I trust I am not alone in the belief that fate indeed does make strange bedfellows. To use a visual medium to promote the sale of print books is something relatively new, but I firmly think book video trailers are an invaluable asset in selling books.

I've just added a video for my latest Dick Hardesty Mystery, The Dream Ender here on Crimespace, and would hope you might have a look and let me know if it might influence you in any way.

How many of you are using video trailers for your books?

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In addition to the technical problems like grainy videos and poor production values, how are you supposed to get potential consumers (not book people or fellow authors to whom you've emailed a link) to view the trailer?

Do you advertise the advertisement, adding another step (i.e. roadblock) to the sales process?
I'm doing one for MONEY SHOT, but not the powerpoint zooming stills type. I know how to edit video using Final Cut Pro and plan to do a very short 30 second teaser using a live, flesh and blood actress. It'll be high-quality, professional and film-looked (film-look is a filter that makes video look like actual film). I have no idea if it will actually influence sales or not but I know I'll have a good time making it.

I agree with John that many of the book trailers out there are not very well done, but I'd like to change that. Of course, the jury's still out...
Your approach sounds like the way book trailers need to be done, with an eye to competing with the TV and film trailers people see regularly and not a simple voiceover synopsis. Pick out the scenes that will sell the story and dramatise them. Of course, that's a lot easier (or more, accurately, cheaper) if you're writing a gritty thriller set in dark alleyways and seedy hotel rooms than it is if the novel is a globe-trotting action thriller where skimping on the narrative's shoot-outs and explosions in the pitch won't impress anyone.
I agree with what everyone has said so far. The zooming stills type don't appeal to me at all, and even if the book is something I might like to read, I've had enough after about 30 seconds. I love Christa's idea and I think there that 30 seconds would really tease me and make me want more. But as Christa says, it would need to be high quality and professional.

I quite like Michael Connelly's trailer for ECHO PARK. Not the short version with the words coming on screen and the voiceover by one of those guys with gravel in the throat "Coming soon....to a cinema...near you" but the loger acted version. It feels a bit slow but the settings are important in Michael Connelly's books and this is a really interesting one. It made me want to read the books, so that one worked. But then...I would probably read it anyway.
Your trailer is well done. Congratulations! I like the music you put with it as well.

I'm a firm believer in book trailers, though I don't know that one would ever motivate me to buy a book. I look at them as pieces of art in and of themselves. Simply building awareness is key for me. There's one for my forthcoming novel, Isabella Moon, that runs on opening my website at www.laurabenedict.com. If you decide to take a look, I'd be pleased if you'd let me know what you think! Blessings--Laura
Great comments, well taken points. I thank you all. My whole thing with book trailers is that they are one more way of reaching out to prospective book buyers (though I agree that that goal is pretty unrealistic with groups comprised mostly of other writers) at a minimal cost

I'm sure Industrial Light & Magic or Pixar could whip up a dandy book video for under $200,000. Alas, there's them of us what has to work with what we got. The zoom-in-zoom-out may be tacky, but it's better than nothing, I think. It's a little like going to a soup kitchen and wondering why they aren't serving lobster bisque.

Anyone who does not like book trailers for whatever reason, is free to ignore them, and I certainly respect their right to do so. But for casting a net into the vast cybersea in hopes of maybe coming up with some new readers, I definitely think they have value.

So where else are you running the trailer? If its just on your website, then don't people already have to know who you are, to find it? I'm trying to decide whether or not I want a trailer for my book which is coming out early next year, and I keep getting stuck on "who the heck is gonna see the thing anyway?"

Well, it boils down to "nothing ventured, nothing gained." Letting people know about your videos is just like letting them know about your books...you just have to get out there and beat your drum as loudly as you can, everywhere you can, any time you can. Unfortunately, the old saying "If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door" just ain't true.

I use every outlet available to me, including the 6,000 or so (or so it seems) groups to which I belong to let people know it's there. Nothin' comes easy (...you may quote me, if you wish), and if we don't do everything we possibly can to promote ourselves and our books, who do you think will?




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