OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
I'm definitely a fan of multimedia as one aspect of marketing.
I'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?
My 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 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.
[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.]
We just launched a new website at www.bookfrenzystudios.com. 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.