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Using "Book Trailers" to Promote Books


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#1 S.K. Keogh

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 03:32 PM

I think this is a great idea, and I'm surprised publishers haven't used this angle in the past. I think even an agent could use it to sell a book to a publisher. After all, today's world is one big multi-media bonanza. Imagine sending a video like this instead of a query letter, for example.

http://michaelhyatt....sell-books.html

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#2 redwood

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 03:49 PM

Oh my gosh I would LOVE to send a video trailer instead of a query or synopsis. I'm for visual all the way, myself.
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#3 Litgal

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 04:01 PM

I am NOT generally impressed. Trailers have been around for a couple of years and generally they look as if they were made by some poor author either a) live action using family members or b) using clip art on his/her laptop. Of course there are exceptions. I think to be really effective the production values on book trailers would have to come more closely into line with movie trailers and that seems unlikely given that marketing budgets for releases (if you get one at all -- and only the few, the "chosen" do) are shrinking not expanding.

Guess imo just as "the only thing worse than no website is a bad website," a bad book trailer is worse than nothing

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#4 Jean Oram

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 04:01 PM

There are some fabulous trailers on YouTube. And then there are some that are *yawn* borrr-ing.

Love these:

BOBBIE FAYE'S VERY (very, very, very) BAD DAY
Long Version (Click on the link--I couldn't attach all the files in one post and didn't want to make a whole pile.)
Short Version
Those ones caused me to pick up the book.

I LOVED this one: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters:

It received the Amazon's best book video of 2009 award.

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#5 redwood

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 04:04 PM

There are some fabulous trailers on YouTube. And then there are some that are *yawn* borrr-ing.

Love these:

BOBBIE FAYE'S VERY (very, very, very) BAD DAY
Long Version
Short Version
Those ones caused me to pick up the book.

I LOVED this one: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters:

It received the Amazon's best book video of 2009 award.



I've seen that one, Jean! Ha, it was great!

Of course it goes without saying that the trailer must actually be good. :wink: I too have seen some stinkers.
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#6 Jean Oram

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 04:07 PM

Like a letter, it can make you or break you.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

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*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

Check it out! I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com):
 

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#7 Litgal

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 04:28 PM

I too like the "Sea Monsters" trailer (and have seen it before). I suspect it was funded by the publisher. But, as clever as it is, it does not make me want to buy the book. To make me want to buy a book a trailer would have to tease me a bit -- make me want to know more. I need to feel compelled to plunk my money down -- what is working for me is not trailers but "samples" of books on my Kindle. I get a chunk of a book for free and believe me when I get to the end of the sample I click "buy now" at least 25% of the time. That's the kind of follow through I am looking for as a writer
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#8 RC Lewis

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 05:21 PM

Most trailers I've seen make me cringe, though a few are pleasant surprises. The best put some money into it, and it shows. For my own reading, I'm like Lit--I'm more interested in cover blurbs and reading a few pages. But I wonder if trailers might be a good way to go with YA books, for example. Many teenagers spend a huge amount of time on YouTube ... if someone had a trailer that was good enough to go viral, it could get the attention of teens who might not normally know about the book.
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#9 Litgal

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 05:38 PM

Many teenagers spend a huge amount of time on YouTube ... if someone had a trailer that was good enough to go viral, it could get the attention of teens who might not normally know about the book.


TOO TRUE -- but if it doesn't go viral what are the chances teens would actually see it? YouTube is fairly serendiptious imo
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#10 RC Lewis

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 07:38 PM

TOO TRUE -- but if it doesn't go viral what are the chances teens would actually see it? YouTube is fairly serendiptious imo


If it's well-made and appealing to teens, and you can get it to the right initial pool of viewers/readers, going viral (or at least mini-viral) isn't too hard. The "well-made and appealing" part is what's tricky, I think. It comes down to the same thing as our novels--word-of-mouth is powerful, but if the book isn't worth talking about, you're dead in the water.
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#11 Brendacarre

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 02:13 AM

a bad book trailer is worse than nothing[/font][/size]


Very true.

#12 Rick Spilman

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 01:01 PM

I have mixed feelings about book trailers. The Thomas Nelson trailer was technically good but didn't stir my interest in the book. The 3D modeling and the voice-over probably cost more than most of of us would be willing to spend. I wonder whether it was a good investment by the publisher. Live actors in costume, can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands to shoot and edit. I suspect the "Sea Monsters" trailer was at the upper end of the range.

Here is a bare-bones zero-budget trailer that I did for a friend. We have gotten good feedback thus far.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUs0MSLs7ow


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#13 Litgal

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 08:10 AM

Six months (to the day) from the launch of my novel I am thinking about trailers once more. I've decided no trailer for me and here is why:

http://www.sophieper...iler-yes-or-no/

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#14 Pete Morin

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 09:12 AM

Rick, I like that one!

I amused myself greatly putting together a script for the xtranormal movie I did for Small Fish. The thing that I think gives it some potential value as a marketing tool is that it portrays the relationship between Paul and Shannon, as well as their personalities (I think). I haven't decided whether to actually use it or not - I just had fun making it.


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#15 patskywriter

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 10:12 AM

Pete, that was hilarious. Posted Image However, I would suggest that you make a few 20-second movies as opposed to one long one. As they used to say, "Leave 'em laughing." Anything more than 20 or 30 seconds and you've got a bunch of potential customers glancing at their watches.

I know a guy who had actors reenact a controversial scene from his book. They did a great job and the author said that the trailer definitely led to more sales. Before Court TV became Tru TV, they used to play a lot of book trailers. It probably costs too much for the "average" author or publisher to run ads on that channel now.
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#16 Pete Morin

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 12:29 PM

Pete, that was hilarious. Posted Image However, I would suggest that you make a few 20-second movies as opposed to one long one. As they used to say, "Leave 'em laughing." Anything more than 20 or 30 seconds and you've got a bunch of potential customers glancing at their watches.

I know a guy who had actors reenact a controversial scene from his book. They did a great job and the author said that the trailer definitely led to more sales. Before Court TV became Tru TV, they used to play a lot of book trailers. It probably costs too much for the "average" author or publisher to run ads on that channel now.


I agree with you entirely about the length, patsy - thanks for mentioning it. And yeah, great idea - a bunch of different ones.

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#17 KC Rivers

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 04:48 PM

I have to agree with what many others have said; it's the quality of the book trailer. The popularity of the author may have a large factor in that as well, but I do think that a well-done trailer can be of great value. I posted this one just a little while ago, but I still think it's one of the coolest that I've ever seen:

The Black Prism

Obviously this was professionally done, which is something that a self-published author wouldn't necessarily be able to do. But it's still pretty darn impressive in my eyes. As an author, I want Orbit to publish my books. As a reader, I want to check this book out from my library. I guess it depends how much money/time you want to spend on it.
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#18 JayMG

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 05:55 AM

I'm with Litgal and a little bit on the fence. Yeah there are some spectacular ones, but they're usually professionally made and clearly cost a lot of money. But even so - something just doesn't fit for me. They're not movies, they're not necessarily going to be MADE into movies, and many people who stumble across them on YouTube and are impressed with the story still won't read the book because they'd rather see the movie... Impressive though that Black Prism trailer was, it told us pretty much nothing about the story. Who's the protagonist (there were about 30 different people in there!)? What's the conflict? It was mostly people fighting, shouting out-of-context lines and looking sombre/determined/devastated. I suppose what it achieved was putting across there is a lot of action in the book. Did it make me want to read it? Personally, I'd have to read the blurb and flick through it to decide that....

I dunno, maybe I'm traditionalist (anti-kindle, ahem), but I just wouldn't think to look on YouTube for a book.

#19 Rick Spilman

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 09:16 AM

I like it Pete. I do agree with Patsky. The trailer feels a bit too long. More of tease might work better.

Not directly related to your trailer, here is an article by Keith Cronin. He did a wonderful trailer on a limited budget and just happened to have a friend write and sing song a song specifically for the trailer. We should all have such friends. Regrettably most of us don't.


Author Keith Cronin on Hearing: "You Should Do a Book Trailer"

#20 Rick Spilman

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 10:59 AM

It occurs to me that there are two problems with book trailers.

First, how do you get them out in front of potential readers of the book? Most trailers end up like the proverbial tree that fall in the forest, which lacking listeners, may not make a sound.

Posting on Youtube is a beginning, but the trailer also needs to be embedded in websites as widely as possible, starting with the author's website, Facebook page, Amazon authors page and so on. Including links to the trailer in as many places as possible is also not a bad idea, as is using it on blog tours. Still, whether the trailer gets much viewership is anything but guaranteed.

The second question is whether or not a trailer, even if viewed, is effective. Is the trailer better than a simple blurb? There are so many horrible trailers out there which are best unseen. A bad trailer is worse than no trailer at all.

Good trailers only work if they are memorable. I think that Keith Cronin's works because it is funny and well produced. I think my trailer for Alaric Bond's "True Colours" is OK because it communicates a tiny bit of the story which the book's title and cover do not necessarily do. That being said it is a close call.

I think the chance of a book trailer "going viral" is tiny at best. The few that do"go viral" usually are highly produced and funny like the trailers for "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters" or "Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Slayer," or at the other extreme, so over the top bad that they are the subject of ridicule and parody. Most of us are not likely to attain the first and with luck will avoid the second.

All this being said, a book trailer can be an effective marketing in tool so long as the author, publisher and/or publicist gets it out in front of as many potentials readers as possible. Waiting for readers to find the trailer doesn't work.






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