Why Create a Book Trailer? You want readers, not viewers
If you read our blog post How authors can use YouTube to connect with their readers you know that we here at eFrog Press are big fans of YouTube! When promoting your book online, why not create a book trailer? When readers browse through a bookstore, see an appealing cover, and pick up a book to read the jacket copy they are making a decision about buying that book. A book trailer gives readers the same opportunity online. But just like jacket copy, the book trailer must engage your potential readers quickly or they will click off faster than a person can put a book back on the shelf. Here I share what we have learned at eFrog Press assisting authors create custom book trailers.
So how do you create a compelling book trailer? Our best advice is planning. What better way to plan a book trailer than by using a storyboard? You can create simple boxes for text and images or even use PowerPoint. Your images can be stills or actual video. The key is planning ahead.
Think still images can’t be effective? When creating a book trailer, Philippe de Vosjoli used the haunting images of his illustrator, Santiago Iborra. Watch The Legend of Atticus Rex to see the powerful combination of text and image. Of course, the power of music ties it all together and sets the mood too. And this award-winning book, The Legend of Atticus Rex Book 1: The Amulet by Philippe de Vosjoli, has a compelling plot and a main character kids can relate to.
How long should a video be? Not too long and not too short. After all, a Super Bowl commercial is usually a minute or less. Don’t think you can hold an audience’s attention for five minutes—it’s not going to happen.
Did you know that Amazon now let’s authors upload video directly to Amazon? This is a perfect opportunity to show readers why they should buy your book! Sandra Woffington did just that. See her book trailer on Amazon.
Here is the book trailer for Sandra Woffington’s novel Unveiling with just images, text, and music to set the tone. We work with a talented composer/musician who creates a custom soundtrack.
But a book trailer can also be a video. It takes more effort to produce a video, but you may have friends with the necessary skills and equipment. In Vertical the Book Trailer Starring Mitchie Brusco, Young Adult author Janet Eoff Berend wrote a script for her trailer based on the key points in her novel, Vertical. Enlisting the talents of Zane Timpson, aspiring filmmaker with many skate videos to his credit, and pro skateboarder Mitchie Brusco (narrator and featured skater), Berend guided the development of the story in film. Even the local fire department chief contributed. Watch this action-packed video to get the flavor of her compelling story of a teen struggling with issues of friendship, bullying, and morality.
What Kind of Books?
Well, we just showed you examples of book trailers for a children’s fantasy adventure book, a YA, and a historical fiction. Think about where your readers are on the Internet. Teens are heavy YouTube users but now that your book trailer can live on Amazon, a book trailer is an option for almost any title.
Remember, the goal of a book trailer is to tantalize readers so they want to know more and will buy your book to find out what happens.
Best advice: When in doubt cut. When it comes to video, less is really more! Good advice for writing too.
Share your favorite book trailer and comment on ours.