by Will Viharo
Let's face it: it's hard getting people to read anything these days, much less buy books by unknown authors. We live in a culture dominated by visual media. This is why if you're planning to publish any kind of book (yes, even an ebook), you should start thinking about promoting it with a trailer. Yes, just like a movie, exactly!
Movie trailers have been highly successful marketing tools for decades, almost since the dawn of cinema over a century ago. By cherry-picking highlights of the feature, carefully edited into an ideally taut teaser that gives the viewer a taste of what to expect without ruining their appetite by providing TMI, film promoters have relied on previews as the best possible way to generate anticipation amongst both the target audience as well as the wide, untapped world of potential patrons.
This should be your goal as an aspiring (or experienced) author, too.
The concept of creating a book trailer may seem incongruous, considering the work itself is of a literary nature, but actually it makes all kinds of sense (and hopefully results in some dollars and cents), given the fact every author, self-published or otherwise, needs to promote themselves on as many virtual platforms as possible. Including YouTube and Vimeo.
And with today's handy technology, almost anyone can make a creatively compelling book trailer on their smartphone, like my co-author Scott Fulks did for our sci-fi epic It Came from Hangar 18.
A book trailer also gives you the opportunity to not only develop your editorial talents, but to network amongst your local community, a skill you will need to continually hone once you enter the marketplace.
For example, rapidly rising crime/thriller writer Joe Clifford (Lamentation) gathered some of his friends in the Bay Area indie filmmaking/literary/music scene to createthis compelling trailer for his very popular “fictional memoir” Junkie Love, published by a small press, but gradually achieving bestselling cult status via his many innovative and exhaustive promotional efforts, including his regularly updated blog.
Here are a few tips when preparing to make your own book trailer:
Sometimes you can offer a simple video of you reading from the book if it's at least semi-professionally filmed and doesn't resemble a crudely shot “home movie,” but only in conjunction with some more conventionally “cinematic” trailers.
Be bold and creative. Sell yourself as well as your work. The goal is to stand out as a unique individual, not just another random option, since regardless of the genre, whether it's literary, horror, fantasy, or erotica, you're most likely competing in an already over-crowded field.
We'll have much more to say on book trailers in the coming year, so keep following us here or on Facebook for all the latest.
Meantime, what do you look for in a trailer, whether it's for a movie or a book?
IMAGE CREDIT: _SARCHI