When you have a finished manuscript and it comes time to publish your book, you might be thinking of ways to advertise it.
I have done a lot of research lately, on YouTube. I follow ‘booktubers’ there, and see a lot of the books that are popular that they like to read. Their subscribers are more likely to pick up the same book and read it. The question is where do the booktubers find their books?
I searched the titles of these books on YouTube and found a tremendous amount of ‘book trailers’, which are in a way very much like movie trailers. Then, I wondered if this was a productive form of advertisement.
That was about a year ago. Now, I have watched almost every book trailer made since that time. I go on YouTube, type in ‘book trailer’ in the search bar, filter for results within the last hour or day, and then watch all I can before I get a headache. Why do I get a headache? I will explain that in a minute.
So, if you are considering free advertisement, with a wide range of viewers, YouTube and the booktuber community is the right place to be. However, if you are considering making a trailer for your book, make sure it’s something provoking, and something readers will enjoy watching. I mean, really enjoy watching.
I have already said I’ve watched a lot of trailers before this, so I feel like I can give a substantial amount of advice on making trailers, even if I haven’t made my own yet. That goes to say, I have seen so many bad trailers in my time, that I have actually lost respect for books with bad trailers.
They think of me as a number, and don’t care about my viewing pleasure – only hoping I see it and automatically buy the book because it was on YouTube.
As a result, I’m going to give you some Do’s and Don’ts about making a book trailer, to spare myself and others more headaches.
How I categorize a well-done book trailer:
Outstanding book trailers are hard to create, with their brilliant animations and voice overs, which is why most of these trailers are of published books, which have companies to take care of advertisement for them. These types sell the most books, and are the biggest competition for other categories. Not saying they are all from publishing companies – some are of indie books – but any comparison to this category can actually downgrade the likelihood of someone picking up the book because it doesn’t seem like it’s been published.
- The video doesn’t treat me like a number, and works hard to keep my attention.
- None of it is images, but moving, lively animations or films.
- There is light background music and it’s not distracting.
- Usually, someone is narrating.
- It has captivating captions that tell a story, or hint to what readers should expect.
- The letter fonts are distinct.
- The captions and narrations are not clique.
- There is a book cover at the end, with the available date for purchase.
How I categorize a mediocre book trailer:
This category is where most unpublished authors should fall into. It’s not the best, but it’s where one should strive for, given the economic circumstances and lack of funds. It won’t get a ton of views, but it still has a chance of someone liking it, and a very slim chance of someone disliking it. There is less of a chance that the book will be compared to another trailer, if that trailer is at least coherent and interesting. Every story is different, and so is its trailers.
- It uses pictures and/or videos (all owned by the author, making it unique).
- The captions present a flare of creativeness in the story line.
- The trailer is organized and to the point, without distracting background music or photos.
- The ‘video’ tends to have a slideshow vibe to it, but not overbearing.
- Timing with captions is not too long, but not hastily short and distracting.
- When using actors and film, the video can be a little clique.
- It has a book cover at the end, with the available date for purchase.
Tip: Try to work with what you got. If you have an expensive movie maker that does cool tricks, use it. If you have a skill, like drawing, incorporated it into your trailer because no one can copy a unique creation of your own.
How I categorize a ‘turn-off’ trailer:
It’s exactly what it says, a turn off. Readers will question why someone put the video up. They will compare the trailer to, not only other trailers, but to the quality of the book. Surprisingly, this quality is the most common video I find in my searches, resulting in many headaches.
- It’s captions are blurred with the background.
- The background is more interesting, or distracting, than the captions.
- There is nothing but words. Without the words, this type of trailer would be a black screen filled with nothing. Even worse, sometimes the words are in big, paragraph form.
- The photos, videos, or music that do show up in the trailer are copyrighted – already seen from a popular movie or TV show (which is what the views notice first, and forget the rest).
- The backgrounds have no coherency with the book, but, instead, are trying to explain the simplest captions. Ex: The first caption says something like “He must save himself from wolves…”, and there is a picture of a howling wolf in the background. But then, the caption says “There are still questions left unanswered”, and in the background is a question mark placed on a child’s building block. At this point, I don’t know how great the book’s quality will be – ya’ know, behind all the other mistakes.
- The timing with scenes is way off.
- There’s too many pictures without any time to think about what’s happening.
- The music’s too loud.
- It was clearly made from movie maker or slideshow, or someone holding up piece of paper with words on them.
- There is an abrupt ending, or they forgot to give a title of the book without a hint to a book cover – almost like they had a school project to make a trailer for something, and it’s a lie to those looking for book trailers for actual books.
- The whole video is ten seconds long, with a book cover and a date.
These are all simple things that one can avoid when making a book trailer. I would search all three categories on YouTube to further understand what I’m talking about, and then watch a lot more good-quality trailers. Go to different publishers’ channels and watch their books’ videos – because they are the competition. You’ll be surprised – some of their trailers are very average, or even unprofessional. It’s a real confidence booster when you see it, because you can make your trailer better!
Tip: The more videos there are, the more likely someone will see one. However, you don’t want to put up a lot of the same thing, nor do you want to give to much of your story away. Also, putting up too many videos makes one look desperate. Put up a “coming soon” trailer to get some anticipation going for the release, and then make a few changes to the video, release a “now available” trailer to announce it’s arrival. Keeping your followers updated is important, but don’t forget to write your book!
That wasn’t much on how to write a book, but it does explain a little on a marketing strategy, which I write about from time to time. This idea is something to considered, depending on what stage you are in the writing process. Don’t think about this until you have an editor, or your book is almost done. You don’t want to say your book is coming out in December and realize it still needs a lot of work. Or you don’t want to get yourself distracted from writing, and instead waste time on a trailer that you don’t need because your book’s not done. Stay focused on your priorities.
Thanks for reading!
Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime