Friday, October 19, 2012

Guest Blog: Book Trailers - Worth the Hype

Rhonda Kay sez--
Based on recent trends by small e-publishers as well as New York’s Big Six, book trailers are becoming the “must-have” accessory for all new releases. Even Amazon threw their hat in the ring last month by promoting a book trailer contest for a novel published by one of their new imprints. The idea is definitely out there, floating in the cosmos, that book trailers are the Next Big Thing in literary marketing and promotion.
But do they sell novels?
Novel Link
Trailer Link
Authors face some rocky terrain as publishing veers into a territory with no map and very few trail markers. The success of ebooks took everyone by surprise; most of us suspected it would happen—eventually—but no one guessed that climates in the publishing industry would shift so quickly.
Now, as both authors and readers, we’re struggling to make sense of the new paradigm. With the changes from traditional publishing to small press or independent electronic publishing, authors must think about marketing, distribution, promotion—a host of things we’ve never before had to face on our own.
Here’s the catch: a writer can pay for a very effective, professionally produced trailer, upload it to their favorite hosting site, wait, and see absolutely no boost in book sales.
The reason? Book trailers are not a magic bullet. They are one more tool in the arsenal of a motivated seller. They will do you no good at book signings, local fairs, or personal appearances unless you’re prepared to have the trailer playing in a loop on a nearby screen. You can’t put them in someone’s hand, autograph them as giveaways, or slip them between the pages of library books for the next reader to find.
However, what a trailer will do is draw the attention of a reader browsing the internet, trying to make a choice between your novel and another beside it on the screen. If your novel has an effective trailer and the other one doesn’t, I’m willing to bet the money lands in your account, not the other author’s. A well-done trailer offers a glimpse into the world of your novel, at the conflicts and the very faces of your characters. It can cause potential readers to become invested in your story long before they turn the first page.
Amazon Link
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For authors who are already doing the legwork—making the most of social media and online networking—book trailers are a sure bet as a promotional tool. Trailers fit seamlessly into the cyberscape of most web pages, and by embedding links to them in everything from email to forum and Facebook posts, you can pique the interest of people who might otherwise never search for your novel’s blurb on Amazon. A book trailer alone cannot sell your novel. But a good trailer will work for you in ways no other form of media advertising can.

For example, Ania Ahlborn's novel Seed--you can see an embedded video, which is the live action book trailer. The producer of this trailer, Vikas Wadhwa, is a super nice guy who I hope will lead the charge in live-action book trailer production.
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Bio: Rhonda Kay is a writer and machinima director living in Southwest Virginia with her husband and a herd of animals. She has penned three novels, but the emerging market for book trailers has kept her too busy lately to even think of publishing anything. An active member of both the writing and machinima communities, she is a strong advocate for the use of 3D animation as a storytelling medium. She blogs here.


Francene Stanley said...

Great article. You've explained the reason and use of trailers perfectly.

Kw mccabe said...

awesome article Rhonda!

dolittlesaymuch said...

Thanks, you two! This was an interesting post to write, because it forced me to think about this from a purely analytical standpoint. I knew all of these things at some level, but articulating them made them so much clearer even for me. And thank you, Rick, for giving me this opportunity. :-)

Unknown said...

Nice blog,Rhonda. I agree!

Book Trailers are one of the very many tools available to us for book promotion. I made my own (see them here):

While each one was time consuming and presented a myriad of complications I ended up with solid products that represent the emotional side of my stories. They are on my website, YouTube, Pintrest, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Rick Bylina said...

I guess it's time to get off my lazy butt and put out a trailer. Lucas, Spielberg, and I kicked around a few ideas a few years back. Maybe I can get Hanks to find a few hours to work with Ferrell and Emma Thompson; they're so good together.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this. Although the book trailer industry isn't so much of an industry yet, it will be if authors continue to raise the bar, and follow in the footsteps of music videos. Google the term "cinematic book trailer" for examples.