I know, I know. There’s an intense debate among the industry as to whether trailers are really a worthwhile marketing device. I’ve seen as many posts for them as I have against them.
But, I couldn’t resist the pull to try a trailer at least once in my writing career. When I broached the subject with my publisher’s marketing department, of course they had their hesitancies too. In their experience, they’ve come to recognize that quality is important because every promotion is a reflection on the author. In other words, a well made trailer can help, but one that is poorly constructed has the potential to harm a book's promotion and author’s public image.
When I asked the head of marketing what went into making an effective trailer she said it should be short (1:30 maximum), it should engage the viewer emotionally, and it should leave the viewer hanging so that they want to go purchase the book to find out what happens.
Of course, my trailer isn’t in the same high budget category as some of the professionally produced trailers that are made for top sellers, but my publisher did use a professional designer, still photos from the cover model shoot, and they had the ability to do a video shoot with costumed actors.
Here are some of the benefits I hope to gain from having a trailer for my new book:
• Videos involve more senses (sight AND sound) which help solidify the product in the consumer's mind. It doesn’t really matter what the product is—toothpaste, pizza, and yes, even books—the multi-sensory facet of videos (commercials) can help facilitate interest.
• Video communication is growing in importance. Think about the increasing usage of videos through mediums such as YouTube, vlogs, Skype, etc. As more people begin to use videos, we as writers need to tap into that medium and not be left behind. PulsePoint Founder/Creative Director, Kelli Standish, listed some statistics in a 2008 post Book Videos & Online Trailers: Fad or Future?
73% of U.S. Internet users viewed video online in February 2008.
Consumers are 47% more engaged in television commercials online than on television.
Over 70% of Internet users under the age of thirty actively visit video-sharing sites.
• Trailers are one more way to generate book buzz in cyberland. The more times readers hear about our books, the more likely they’ll be to purchase it. Trailers can provide an additional avenue for increasing the chatter around the internet.
• Online bookstores can utilize the trailers for their promotional efforts. My publisher will offer the trailer to most of their online bookstore distributors. This can help put a book into more of a spotlight position.
• Authors can use the trailers on their author pages on various reader sites. Goodreads, Shelfari, Librarything, and even an author’s Amazon page have spots for putting in videos. Getting the trailer into as many places as possible will only increase the chances of the book’s exposure.
• Trailers offer a quick, concise summary of the book in an emotionally enticing way. The sound of the music, the clear pictures, and the short blurb about the book can engage viewers’ emotions in a way that words alone often cannot do.
Kelli Standish of PulsePoint says this in her article, “Television viewers are migrating to the Internet for their entertainment. It means that more users than ever are sharing and watching online video. And it means that if you want to meet them when they arrive at your cyberdoor, a book video or trailer could be a solid addition to your book promotion arsenal.”
Like any marketing effort, however, promoting a trailer requires some work and savvy. Among all of the voices on the internet clamoring for attention, we can’t just throw a trailer onto our websites and expect people to flock to it. We have to look at creative ways we can draw interest to the trailer.
One way to promote a trailer is through a contest! Which is what I’m doing this week! Click here to check out the details and to enter! (And I'm giving away fantastic prizes!)
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with book trailers. Have you used one or considered the possibility? What do you think are the pros and cons of trailers?
P.S. Make sure you read the comments for more wisdom from Kelli Standish about book trailers!