I have some artists who are young and talented and have done a couple of my book covers. Now we're talking about doing a YouTube-style video short ad. The question is: do these videos work? Splashing them everywhere across the net should logicially help sales, right? But is there any proof they've helped?

Anyone got a thought on the subject?

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I hate them because they always look so corny. But if you want to make one, it probably won't hurt anything. The question is, though, where are you going to show this video that potential customers will see it? And would it be more beneficial to you to, instead of posting a video trailer, to post a sample chapter or two and a link to a place where people can purchase your book? Because while a video might get someone's attention, why not let people sample the actual product? That's a much better indicator of if a person will like the book.

Another thing to consider is the fact that just because you publish something on the internet doesn't mean people will see it. Even Youtube is a big place and people will still need to search for it. One way is to tag your video well, but my point is that the internet is not an "if you build it, they will come" sort of place. You'll still need to do some marketing to get people aware that your video exists.
Yes, the queston of video vs. posting an opening chapter has been ringing in my head for days now. But the arguements for not doing the video, in many respects, works for the chapter sampling as well.

The key is, as you pointed out, tagging the video properly. I plan to run it on several sites. Flood the damn 'net if I can.

But here is the kicker: IF the video comes out the way I want it . . it won't look corny. It'll be a visual magnet. At least, that's what aI'm hoping for.
You can always do both: a video and a sample chapter.

Roger, that. good buddy! Yes, that is an idea with pursuing.
There were a couple of interesting posts at the Murderati blog that you might want to give a look at, in regard to the efficacy of book trailers.

The Heretic

The Heretic II: The Reckoning

Some interesting thoughts from other authors and readers.
Thanks, Pepper, for the link. Publishers need to wake up to the fact that most of the things authors can afford to do will not work -- especially not in the crowded cyberspace. I'm convinced they make those demans because a) it doesn't cost them anything and may actually sell a few more books, and b) because they can blame failure on the author.
Speaking for purposes of this discussion as an avid reader, on other sites I belong to, writers have done video ads for their novels and I have watched them. First of all, the only reason I knew they were there was because the author included a link. Normally, I wouldn't seek out anything like that. I will say though, that while the ads were, at times, extremely well done and interesting, they did nothing to entice me to purchase the book. Maybe it's just me, but what draws me to a book, in this order, is a) the cover, and b) the little plot summary on the inside or back cover. I will admit I am immediately drawn to books by particular authors, but just because I like a particular author doesn't mean I'll buy everything they write.

Now, the ads I've seen for various novels, I have not purchased any of them because I haven't seen the actual book or read any sample chapters. That's something that can really get me hooked; reading a chapter or two of a novel. That gives you a taste of the writer's style and a little taste of the storyline.

It is very hard though. Where do you make these available? The internet is a BIG place, and if you search by genre or something neutral like that, you'll get a million sites, and no one is going to glance through each one. There has to be marketing in some other form that will reach a large number. Now what that might be is a whole other question.
Right on! I do think a web site is a good thing. At the very least, readers can look up information about authot and agent, what books are available, when the next book will be released, how to contact the author, and -- last but not least -- read a sample chapter.

All of which is available on my web site (www.ijparker.com).
I agree. I'm a reader not a writer. I've only ever seen two book videos - Michael Connelly's 'Overlook' and a funny one on YouTube satirizing an author's phone conversation with his publisher about how the publisher wants to author to do all his own publicity.

What I USE is the first chapter found somewhere online, whether its at Amazon or the author's web page. Doesn't matter to me. I want a sampling else I won't buy.

Finding the author is the problem. The internet is a BIG place. Participating (or more appropriately sifting through the crap) in forums, e-lists, blogs etc is hard and one has to know the people who participate in those places in order to figure out if their tastes match yours. Hence the need for a first chapter someplace like Amazon or an author's web site.
I can't say I've watched a lot of book trailer videos. But the ones I have seemd cheaply made and sparked no compelling interest in the least for me to find the book. But then . . . what if? What if a video could be made that just blows your mind with the possibilities of a good read? Is it possible?

That 'what if' is what's making me want to do a video. I think there is a vast potential out there that hasn't even been remotely approached by any video so far. Sure, maybe I'm wrong. If I am I can live with it.
I'm just not into them. Unless they are extremely funny and/or clever, they are not going to have a far reaching effect. Book trailers may be better suited for self-help or trend books and not fiction. If a writer has a big and loyal fan base, you can do something more interactive, like Laurie King having readers create digital films representing her books. If it's something that you enjoy doing, go for it. Fun is an important incentive. But your expectations, in term of sale results, should be fairly low.

No, my expectations are not very high. When it comes to publishing and selling books. . . I try not to have expectations; just a, 'Let's try it and see what happens' attitude.


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