There once was a time when book marketing was mostly a print and maybe occasionally a radio affair. Then came television, and the publishing world absorbed the change. Later came the internet, and the publishing world was faced with a new dilemma: how to make use of the new platform and opportunities provided by the internet to build successful marketing campaigns? Always one step ahead of the curve, self-publishing authors began to look for websites like Youtube and Vimeo as possible platforms to connect with new readers and share their book trailers. And they have been wildly successful!

A book trailer is, in short, a kind of movie trailer for your book. Because videos tap into two fundamentally important human senses–both sight and hearing–at the same time, they have the power to both introduce new readers to your book and inspire them to purchase it.

A good book trailer presents images related to the book’s theme and content in an entertaining way, and is set to music that conjures up the appropriate atmosphere. A mystery novel might be set to a brooding tapestry of minor-key notes, while a romance novel might take advantage of a light-hearted upbeat tempo to clue readers into the nature of its story. Just as moviegoers might find themselves on the edge of their seats at the theater, your potential readers will wait with bated breath for the chance to pick up a copy of your book. It’s all about creating that “buzz” around your book’s release.

YouTube Screenshot

Crafting a book trailer that connects all of the dots in order to inspire this kind of reaction is, of course, quite a challenge. Video editing demands a certain professional creative skill set, complete with a deft hand at image placement, talent with text arrangement, and a nuanced way with transitioning from one frame to the next. And the timing must be precise: the entire trailer must take place over approximately sixty seconds in order to communicate all that it needs to and command a viewer’s attention.

The value of a well-made book trailer is, however, unquestionable. Short movies are the most portable of marketing tools, and are easily shared across all of the major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and elsewhere. They can be embedded into blog posts or the link distributed by email. And chances are, nine out of every ten video links you’re going to click in the coming year will lead to something on YouTube–a website which generates its own enormous slice of direct internet traffic and has proven a reliable source of many “viral” marketing campaigns already. But you never know what the next video application could be–even Amazon is getting into the video game these days.

As a self-publishing author, you’re already strategically placed to take advantage of video–but creating a book trailer? That might be outside of your comfort zone or even fully beyond your abilities. There are, of course, hybrid publishing companies that offer these services as part of a package, or you can commission someone to assist you. If you opt to pay for assistance, your music selection, image identification, and text integration will all be taken care of for you, and a draft of your book video trailer delivered to you. As I recommended last week, check the fine print: as author, you should retain the right to review the draft and suggest changes before final modifications are made. You should also own any and all rights to the final book video trailer outright and therefore use it throughout your marketing efforts–by uploading it to Yahoo! Video, MySpace, Daily Motion, Twitter, Metacafe, and other popular video hosting websites.

Book marketing is all about human connection, and your book video trailer is no different. A book trailer puts all of video’s greatest assets–its immediacy, its ability to convey a lot of information succinctly, and its visceral impact–at your command. Movies have the power to move people, and a book trailer has the power to capture your reader’s attention and then translate that attention into engagement on social media as well as drive sales. Your book video trailer is a backstage pass into who you are as a writer, and an all-access ticket to the theme park of your book’s greater universe!

You are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

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