Friday, July 13, 2012

Video Book Trailers Rely on Effective Distribution by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Video book trailers are still a huge debate as to whether or not they sell books. I would encourage authors not to view them as a single promotional tool, but as a key asset to an overall marketing plan for a book launch. Your video book trailer alone, will not sell tens of thousands of copies, but neither will your blog tour, or your banner ads, or your social media posts and tweets unless you already have a name like Nicholas Sparks or Karen Kingsbury.

Book sales are derived from a series of promotional efforts and strategies through multiple tools and channels, as well as the old fashioned word-of-mouth.

As more books are sold via digital platforms, I believe the role of the video book trailer will evolve, especially for younger generations.

For example, when I show my video book trailers to readers who are in the baby boomer generation or older, some (not all) struggle to keep up with the changing slides, read the words, or the music may be too much for their taste. I'll get comments like, "It went too fast." or "I'm still not sure what it's about."

However, when I do presentations at my daughter's school to a group of 14 and 15 year olds, I can tell them what the book is about, give them my TV-blurb, and no reaction. Yet, when I stop talking and show them the video book trailer, I get the WOW reaction. "That's cool!" or "Can we see it again?" or "I wanna read it!"

Think of your video book trailer as a teaser or a movie trailer to lure people into a story. A movie trailer entices people to want to "see something", while a video book trailer should make them want to "read something". Either way, whether it is a book or a movie, you are drawing them into a story. There is a saying in the publishing world, that Story is King - it's no different with video book trailers. Hook them with the story. After that comes the details.

Video book trailers are short (usually no more than a minute or so) videos that are essentially a ‘commercial’ for your book. A good video book trailer includes a number of multimedia elements including music, subtitles, imagery, and in more elaborate cases voice overs and custom-filmed action video. The goal of the video book trailer is, of course, to get the viewer to purchase the book.

In social media, you will hear marketers say it is all about content. Well, your video book trailer is all about the story--which is your content.

The Details 

Here are a few unspoken rules about creating good, engaging video book trailers.
  • Keep it short. Less than 2 min. 
  • Don't use annoying unprofessional voices. If you can't find someone with a compelling voice, stick to music. 
  • Theme music to match your story. Try to time the frame transitions and movement to prominent beats and specific sounds. 
  • Photos and images with good resolution. They should not be blurry, pix-elated, or stretched out of proportion. 
  • Keep the frames moving at a steady pace. If you need a frame to hold for more than 2-4 sec so it can be read or narrated, you have too much text or narration. Cut the text to sound bytes or cut the narration in half.
  • Make sure the text you use is large enough to read, a color that doesn't blend in with the image background, or use an insert slide if you must have the text. 
  • Have others view it before you upload it to YouTube or anywhere online. Be open to constructive criticism. Once you're video is out there - it's out there.
  • Make sure it looks professional. You don't want a mediocre video giving readers the impression that your book is mediocre quality. You want them to be enticed to read your story after viewing the video, not be turned off by it. 
Distributing Your Video Book Trailer
Outside of Google, YouTube is the second most searched site on the web. This means your title, key words and description must be gripping and catchy. In order to keep your videos from being buried among the masses on the site, you need to upload it everywhere else possible. Besides YouTube, try uploading it to GoogleVideo, DailyMotion,, Christian Book Videos, GodTube. Your video book trailer will  of course be on YOUR site and your publishers, right?

Take advantage of your personal accounts and upload it to your website/blog, online media kit, Amazon Author page, Facebook, Twitpic for Twitter, Behance for LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google+, and other social media sites where you may have a profile.

Did you make your own video book trailer? Are there any other sites you have found to share your video book trailers? Please share.


sally apokedak said...

Another great post.

I have a favorite book trailer of all time, directed by the talented Christian author, ND Wilson, who has a friend who happens to be a movie star (Joel Courtney).

Most of us are not that talented and most of us don't have friends who are movie stars. :) But, man, that trailer was effective. I tripped over myself rushing to Amazon to "buy with one-click."

What do you think? I have a friend who thought this trailer was not effective because it was too much like a movie and she didn't think it would appeal to bookish people.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Sally, That was a great trailer. It really looks like a movie trailer. Even my teenage daughter was watching it over my shoulder. "Just curious she said."

Today, I just came from a book signing where a 15 year old wasn't sure about buying my book. I asked her if she wanted to watch the trailer on my phone, and she said yes. After watching it, she bought it and the sequel. I really believe this is how we can reach the millennium generation.

And thank you, glad you liked the post.

sally apokedak said...

Very cool. I know my children (19 and 18) both like to watch trailers and I think that though the like paper and ink books better than electronic books, they will get into interactive books when more of those come out.

I don't want interactive books, and yet, I think they are going to come, no matter what I want.

John Vonn said...

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Thank you so much?
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