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message 1: by Mandapanda (last edited Feb 06, 2011 10:54PM) (new)

Mandapanda I saw this great article on book trailers by Paul Murphy (Sydney-based producer, writer, director and motion graphics designer). The concept of watching a 'filmed' piece about a book seems a bit incongruous to me but I think the practice is only going to get bigger. What do you think of book trailers. Have you seen any good/bad ones?

5 Things I Have Learnt About Book Trailers

I began making book trailers as early as 2002, although back then, we called them “book videos”.

I was working in the marketing department of a large Australian publisher, and my job was to design these short animated promos for new titles. This was before You Tube and Facebook, so we had to convince bookstores to install these large analog TVs just to play them. It wasn’t the most ideal way to distribute them, but I thought it was a very fast and exciting way to promote a book, and saw real potential in the form.

I eventually left the publishing industry to become a video editor and visual effects artist. Then a few years later, an old publishing colleague contacted me. Apparently “book trailers” were now an online phenomenon, and she asked me if I would be interested in making one. I jumped at the opportunity.

I’ve since made more than 30 book trailers for a range of publishers and authors, both Australian and international. Over the years, I’ve experimented with the form, seen what works, what doesn’t. The following is a brief list of some of the things I’ve learnt.

‘Trailer’ is a much sexier word than
‘advertisement’

We stole the word “trailer” from the film industry, who use it every day to make their advertisements more appealing. The difference is, I love watching trailers, but I can't stand watching advertisements. The same thing applies with book trailers. The aim of any trailer should be to promote the book without making the viewer feel like they’re watching an ad.

The Wildkin‘s Curse by Kate Forsythe

You won’t find a new idea by searching Google
If you do a Google search on how to make a book trailer, you will find thousands of sites that will tell you how to make something that looks exactly like every other trailer. They all involve the same thing: buying cheap stock images and royalty free music (most of which have already been used), adding titles and editing it all together using free software. If you want to make something that really stands out and grabs people’s attention, you have to come up with it yourself. In social media, a good idea is more important than a massive budget or technical skill. One of my most popular trailers was shot with a small handicam in one continuous take.

“Terrifying Car Jacking“ Edit: I just went back and watched this one after I posted the msg. It is a book trailer but it's filmed as if it's a real carjacking. It's extremely scary and seems very real. Not suitable for younger readers. If anyone objects to it or wants me to delete it I would happily be guided by other's opinions.

Brevity is the soul of book trailers
The average YouTuber's attention span is very brief, so don’t waste time. A book trailer is not the blurb from the jacket put to music and pictures. You need to focus on what sells your novel, and discard everything else. Most book trailers should be no longer than 30 seconds. I’ll only go to 60 seconds if I need to establish background information as well (e.g. for sequels). For an example, check out how much information I compressed into this 30 second trailer for ‘The Blood Countess’ by Tara Moss.

The Blood Countess by Tara Moss

Readers like to visualise things for themselves
Your target audience are readers, and readers like to use their imagination. Choose visuals that will draw them in and create a sense of style, without giving too much away. There is a bit of a trend out there to make book trailers that look exactly like movie trailers, with actors and expensive film equipment. I see how this can work in some cases (like the spoof series by Quirk Books), but I find most of them to be counterproductive. The trailer should make the viewer want to buy the book, not wait for the film adaptation.

Return of the Prophet by Greig Beck

Not every book needs a book trailer
Some marketing gurus will preach that every book needs a book trailer. As much as I like the idea (it would certainly keep me in business), it is a reckless way to market a book. Every book is unique, and requires its own unique strategy. Before you commit to producing a trailer, consider two important questions: are my audience actively social online, and can my novel be promoted visually?

Book trailers are a great way to expand or consolidate an audience on the web. Authors can use them to attract readers to their website, fans can post them on Facebook and other social media sites, and bloggers can post them as news. It's a form of marketing well-suited to the growing popularity of online shopping and eBooks. They've certainly come a long way since my humble book videos all those years ago.


To view more of Paul’s book trailers, visit
www.booktease.com.au


message 2: by S.B. (new)

S.B. Wright (seandbookonaut) | 8 comments I good trailer can sell a book, indeed some trailers i have come across are works of art that are better than the book they are selling.

The trouble is, to get those production values you need to fork out the money (although I'll admit some genre's a better using guerrilla filming techniques which can be low cost)


message 3: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Sean wrote: "I good trailer can sell a book, indeed some trailers i have come across are works of art that are better than the book they are selling.

The trouble is, to get those production values you need to ..."


Good point Sean. I have no idea how much a trailer costs. Do you know? Certainly would be too expensive for self-published authors I imagine.


message 4: by S.B. (new)

S.B. Wright (seandbookonaut) | 8 comments Mandy wrote: "Sean wrote: "I good trailer can sell a book, indeed some trailers i have come across are works of art that are better than the book they are selling.

The trouble is, to get those production valu..."


An author I was reading said that they start around the $2000 mark.


message 5: by Mandapanda (last edited Feb 06, 2011 10:59PM) (new)

Mandapanda @ Sean Did you look at the 'Terrifying Car Jacking' link. It scared the hell out of me! But apparently it was one of the cheapest ones to make. Makes you realise you don't need heaps of money to get a big effect.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

It's certainly an approach I have never looked at. It wouldn't occur to me to watch a trailer for a book. But then I rarely watch movies so I guess they aren't aimed at people like me.


message 7: by S.B. (new)

S.B. Wright (seandbookonaut) | 8 comments Mandy wrote: "@ Sean Did you look at the 'Terrifying Car Jacking' link. It scared the hell out of me! But apparently it was one of the cheapest ones to make. Makes you realise you don't need heaps of money to ge..."


That's a Paul Murphy one, so I think its probably still pricey, but yes depending on genre you could get away with lower cost, grunge style trailers


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) I get more than enough screen time just on GR - trailers wouldn't affect me. I've certainly not encountered any.


message 9: by Nicki (new)

Nicki Markus (nickijmarkus) | 168 comments I make my own book trailers. The hardest bit is making sure you aren't using something copyrighted (i.e. music, image)....but then it's just a bit of time spent putting them together. They are amazingly flash but they come out OK.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Maybe you should post a link to one here so we know what you mean by 'amazingly flash'.


message 11: by Nicki (new)

Nicki Markus (nickijmarkus) | 168 comments Gail "cyborg" wrote: "Maybe you should post a link to one here so we know what you mean by 'amazingly flash'."


lol. That should have read 'aren't amazingly flash' - that's where speed typing gets you.
If any one wants to see what I put together on my own, they are all on my website
http://www.nickijmarkus.org.uk


message 12: by Paul (new)

Paul Daniels (mrpld) | 155 comments One thing we've found with our trailer ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGzviO... - Tree of Life ) is that even if people think it's great it's not going to be a seller of your book. Ultimately, it's a nice supporting role but unless you've already got the groundwork in the blogs, reviews and such it could end up being an expense you probably could have left till later. That said, it can be a lot of FUN doing trailers, for sure - just don't drop everything else though.

Paul.


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