allow enough prep time before production to make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing.
Your job is to make sure your vision/script is being executed, but if you hired the right people, you should also be open to creative direction.
This encompasses the editing phase and beta screenings for people you trust until you’re happy with the result and lock the video for distribution.
In summary, there’s a lot of nitty gritty that goes into the production phase depending on the scope of your video. For more resources, visit wildboundpr.com/videoresources and download a handout for the production phase.
Now that your killer video is ready to share it with the world, here’s how:
- Upload it to Youtube or Vimeo as the primary distribution channel.
- Website: Embed it via Youtube/Vimeo front and center on your homepage.
- Social media: Pin it to the top of your profiles, run video specific ads, send it to your following as well as a list of targeted influencers to help spread the word and get endorsements.
- Mailing list: Send a newsletter to your mailing list with the Youtube/Vimeo embed, and ask to view, comment, and share.
- Literary and News Websites: Literary websites like Shelf Awareness, Booklist, Rumpus, Electric Literature and Publishers Weekly, as well as the mainstream news-driven sites such HuffPost, Daily Beast, Slate, the Hollywood Reporter, the New York Daily News, USA Today, and others all push video because it drives engagement. Many of them feature book trailers or author videos in either a dedicated section (Shelf Awareness’ “Book Trailer of the Day” for example) or they feature videos along with book review coverage and author interviews.
- Put a link to your video in your email signature.
- Use it in your media outreach and follow ups: As I mentioned before, a good video can help open doors with top media or influencers who might not have the time or interest in reading a pitch or an entire book. A video is also a great excuse to follow up with media contacts you haven’t heard back from.
- Screen your video at events to set the tone and break the ice: Starting off your book talk with a video helps get people engaged and makes your event more of a multi-media experience.
- Send your author video to speaking agents and TV outlets to give them an idea of how you look and perform on camera: TV producers will always ask for a video clip to make sure an author will look “good” and be confident on camera.
- Submit to Hollywood connections to demonstrate cinematic potential: Book scouts from major studios, agencies, and production companies are hungry for material and scour the web daily to find new books to option for movie adaptations. Give them a hand by sending them your video!