Book Trailers And Using Video For Book Marketing

I’m definitely a fan of multimedia as one aspect of marketing.

videoI’ve been doing audio podcasts and videos for nearly 5 years now and I think it can help stand out from the crowd since authors, unsurprisingly, mostly use text based marketing. I’ve also made my own book trailers before, for Pentecost and also for Desecration.

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! You can find all the links to the book in ebook or print format here.

Who are you and what’s your background in video marketing?

Jerome McLainMy name is Jerome McLain, I’m a South Carolina native, married with two children, and an avid racquetball player.

My experience with video marketing began with me creating short product videos for a telecom company back in 2006. I’ve continued to work in video ever since shooting, producing, editing and optimizing video. I also consult for a production company that coaches authors how to turn their book into a tv show or film project.

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 Another site along the same lines is

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 You can find thousands of great video clips at They offer very high quality videos for a super low yearly subscription. For music go to 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
  • 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 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.

[From Joanna: My book trailers are certainly nowhere near the quality of Jerome’s, but here’s how you can make a DIY book trailer like my earlier efforts.]

book frenzy studiosWhere can people find you online?

We just launched a new website at You can see examples of our work, watch client testimonials and contact us for a complimentary consultation on any video marketing services that we offer.

Do you have any questions about book trailers for Jerome? Or have you done a book trailer that you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below.

The Impact Of Using Video For Your Book. Dear Codebreaker Case Study.

Recently I posted an article about using your research to connect with your potential readers.

dear codebreakerKerry Howard’s video about her book Dear Codebreaker is a stunning example of how to use your passion to communicate to an audience. In this article, Kerry explains how she learned new skills to produce the video as well as how it produced an exciting opportunity.

The first video I made is less than 3 minutes long, yet it tells my audience more about me, my passion for research and showcases my material with greater impact than any number of articles on the same subject.

Watch the video below or here on YouTube.

Why use video?

Recent statistics from illustrate the growing importance of using video content on our blogs/websites. During September 2013 a staggering 188.7 million Americans watched 46 billion online content videos and 22.8 billion video ads. Gulp!

Based on those figures, I feel very pleased that my short video got noticed in a seemingly endless sea of online content. I’d like to tell you that my decision to make videos was part of a grand strategic plan, but my motivation is much simpler. I just want to enhance the reading pleasure of my book, Dear Codebreaker by sharing my research in a more multi-media way.

This is part of my plan to develop a ‘style’ and ‘formula’ where my readers know that with each non-fiction book they will have access to a supporting website with extended material that would not make it into the book at the time of publication. In this rapidly changing world there are more interviews to be gathered, and new material to share.

bletchley park

Bletchley park

Books no longer need to remain static text but can evolve and grow over time. There is no need for a book to be finished by the reader, shelved and forgotten. By updating and expanding material the book and writer stays in the forefront of the reader’s mind until the next book, creating a link and the process starts again.

Investing in my creative self

The three minutes of my video actually represents many days of work where I had to learn, make, scrap, curse, try again and again until I understood how to make a video that could showcase my historical research in an appealing way.

The days of frustrating and fun effort could easily have been weeks of effort if I had not invested in my creative self. For me that investment came in the From Ideas to Cash course delivered by Joanna Penn and Julie Hall, who share their own experiences and knowledge in producing multi-media products.

Although the course is primarily focused on producing online courses with multimedia content, I found the know-how and key resources equally enlightening for my own goal of producing media to compliment my book. It took time to give myself permission to buy my first course. When I first signed up to Ideas into Cash it felt like a real luxury. I felt guilty about spending this money on myself.

That guilt stems from the belief that I can, and should, do it all myself. Sometimes we need to recognize when to purchase a product to learn from someone else, when to ask for help and when to do it ourselves.

Paying for courses and attending webinars

As a researcher I am very happy to spend hours looking for information. Most information can be found online for free and webinars are a great way to get a detailed overview of a subject. However, this can be a very time expensive exercise, especially when a course full of quality and relevant information can be more beneficial in time, knowledge and money in the long run. It can also be a good way to get support from tutors and other course participants in the first steps of turning knowledge into action.

Since doing From Ideas into Cash I have developed a real interest in developing my skills through online courses and attending webinars. Signing up is now easy but it is always a considered decision based on whether the cost will truly benefit my learning and business needs.

DIY plus the benefits of asking for help

Adobe’s Creative Cloud provides the vast suite of software I use for producing my creative content. I started with learning InDesign for book layouts and Photoshop for image editing. Adobe software comes with a steep learning curve but as I am ‘renting’ the software through a monthly subscription, I was determined to use Premiere Pro video editing for producing my first video.

My learning was done through the act of ‘doing’ (thanks Adobe TV and YouTube) and overall I managed very well. Then I got stuck. I had absolutely no idea how to do the text animation for the Dear Codebreaker introduction so I turned to a creative friend for help. Fantasy Artist Jon Cape produced the first 15 second introduction in less than an hour whereas it would have taken me an age to learn and execute. His 15 seconds of the video went on to influence the entire look and feel of the book.

The ‘geek’ in me loves to learn and try new things. It is also financially important that I do all I can myself. However, it is also important to know when you need to call in the experts, which I did when it came to the eBook version of Dear Codebreaker.

Using Adobe’s Dreamweaver software I managed to format most of the book. I had to tackle it as the eBook conversion software I tried failed to correctly format the letters of correspondence contained in the book. As the book is mostly letters, this was a critical problem. My attempt looked good on Kindle but totally rubbish on the IPad Kindle app.

By accepting the limit of my capabilities and as well as the limits of my time I had no problem reaching out to a professional formatter to finish the job. Matt at did a fabulous job and guided me through the mistakes I had made. An added bonus is that I have a contact I trust for formatting the backlist of World War 2 codebreaking books I produce for other writers.

So, when we break it down those three minutes of video actually represent a lot in time, money and personal growth. It also shows that this digital landscape can throw open new unexpected opportunities when we show ourselves as authentic and passionate.

An unexpected result

My unexpected result was delivering my exciting keynote speech at a high profile event hosted at Bletchley Park by the Women’s Security Society, Cyber Security Challenge and Raytheon for women in intelligence and cyber security on 11 October 2013. Some of the high ranking women at the event feature in the media, including The Times and The Guardian, and I was mentioned in a separate article, which appeared in Infosecurity Magazine and The Guardian.

I will continue to add to and utilize the investment in my creative self to further enhance the reader experience on, on my blog and for every book I produce in the future.

How do you invest in your creative self? Please do leave a comment or any questions below.

Kerry HowardKerry Howard is a researcher, writer and independent publisher with a consuming interest in the history of Bletchley Park during World War 2.

You can buy Dear Codebreaker in Kindle or Print format here.


Writing Inspiration, Beating Blocks And How To Manage Your Time With K.M.Weiland

Wordplay is also one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers and I’ve been following Katie for a while now. Her blog is fantastic, offering great tips for writers so I’m really pleased to speak to her in this interview.

In the video, you will learn:

  • How Katie started writing and how life is a story. We are surrounded by inspiration all the time. Writing is about celebrating life and about translating life lessons into words. Katie’s historical novel, A Man Called Outlaw was inspired by her love of the American West. It was an intense period of history with stark references so there is room for interpretation and stories around the themes. Her medieval epic, Behold the Dawn, was inspired by a children’s picture book about William Marshall, the greatest knight who ever lived, in the 12th century. He was a competitor in tourneys, the precursor to jousting. The juxtaposition of the battles and the Crusades where people were seeking redemption made for a fascinating backdrop. Katie is also inspired by a strong sense of character, setting and also by moral conundrums.
  • On conquering writer’s block and summoning inspiration. Writer’s block is not some insurmountable thing. Inspiration isn’t something that happens to us, it’s something we can go out and find. You need to nurture a lifestyle of creativity and inspiration. Quote from Peter de Vries “I believe I can’t write unless I’m inspired but I make sure I’m inspired every day at 9am”. Inspiration doesn’t need to be a mystical thing, it’s something we need to tap into based on a habit of writing. Katie has had periods of having trouble writing like all of us but it’s not Writer’s Block. It shouldn’t have capital letters – it’s just when we don’t know what to write. So bottom line, write and the inspiration will come.
  • On balancing writing and marketing. The self-promotion thing can become this monster and get out of control. So you need to maintain a sense of balance and remember why we’re doing it i.e. writing. It’s easy to let the promotion take over because of deadlines. Katie makes two hours of writing time every day sacrosanct. There’s no point in marketing unless you’re writing. This keeps her from feeling guilty as well because she has done the writing, so twitter and social media can be actioned as well, just later on. As authors we feel like we need to do everything, but you still have to put the writing first. Katie works part-time so she is able to spend two hours every day writing but there are many bestselling authors who have stories of working fulltime and writing so it can be done. It’s all about scheduling. Diarize your time for writing.
  • On why Katie does video blogging as well as text. Firstly, it’s another way to get yourself out there as an author. People have to see your name or brand 7 times before they make a connection with you so video is another way, particularly because YouTube is so popular. YouTube is also owned by Google so you get better search rankings. Katie also likes the interactivity of video where viewers can relate to body language and get a sense of the author as a person and connect more easily. A loyal audience will relate to a person they like as well. Many authors aren’t doing video right now because they are uncomfortable with their face or voice. We all feel this way, it’s petrifying but you get used to it! You have to put these issues aside if you want to be a successful author as you’re going to be in in the public eye. Video is a great way to get past those insecurities in preparation for the big moments that you never know might happen. It’s also a way to grow as a person and an author.

You can find Katie at her website or Wordplay – her blog for writers. You can also connect on twitter @kmweiland

What I Want In A Thriller Novel And How It Informs My Writing

To be a successful writer in a genre, you have to read a lot of books! Genre writing is quite specific in that people have expectations and if you don’t meet them, the reader is disappointed. I am currently writing a thriller and want to satisfy my potential readers by giving them what they want in the genre as well as interesting new writing. Therefore, I have identified what I like in a thriller and am aiming at providing that in my own books.

Incidentally, some of my favorite thriller writers include James Rollins, Matthew Reilly, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Steve Berry, and yes, I like the Dan Brown series! My own novel, Pentecost, is Lara Croft meets Robert Langdon in smackdown biblical action-thriller.

The things I want in a thriller novel include: a gripping story, a page turner, escapism and a way to get out of my life for a time, myth/religion/spirituality in theme, education of some sort e.g. new facts about a topic or a place, different locations and information about them, preferably exotic!, high body count and violence without being too graphic.

I download a lot of samples onto my Kindle and delete a whole load almost immediately if they don’t fit the bill. I am aiming that my novel fits my criteria.

So what do you like to read and is that reflected in what you are writing?


You can now get free chapters of Pentecost on the Facebook page by clicking here.


First Novel Update: Pentecost

Many of you are writing, or have written first novels, and others may want to write a novel but don’t know where to start. I started my first novel during NaNoWriMo last November, and have done sporadic videos keeping you updated. Click here to view the journey so far in chronological order.

See below for my latest update, and there are notes below for those that don’t like online video.

In the video I talk about:

  • It has been over 6 months of doing these updates, but I am now at 65,000 words…and counting…
  • I had a break through in terms of plotting in the last month. I crystallised the plot in my head, and wrote an outline that has given me the impetus to finish. I know what I have to write to finish the novel now. It took me about a day of thinking to rejig it, no writing, just thinking. This really helped. I also considered what I want in a thriller which is helping me focus my own writing.
  • The first draft is to get to the end, not to focus on great writing. I am slowly getting this into my brain!
  • Things came up as I wrote that were surprising to me – they came from my subconscious as I wrote, not as I planned. People talk about that, but it’s the first time it’s happened to me. It happened in the writing, not the thinking.
  • In researching locations, I found part of the plot that added depth and a cool scene as I researched. So be open to changing things if you find them as you research.
  • I’m aiming to write fast. Have finally understood that the first draft needs to be out of the way. I want to get into editing and enter the novel into Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. This has freed me and also given me a deadline of Jan 2011 for a fully edited, professional version of the novel.

Are you writing your first novel? How is it going so far? What have you learnt?


    You can now get free chapters of Pentecost on the Facebook page by clicking here.