Friday, April 12, 2013

MIXED MEDIA: BOOK TRAILERS AND THE WRITTEN WORD

So, I have indeed been negligent with my own blog. December 2012 came with a blog, the new New Year waved by and Spring came sneaking in without a single new blog. Thank goodness I never set a schedule for blogging.....LOL. I wanted to start on a new blog with the topic of Book Trailers.

For as long as there have been feature films, there have been movie trailers in advance to advertise the film.....to tease the viewer with the most exciting collage of the best and most titillating scenes from the movie. Movie trailers are meant to entice the movie goer into coming to see the feature film when it is released. They are mostly short, quick, and to the point. No excess fat. They obviously work because no film is ever released without a movie trailer in advance. Movie trailers are a staple of movie making.

But what does film have to do with books? The written word. Film is a different beast than the written word....than a book. It's a totally different experience. The visual, candy for the eyes of films, as opposed to the written, words for the brain. But is there really that much difference or just a difference in how we are getting the information to the one place it all goes to anyway--our brain?

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Book trailers, or basically movie trailers for books, have been around for some time but considered a relatively new tool in the author's toolkit. But do book trailers work? If you pose that question to any authors group, you are bound to get an equal divide between "Yes" and "No." Being a self-pubbed author, I have the luxury of tracking my sales online at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble daily (hourly for those obsessed with such things). This gives me the ability to somewhat gauge how any promotion tool I use worked or didn't. If I get sales after doing a Guest Blog, an interview or posting a book trailer, I consider it a safe bet that the promotion worked. Those who are contracted authors, unfortunately, aren't so lucky. You don't know your sales so you have no way to know what is working and what isn't on a daily or even monthly basis.

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For me, book trailers work. As a matter of fact, they work better than some other tried and true methods. Plus, they are an awful lot of fun to do if you want to do them yourself. You can use Windows Movie Maker to create a simple but effective book trailer. Or, if you have the budget, get one made with all the bells and whistles and special effects. Some detractors point that a book is not a film and book trailers are not true to the written word. I wonder how that is. Don't we use a visual medium, the book cover, to sell and promote our books? The visual is very much a part of the written word. Our words create "visual worlds." The book trailer is merely eye-candy promoting our written words. There is no sin in embracing book trailers to sell books. I would go so far as to say that if your book trailer did not sell even one book, then perhaps the book trailer wasn't produced for maximum effect. Okay, so what is maximum effect? Don't make your book trailer over one minute with excessive text. Today's attention span is very limited. Don't tell your whole story in the book trailer. Use evocative images moving quickly. Include succinct blurbs and text that tease. Make that potential reader want to know more about the book and buy it.

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A well put together book trailer can sell books. It can. Don't dismiss book trailers. Try your hand at producing one. Check other book trailers out there and see what is possible. I would love to hear comments form authors and readers on book trailers. Do they work for you? Why and why not?


I've included several of my own book trailers. I wanted to include one of my Brenda Strange Supernatural Mysteries book trailer, but it has been lost in a computer crash. Some are done by me and others by a more seasoned professional. None are overly slick but simple for anyone to create.

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