Book trailers can be powerful promo tools for indie authors
Why are they called trailers? The term trailer has been used in the movie industry for the video promotion or advertising of a feature film. Why “trailer” you may ask? It goes back to the old days when a promotional video was spliced on the end of a feature film to be shown after the movie was over. Later on it was shown before the feature to advertise upcoming movies.
Book trailers essentially are the same thing in spirit. They can be effective advertising vehicles for books. We say they can be, because a poorly made amateurish trailer can in fact have the reverse effect, damaging a book’s chances of getting readers. On the other hand a professionally edited book trailer can have an amazing effect on promoting the book.
A great book trailer will have several well thought out components. When correctly combined, the elements work together to produce a powerful marketing tool for your book. Let us have a look into what can make a great book trailer.
Accurate Targeting: Marketing is first and foremost the art and science of understanding buyers. Your readers have certain tastes and needs. They want a particular effect from reading your book. This understanding of the genre readers is essential in crating the right message in your book trailer. The imagery, mood and music must convey the right signals to potential readers of your genre. They must get that “aha” moment when they see your book trailer. This will lead them into wanting to purchase the book.
Powerful Angle: Your book trailer must be lean and precise while presenting your unique angle. By angle we mean that core part of the story that makes it different from other books. The angle should be explained in one sentence. This will allow your book trailer to keep the story laser focused without getting bogged down with too many details. Your book trailer should not tell your entire story or every element of each chapter, It should instead present one or two hooks that will catch the viewers attention. In fact knowing our angle is important in all parts of the book marketing, Often we see poorly written book blurbs that indicate the author was not keeping the hook and angle in mind. A good angle makes the viewer care about the characters and curious about the outcome. This is what your book trailer should focus on.
Long Enough: Your book trailer should not be too long. Today’s consumers do not have a very long attention span. They are also very thrifty when it comes to giving something attention. Studies show videos are often viewed for 30 seconds at most before an unconscious decision is made to move on or stay. Therefore a good trailer is often between 30 to 90 seconds long. If a trailer is well made it will be interesting enough to the viewer right from the first seconds to keep them watching. That’s why both Accurate Targeting and a Powerful Angle are important elements. It’s also good to know that viewers watch videos for longer times if they are on your author page or blog post specifically about the book as opposed to seeing it amongst other posts in social media platforms.
Footage and Images : Book trailers open up a world of impact via sound and visuals that go beyond the written word. This means that a good trailer can really set the mood and feel of a book. It can quickly draw a viewer into the world an author wants them to be in. If done in an amateurish way, this can backfire. That’s why it’s good to have a professional editor create your book trailer. A good trailer not only requires studio quality footage and images, it also needs an expert eye in pacing and editing. Timing the score and visuals in harmony to create the right effect. The fee to hire a professional book trailer editor, is really a small investment compared to the potential increased number of book sales. Furthermore, a pro editor can use stock footage in a way that doesn't readily show character details, yet still get the desired outcome. This is good for authors who want their readers to imagine what characters look like.
Score and Sound: Music is deeply moving when used correctly. We all know how a well designed and performed piece of music can take us through an amazing emotional rollercoaster ride. A good book trailer utilizes this power of music. Setting the right tone and increasing emotional involvement for the viewer. A professional book trailer editor can pace the score in such a way to weave the visuals along, and ultimately get the viewer so excited about the book, that they can’t wait for it to be released, often pre-ordering or buying the book minutes after viewing the trailer.
CTA: The Call To Action is a tried and tested element of any good marketing. People need to be guided to the next step after consuming a marketing message. They need to be told what to do next. A good book trailer will incorporate a strong CTA. This can be done by telling the viewer where to go to buy the book or how to pre-order. Sometimes authors want their websites or social accounts to appear in the CTA of a video. Generally it’s not recommended to do this, because it will overwhelm viewers and take away from the desired CTA impact which is to make a purchase.
Sharing: Naturally once your trailer is ready for screening you want to distribute it as widely as possible. It’s the most exciting part! This can be done easily via major video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo, then embedding the book trailer in your author website or blog.
You can also upload the video to your book’s amazon sales page via the Author Central profile tab in your Amazon AC dashboard.
Then comes sharing your new book trailer via social media accounts. A well prepared trailer can get thousands of views or even tens of thousands of views if it goes viral and is shared by your followers. Be sure to ask you followers to share, like and comment on your trailer when you upload it.
You can create a strong buzz by letting them know that you will be screening your trailer at a certain date. This creates lots of natural excitement in your followers.
Paid promotion in social media is another great option. FaceBook, Instagram and others have the feature to pay as little as $5 to widely distribute your new book trailer among various demographics.
If you have an email list, you can share your video link with your email list and gain lots of viewers that way as well.
Many authors have shared their trailers with studios and have been able to get interest and offers for major motion picture production as well. Now that is when the big payoff happens. And it all starts with a professional book trailer!