C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

Book trailers: Problems and solutions

1. Book trailers are often done poorly. You’re a writer so you probably aren’t bubbling over with a ton of film skills. You could learn, but how many hats can you wear and is this really where you want to put your energy?

2. To make a book trailer well costs time and energy. Oh, and some money, though smart and funny buys more eyes than money. (Want to see examples of cheap videos that work and get eyeballs? Go to YouTube and search Nigahiga and Ray William Johnson, or click this Harry Potter parody brilliance or this crazy Michael Buble/Dexter parody. These guys go longer than a minute, yes, but they deserve it. You probably don’t.) If you still want a book trailer, don’t spend a whack on it. Try not to spend anything at all because it probably won’t work at all. Really.

3. Book trailers can make an author feel great, but readers aren’t necessarily watchers. Love of one medium doesn’t translate to another.

4. The main problem with book trailers is that almost all of them are way too long! It’s an ad. A thirty-second commercial is plenty. Most seem to clock in at over a minute or more and that’s the wrong way to go. How often do you enjoy a long advertisement?

If you did spend a whack of money and saw no return on your investment, at least making a book trailer is fun. You had fun, right? Geez, I hope so.

Unless…How can you turn that frown upside down and twist the book trailer problem around?

You could make your next book trailer a contest among your readers (and potential readers.)

This turns the work over to budding film students and enthusiastic fans. While you were writing your short stories, they were dreaming of buying a new lens for two-shots and becoming the next Tarantino.

1. Turn an advertising problem into a challenge for your readership. Give a couple of months of lead time before the contest closes.

2. Come up with a prize that will motivate your people.

3. Be sure to give them all the information they need to sell the book and make a little movie. Every director gets a free copy or a good-sized sample. The trailer should intrigue, excite and sell without spoiling.

4. Ask the contestants to make their trailer, put it on YouTube and then everyone will vote to decide which book trailer is the winner.

One book trailer is chosen, but they are all up on YouTube.

You don’t just have one book trailer working for you. You have a bunch out there.

I’m still not convinced that you’ll sell a lot of books with book trailers per se. If it adds to your web presence, however, people could be more aware of your existence than they would otherwise be. So don’t make one book trailer that’s perfect and expensive. Have a bunch of them out there that are less than perfect…and still get one you love.

It’s a great way to engage your readership, spread the word and get help.

You can’t do it all. Well…maybe you can, you genius you.

But you don’t have to. Also, it sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

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Filed under: book trailer, Books, Publicity & Promotion, web reviews, Writers, , , , , , , , ,

9 Responses

  1. This is so friggin’ brilliant! And so common sense!
    Thanks.

    Hope Clark
    FundsforWriters.com

  2. rozmorris says:

    Thank goodness for some sense about book trailers. I’m going with the ‘don’t do it’ option. Instead I’ve recorded myself reading my first chapters and I’m going to put it out as a free download. I think it’s a better way for the book to advertise itself. It’s not that I don’t relish the creative challenge of making a trailer – but I don’t have time at the moment to learn how to do it well.

  3. What a super idea to run a competition. I may try it with my YA novel, thanks.

  4. M.E. Anders says:

    Thanks for linking back to my recent post about book trailers. Great advice, Chazz.

  5. Chazz says:

    Thank you for all your kind comments (and welcome to new readers and subscribers.)

    If any of you implements this strategy, let me know and I’ll help promote it to others through my connections. I’d be pleased to hear more about your own book trailer experiences.

    Drop me a line at expartepress@gmail.com of you’d like to guest blog about book trailers (or something else) too!

    Cheers!

    Chazz

  6. Janet Glaser says:

    Thanks for adding my link about creating book trailers to your article. You have a fabulous idea about running a contest for a book trailer. This reminds a bit about Tom Sawyer getting Huck Finn to paint the fence. Clever guy! You are right on about the length of the trailer too…sometimes I yawn before I get to the end of some of them…Great advice!

  7. […] Book Trailers: Problems and Solutions: Over on Chazz Writes (who is soon to become a full-time writer, congratulations Chazz), he explores the new fad of the book trailer, if it’s needed, and some clever ways around the expense of producing one (or many). […]

  8. Sharon Reddy says:

    I have a 40-second, pro-created book trailer. It’s not as much for readers as for people who know readers. The soundtrack is designed to blast through big speakers or headphones, and get a replay, to hear it again. As we approach the gift-buying season, more authors seem to be going to very reasonably priced indie film makers for trailers, and hunting places to put links that aren’t, specifically, book reader. This is the link to the site of the film maker who did mine, and two others, at different prices. Mine’s the little cheapie and perfect for me.

    http://www.youtube.com/filmmakershelp

  9. […] Book trailers: Problems and solutions (chazzwrites.wordpress.com) […]

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