Why Every Book Needs A Trailer
Every book needs a trailer to help promote it. Follow these tips to create a magical book trailer and boost your audience.
Self-publishing success relies on independent authors doing their own book marketing, and video content is one of the best ways to communicate with your audience. Social media videos are only one aspect of promotion. A high-quality video book trailer is a tremendous weapon in your book sales arsenal.
Frigid winter weather, a cozy cup of cocoa, and streaming a new movie are the perfect setting for an enjoyable evening in my home. But what should I choose? A rousing preview is sure to make me put the film on my watch list. The same is true for an engaging book trailer when I’m browsing Amazon for my next read.
People in search of entertainment expect well-produced video content. Social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Tik-Tok favor stimulating video content even if the production value is low. Books may be printed on paper or offered in digital form, but their ability to amuse, inform, or horrify is unleashed when words create vibrant pictures in the reader’s mind. An effective book trailer evokes those images.
Although the task may seem daunting, it is possible for indie authors to create an attractive, effective trailer. You don’t have to be a Hollywood mogul, but you should think like one. With a planned approach and some inexpensive software, you can produce a video that will entice readers to press the “buy now” button.
Plan with these first three steps:
- Write a script, and be concise. Your book blurb is likely too long. Aim for a 90-second video length by writing in phrases rather than complete sentences. Instead of “Across the ocean in a castle in England,” try “In an English castle.” Axe unnecessary words like an over-caffeinated lumberjack. Feature your hook, build tension, and finish with a compelling question that evokes cherished hopes or primal fears, or your signature takeaway. Most writers do not have the professional vocal skills to narrate their own trailers, but titles can be just as effective if they are well-written.
- Choose a mood and theme. Most Christian writers have a “big why” for writing that rises above mere entertainment. Your trailer should reflect your writing mission and impact potential readers with questions and ideas that have eternal consequences. The best Christian book trailers do not merely communicate lofty ideas—they evoke emotions and thoughts in your book which the Holy Spirit will use to prick the consciences of viewers.
- Select images and music. Mood and theme are created by carefully chosen pictures and music. Be certain all media used in your production is correctly licensed for commercial use. If necessary, purchase licenses for professional media, which can be surprisingly affordable. Likely sources of good images are Unsplash, Pexels, and Pond5, where you may also find low-cost or free music. If you need a certain image or sound and can’t find it, hire a talented digital artist or composer who can craft it for you. You may also hire a voice artist to record narration. Your investment will be repaid with increased book sales.
When your plan is in place, it’s time to move into production mode.
- Create your book trailer using movie production software. Many options are available, but I recommend Corel VideoStudio®. At a price less than $75, it is affordable and user-friendly, offering a simple method to merge pictures and sound on a timeline that makes it easy to preview and alter your production. Instructional videos are widely available on the internet, and it’s worth the time and effort to master the use of this versatile software. I have not used or tested these options, but other video makers recommend:
- Lumen5, which offers both free and paid versions, is endorsed by many Fortune 500 companies. You may select the version of the program best suited for your budget, and prices increase according to your needs.
- Windows Movie Maker offers an interface similar to Corel, but it only works with the Windows OS. The app is free in the Microsoft store, but if you want to remove the program’s watermark, there is a fee. Some users criticize the program for the lack of features to make adjustments to saturation and transitions.
- Movavi Video Editor comes in both MAC and PC versions, and it has both free and paid versions.
- Post and promote your trailer. Since the average user spends more than 88% of their time on a website that contains video, be certain to post your book trailer on your author website.
- It’s preferable to upload the video to YouTube or Vimeo and provide a link to the content using your web design software. These platforms are optimized for streaming and many web host companies struggle to provide adequate bandwidth.
- While you’re on YouTube, create a personalized channel to offer content that may be cross posted on other social media platforms.
- Though it’s not a simple task, learn how to post the video on your Amazon author page. Indie authors accomplish this task through Amazon Author Central. At this time, you may not embed a YouTube link, but you may upload the original video for viewing. Be certain to read Amazon’s content guidelines before posting.
If the task of producing your own book trailer seems too daunting, you may hire someone to do it for you. Independent authors already bear a heavy marketing burden, and some may prefer to engage a professional service for producing a trailer. Expect to pay anywhere from $300 to more than $1,000 depending on the expertise of the company providing the service. If this is your preference, shop around for prices and be sure your contract includes terms about copyright ownership.
The next time you visit the theater, arrive early, grab the requisite popcorn and soda, and study the art of movie trailers. What captures your attention? What transitions do they use? Do they use simple captions, or is there a vocal narrator? What writing techniques are used to communicate mood and theme?
Wade into the world of video production, and you may develop a new ability that will help you market a book like the pros.
About the Author
Rhonda Dragomir is a multimedia creative who treasures her fairy tale life in Central Kentucky, insisting her home is her castle, even if her prince refuses to dig a moat. Rhonda formed The Dragomir Group to offer websites and design services to writers. She is a frequent guest in writers’ conferences and forums, teaching multiple subjects focused on the use of technology.
Contact her through her website at www.rhondadragomir.com.