Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Book Trailers

Today I'm going to talk about the 2012 RWA National Workshop, Deciphering Book Trailers.

The speaker was Jeannie Ruesch

In addition to being an author, she also owns a design firm called Will Design For Chocolate (which makes me hungry just looking at it!).

I went to this workshop knowing nothing about book trailers. I'd never even watched one!  After the workshop, I really think it's something fun and interesting to do for your book promotion.

It can get expensive, though, so I haven't done it yet, and am not going to spend a bunch of money for a professional to create one for me. I will have to invest time to make one myself, so for now it's on the back burner for me.

Here are some of the book trailers she showed at the workshop:

Death of a Cure (notice not too many details/cryptic)

Jonathan Fields (incredibly powerful)

It's hard to summarize the workshop, since she went through each video, showing what worked and what didn't, but here are some general tips:

•create an emotional response in viewer. Push their buttons. Make them feel.

•set up expectation/anticipation

•You have 10 seconds at most to hook them.

•don't try to squeeze in a whole synopsis! It's not a query letter. You're setting mood, expectations. Trust the reader to fill in the gaps.

•"You have to respect the fact that imaginations are deeply private."--Peter Mendelsund, Knopf book jacket designer

•Don't tell the story! Create an emotional connection, pull them in, make them want to find out what happened. Leave them wanting more.

•Short sentences--none longer than 5 words. A power word in every sentence.

•Use the images. Don't just have an image of kissing to illustrate the word kissing. Don't be so literal. Use an unexpected twist. An example was a video for a suspense book that first showed a woman tied up to convey, duh, a woman held captive. But when the image was changed to images of a dark, scary place/a hand coming out of the darkness/shadows, it was actually more effective than a literal image of kidnapping. Look for that compelling image, not the most obvious one.

A final word, not from the workshop, about all this marketing jazz:

So, have you made a book trailer? Do you want to? Have you ever seen one? If you have seen some book trailers, which ones have you liked/found effective?

Next time, on November 14th, I'll either be talking about Christmas books (if I have mine done!), or non-Kindle publishing outlets.

Until then, happy writing, everyone. :-)

author of the Pajaro Bay romantic mystery series


Deborah Wright said...

Hi Barb! Just wanted to say Thank You again for writing this terrific series of posts on Self-Publishing.

I have to say, I never look at book trailers, though I'm sure there are readers who do. I do wonder about the return on investment, whether you spend the money to hire someone to create one, or whether you invest your own time. Somehow I can't believe book trailers have a significant impact on book sales, but that may just be my own prejudice showing.

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

LOL about the link to the YouTube video!

I love the idea of book trailers! Not necessarily because they are or aren't effective, but because of the fun of putting them together. My graphics geek coming out. :)

However, right now I don't have the knowledge of my software to finish one. So this is also a back-burner project for me--added to the list of projects to do after writing my series is done.

Great suggestions here! And, like Debbie, I so much appreciate this series of blogs you've done on self-publishing. Very helpful info!

Christine Young said...

I have created some trailers don't remember how many. I also don't know if they have had any impact on sales. And they probably could use some improvement in technique. I would never pay anyone to create a trailer. What I should do is go back and tweak them but I did them on a different computer. Sigh...

Don't know how to do this on my new computer.