Three Tips for a Successfull Book Trailer

Ever wondered what makes for a successful book trailer?

Consider this one:

(To purchase book, it's available on Amazon, click here)
  Like the trailer? It's really very simple - no actors, no special scenes, just music and images. Done by a young talented film maker, Magda Olchawska, for my book, it doesn't cost much (check costs out here on Magda's website - less than two hundred dollars if you provide your own photos as I did since the paintings are my own).

That experience - it took me several months to figure out the kind of trailer I wanted and I did a lot of research around the Internet - has taught me a few things about book trailers and I wanted to share with you what I learned.

The starting point for an effective trailer? The reader! Yes, you've got to get his/her attention, and fast! You've got about 10 seconds to draw them in. And that means you need to know exactly who you are writing for. And you should NEVER bore them - keep them interested so they see your trailer to the end!

Tip #  1: Know your audience, pick the style to suit the taste of your (expected) readers. Are they Young Adults? Nature-lovers? Urbanites? Mature and experienced people, i.e. boomers like in the case of my boomer novel A Hook in the Sky? Look at book trailers in your genre and get a feel for the sort of trailer you need to produce. 

Tip # 2: Look for an arresting opening. Something different that will draw your readers in. To achieve that, I did several things:
(a) pick a catchy tune, in this case the sort of music that a boomer might like...but much depends on what sort of book you wrote - if it's romantic, choose a moody, slow tune etc...
(b) play with an unusual image, in this case my book cover and turned it into a symbol of life: you climb one rung at a time...
(c) use a line that draws in your audience on a psychological level, something they might have experienced, that plays on feelings of empathy, here, the rungs of a ladder: we have often felt that life threw challenges at us, that it was hard climbing...

Tip # 2: Make it sweet and short. Some do 30 seconds trailers and that's a bit short to convey the story; others aim for 60 seconds and that's better. Ideally one minute and a half - but NEVER two minutes or more, that's far too long. Nobody on Internet is willing to waste that much time on you and your unknown book!

Tip # 3: Focus on the story.  What's your book about? That's something you need to answer right away. Convey:
(a) the central point, the conflict raised, better still if you can link that to your book title...
(b) leave your audience wishing for more, wanting to find out how the story ends...

That's it, 3 simple tips!

Now comes the hard part: distribution

Where are you going to show your book trailer? On your blog, on YouTube, on Facebook, Google+ , in short any Social Media you happen to frequent. I'm a member of the Goodreads Group discussing boomer lit and I put it there in the video section. 

And of course, don't forget to upload it on your online author page, in my case the Amazon Author page, see here, in the right hand column, there is a place for your videos.

You don't see it? Yes I know, it's hard to see! You have to scroll down the page and eventually something called "Author Video" turns up...But with the wrong image! Yes, it's that painting of the Niger girl that I did and which happens to be in the middle of the video. It's NOT the opening image (as it is here, above and on YouTube too). That's very unfortunate, because anyone looking at that video CANNOT LINK IT TO ANYONE OF MY BOOKS!!

I tried to change that image and couldn't. So I figured I'd load up my video on the book detail page for A Hook in the Sky, that was the obvious, logical place: it would help sales. I've seen that done on Amazon for other books, so why not for mine? 

I looked everywhere for video upload instructions on the book page, nothing! Finally, in despair, I wrote Amazon, they very kindly replied within 24 hours: if I wanted a book trailer on my book detail page, I'd have to purchase their CreateSpace video package. You can check it out here : $1,199.00 for a 30 seconds book trailer (with text only), $2,199.00 for 60 seconds (with voice over).

What! But I had a book trailer already and I liked it the way it was! So I wrote back telling them that all I needed was to have my trailer uploaded to my book page and that I understood that this would require some time from their technicians and that I was willing to pay for the upload.

Someone from Amazon kindly got on the phone with me - think of that, all the way from the US to Rome where I live (I imagine he used Skype!). And I was told that no, no way could I pay for the upload separately. I had to go through their system and yes, of course, if I like my trailer so much, I could give them the line to follow and the images, I need not fear, they would do something very similar...But the cost! No, that was the cost, it couldn't be changed just for me.

Moral of the story: you can't get around them, it's their online retail site, not yours and they do with it what they please. So if you want a book trailer on your Amazon book page, lump it, stop complaining and do it with CreateSpace! Yes, I know, it will cost you...But Zon is the Master of his house!

Any suggestions? Have you ever done a book trailer and what's been your experience?

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