Book Trailers: Best Practices for Using for Book Marketing
As I'm writing this post, the summer blockbuster movie season is just around the corner. So teaser movie trailers abound in theaters and online, whetting our appetites for more of the same when we go to see the real thing.
Did you ever think of doing a "trailer" for your book? Book trailers can be an effective and engaging book promotion strategy that major traditional publishers have embraced. With YouTube being one of the top visited websites in the world (according to Alexa.com), it shows that people are primed to consuming video.
What is a Book Trailer?
Like their cinematic counterparts, book trailers are videos that give prospective readers a sample of what is in the book. Book trailers can feature:
- The author talking about his/her book.
- A summary of the plot for fiction (without giving it all away, of course!).
- Highlights of the best parts of the book (again, without giving it all away).
- Hints or clues about the story which raise curiosity.
- Graphics of the book cover so that readers can identify the book when shopping in stores or online.
- Author biographies.
Essentially, it's a book "commercial." Take a look at the following examples...
This is a Book Trailer...
And this is a book trailer that gives a sneak peek of the story, told by the author...
Another example which raises curiosity and features the author...
Budget-Friendly Book Trailer Video Tips
Some book trailers are as elaborate and high production as their cinematic cousins. Most self published authors do not have that kind of money, equipment, talent, staging, video editing skills, and other resources to jump into the movie making pool. Luckily it's not required to create an effective book trailer.
A simple, friendly "talking head" type webcam or smartphone video of you as the self published author talking to your potential readers can have just as much impact. You'll also be able to elaborate on how and why you wrote the book and/or what you hope your readers will get out of it.
The days of hermit cave writers who are highly disconnected from their readers are long gone. Today's social media adept audiences want connection and authenticity. They want to feel there's a real person behind the words on the page. I know I'm more likely to want to read a book written by someone I "know," even if I've just been introduced to them with a short video.
Book Trailer for My Book on Promotional Products
Book Trailer Best Practices for Self Publishing
There are some best practices when it comes to making video book trailers an effective marketing tool for self publishing:
- Don't Make the Trailer Too Long. Might as well read the whole book! Remember, your trailer is a "commercial" for the book, not just a shortened version of full manuscript. I have seen some trailers as long as 7 to 10 minutes. Wow! Not only is that an investment on the part of the reader, the time and effort it takes to create a video of several minutes is a project in itself! For self publishers, it might be better to invest time and money in another book or other cost-effective marketing.
- Don't Oversell. This is one of my pet peeves for both movie and book trailers. When the trailer is way better than the real book or movie, I'm disappointed and feel duped.
- Trailer Should Appeal to the Same Audience as the Book. Duh, right? Don't create a trailer that talks down to your audience OR talks over their heads. As well, know what triggers will motivate your audience to want more and want to read your book.
- Truth in Labeling. Haven't we all been to movies that were promoted as including lots of action, only to find that the total action was limited to what was in the trailer. Tell 'em what's in the "package."
- Preserve Some Mystery... and Sales. I hate those movie trailers where you think you've seen the whole movie in the trailer! Then why go? Though you want to tell prospective readers what they can expect in your book, you don't want to tell them everything! Don't give them a reason not to buy and read your book. A trailer is a "teaser."
- Use it On Your Blog and Website. Sure, you'll probably park your trailer on YouTube. But don't let it just sit there! Embed it on your blog or website. Share it on social media. Get it out there!
- Use YouTube Description, Keywords and Links to Send Sales Prospects to You. Did you know you can include an active hyperlink in your YouTube video description? Add one that goes to your book sales page or website. Choose keywords for your book's topic so people can find you in search. Remember, it's a commercial!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2016 Heidi Thorne