Nowhere But Here Book Trailer Assignment

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is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date.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.]

Where can people find you online?

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.

Filed Under: Marketing and PromotionTagged With: book trailer, video

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

Think about how you surf the internet these days. Think about how you decide what to click on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

Now multiply that by all those people who are overwhelmed by the amount of information and entertainment options online.

Let's face it – in a sea of content, how do you stand out?

Visual images can be a way for people to make an instant decision over whether to stay and read any further. Posts with visuals also get more engagement on social media.

It's the same concept as book covers – and we all know that people DO judge a book by its cover.

So what are some of your options as a writer to use visual content?

1. Use images on your blog posts

I see so many authors ignoring this basic advice and writing articles on blog platforms with no visuals on to entice the reader. This is a basic must-do for everything you write online.

You can get Creative Commons licensed images from Flickr so it doesn't have to cost you money.

Use the Advanced search option and then make sure you link back to the image provider, or use Compfight to do the searching for you. All my own photos are available for you to use under a Creative Commons license on Flickr here.

2. Make shareable images using quotes from your books

There are lines within your books that will be perfect for sharing.

First you have to find them, and if you have enough sales, you can find them on your Amazon page, right at the bottom, where the most highlighted passages are listed. Some of mine from Pentecost are shown right. You can, of course, go through the book with a highlighter and find some you like.

Then you can use tools like Canva or PicMonkey to format the quote with a great image, or you can just use Powerpoint/Keynote and then save as an image. Post them on any of the social media sites with links back to your books, blog posts or profiles.

You can do this for other people's quotes as well, for example, I did one for my podcast with mega-bestselling author David Morrell, the creator of Rambo.

3. Use Pinterest for story-boarding, research and inspiration

I love Pinterest, and I use it mainly for my own story ideas.

I create a Board per fiction book project, and it helps me capture ideas and images, as well as provide an extra dimension for my readers. I always share the Pinterest Board in the Author's Note at the back of my thrillers.

Register at Pinterest.com and download the Pinnable icon for your browser, then you can pin away when you're doing book research. I start my Boards very early, so often they are named after my working titles, which generally change later. For example, my Ragnarok Board became ‘Day of the Vikings' later.

For more ideas, check out A Guide to Pinterest for fiction and non-fiction writers by Frances Caballo. You can also find a whole load of ideas on Pinterest for using Canva to create book covers here.

4. Use infographics

These are perhaps best used for non-fiction books or for blog surveys or other useful information that begs to be shared. If you're someone who loves to play in Powerpoint/Keynote or Excel, you can prep the data there and then use the previously mentioned tools to format it.

You can also use services like Infogr.am or Easel.ly, or you could hire someone from Fiverr.com or PeoplePerHour.com to create one for you. For more ideas, check out 10 tools for creating infographics and visualizations.

5. Share ad hoc pics on your social media timeline

When people tell me they don't have time for marketing, I usually point them to a smartphone and taking pictures.

A picture creates a moment of connection, and someone will likely comment on it, favorite it or click to follow your profile because of it.

These are not pictures of you and your book! It is usually just something you see or that inspires you, for example, the sign on the right that I saw in a shop window in Bristol, UK, was retweeted and favorited 48 times. It took me about a minute to snap the picture and share it.

Attraction marketing is based on being useful, interesting, inspirational or entertaining – and you can do that with just one picture a day.

You might think your life is boring or mundane, but where you live might be fascinating to people on the other side of the world, or even in the next state. Try sharing aspects of it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and see who discovers you.

6. Use SlideShare for your fiction or non-fiction book

There's a whole article on using SlideShare for your book here.

But basically, you create Powerpoint/Keynote presentations that are heavy on the visual side and load them up to SlideShare.com. From there, they can be shared easily on any social media, and embedded within your LinkedIn profile. Here's one I made for my political thriller, One Day In Budapest.

7. Create Book Trailers and Book Research Videos

Making a book trailer yourself takes some time and commitment, but it can be done!

I must admit to having some doubts about book trailers as an effective use of marketing budget, as I don't see much evidence that they really impact sales. But I have recently come around to the idea as translations mean the same content can be used multiple times, and with a proliferation of books, it's an effective visual differentiator. But be careful, there are services that cost a lot of money, and if you do it yourself badly, it can do more harm than good.

My trailer below in English is for Desecration, London Psychic Book 1 and I've used the same video for the German and Italian versions of the trailer, just by switching out the text. I also have Spanish coming too, so can reuse it all over again.

I outline the process for making a book trailer yourself here, and I made the one below for around $40, which included the royalty-free stock photos, video and music from Incompetech. I wouldn't recommend spending a lot of money on this but if you are feeling visually creative, give it a go yourself!

For more information, check out the following resources:

What image marketing are you using for your books? What else can you suggest? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below.

Top image: Flickr Creative Commons Nick Wheeler not different, just special

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