Saturday, October 24, 2015

PNWA 2015 Workshop Review #11: Book Trailers for Marketing & More

For this workshop review, I thought I'd use my webcomic trailer to Breakout from Bongolaan--as an example of what not to do when creating a book trailer. 

I made my initial trailer before I attended a lecture on making book trailers.  I actually like my latest trailer, which I remade when I took additional photographs for my webcomic, despite its shortcomings which I'll mention in parenthetical comments on this post.

This workshop was hosted by Rian Fiske and Steve Ahlbom of Visual Quill.

First, what is a book trailer?

--It's an advertisement for your book.

The internet has changed the way we market products and today's society is the most marketed in history.

What a book trailer is not--

--A plot reveal (mine is)
--A story summary (mine is)
--More important than your book (I'm still writing my webcomic, so I hope not)
--Boring! (I hope mine isn't)
--Unappealing (I hope mine isn't)
--Too focused to a specific person or group (okay, mine is guilty of this last one)

A good book trailer--

--Has a good script, is brief and creatively edited.

Time length:

30 Seconds = Good
60 Seconds = Okay  (mine's just over a minute)
90 Seconds = Not Good

A book trailer should evoke a visceral response from a viewer, not an intellectual one, and the mood should be similar to the book.

A book trailer is an important part of book marketing because--

--It takes advantage of the explosive growth of online advertising videos.
--It's on a shareable medium.
--It fosters a deep like-know-trust connection.
--It keeps your book in a reader's mind.
--It's cost effective.

Some interesting statistics--

--Viewers are 64% more likely to buy your book.
--There's usually an 80% increase in conversion rates on your website.  That is, visits turning into actual purchases.
--There's often an increase of 2 minutes per stay per viewer on your website.
--92% of mobile viewers share videos with others.
--There's a 19% to 300% increase of sales if a book trailer supplements e-mails and flyers.
--These statistics hold no matter what genre you're writing.

Elements of a good book trailer--

--Visually hint at what takes place.
--Keeps the story moving and is not too short, or too long.
--Uses a good selection of graphics and music.

Bad book trailers are everywhere.
--Most aren't trailers, but rather do-it-yourself (DIY) slide shows (like mine).
--DIY tools exist, but you still need to use them correctly.

What makes a book trailer bad--

--Low quality graphics and photos.
--Too many graphics.
--Too much explanatory text.
--Poor music.

The five elements that make a quality book trailer are:

1. It's not a plot reveal.  Think of it as a pitch session.
2. Plan the entire trailer with a story board.
3. Production quality is essential.  Hire a professional, if necessary.
4. Know what style you're using and make sure it all hangs together.
5. Don't confuse building your brand with selling your book.

Here are some tips if you are going to go the DIY route:

Your book trailer needs a script, so here are some things to consider--

--Start with your book's synopsis.
--Duration should be between 30-60 seconds.
--Consider this rule of thumb:  50 words = 30 seconds of video.

Utilize appropriate music for your trailer.  Music sets the emotional tone and should coincide with the tone of your book.

Editing tools for your DIY book trailer--

--PC users can utilize Windows Movie Maker.
--Mac users can utilize iMovie.
--Tutorials are available on

And speaking of websites, there are several doityourselfers can make use of.

(Image found on: Freepik)

For free high resolution images there's--

--Unsplash and

For images that you have to pay for, but may be unavailable elsewhere, check out--

--Getty Images and

IStockPhoto also has video and music available for downloading.

One site dedicated to video downloading is VideoBlocks.

(Image found on Lakewood Music Boosters)

To add music to your book trailer for little or no cost, there's--

--FreeStockMusic, and AudioBlocks

While paid sites include--

--Premium Beat and
--Pond5 (which also includes photos, videos and sound effects)

For my book trailer and the gaming videos I've produced, I've used--

--SoundDogs (which also includes sound effects)
--and my personal favorite has been--
--Kevin Macleod's Incompetech (Kevin requests donations for downloads)

On deciding whether to use voice-over or text in your book trailer, either will work if done well.

Once you've made your book trailer you'll need to distribute it.  For this, you'll have to go beyond Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo.

Upload your trailer on top websites in your niche or genre, along with your personal website, your Amazon Author page, library catalogues, and distribution sites like OneLoad.  Also, be sure to set up a computer to play the trailer during book signings.

If you'd rather hire a professional to create your book trailer, there's a few questions you need to keep in mind--

--How much will it cost?
--What can I expect?
--What will the pro do for me?

Prices range from $400 to $4,000, with $1,200 being the average.  The more material and input you provide, the less it will be in price.

As to the last two questions, you'll have to discuss the details of the services a professional offers to provide.

With all this information, hopefully you'll be able to say "Lights! Camera! Action!" soon.

(Image found on Pintrest)

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