Monday, July 12, 2010

Back-to-Business Monday: PICTURE, PICTURE, BOOK TRAILER

Okay.  I've almost picked my head shot.  It's down to two: the serious and the smiley.  Oh, that patient photographer...and apologies for the delay in the big reveal.  Soon, I promise.

Meanwhile, I've been having some interesting conversations with editor and writer friends about book trailers.  While I think I'm still at the more-questions-than-answers stage in my exploration of this marketing device, I'm going to summarize below a few things I've learned and hope that this is the beginning of an interesting conversation.

1. What is the best length for a book trailer?  Less than a minute is best but 2 to 2-1/2 minutes can work.

2. What are the best uses for a book trailer and/or how do you decide to make a book trailer?  It's good to know where you plan to use the trailer before deciding whether and how to produce it.  Discuss this with your publicist and agent.  Do you have a website, blog and other distribution channels?  If you actively promote appearances for yourself (or use a booking service or online appearance service), make sure to discuss ways to use a trailer to promote your author visits.  Book trailers can be expensive (upwards of $1,000) so think before you film!

3. What should a book trailer look like?  I've explored many publisher websites, YouTube, etc., and concluded that there are three mail book trailer styles:
  • STILL IMAGES overlaid with promotional TEXT and background MUSIC - this is quite common and, in my opinion, very effective as a sort of movie trailer for a book (e.g., "buy your ticket copy")
  • ACTION FOOTAGE (sometimes combined with STILL IMAGES) with VOICE-OVER which is often an actor speaking as the main character of the novel - here we're still in the "movie trailer" area
  • AUTHOR TALK including discussion of inspiration for book, etc., mixed with some of the elements above - this moves more into the educational/library marketing arena where the author is trying to engage the viewer/reader and would probably work well to promote the author for appearances but, in my opinion, isn't as edgy and book-sale driven as the first two styles.
Publisher websites seem to be the best places to find high-quality book trailers, though Trailer Spy has some good ones.  I've also noticed that a number of my favorite trailers (esp. the shorter, text-over-images kind) have been produced by Circle of Seven Productions though I know that there are many resources for this stuff.  Squidoo has a great basic explanation and resource list.

I hope you'll share your thoughts about book trailers--especially some recommendations of good ones!

UPDATING THE POST HERE with another great book trailer production company website courtesy of Kimberley Griffiths Little (thanks!): Nua Music.

7 comments:

JEM said...

Oh I looooooooooove book trailers! They're so much fun, and they really help set the mood for the story. I saw the Hush, Hush trailer and it was EXCELLENT!

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Ooh, don't forget Nua Music who did my awesomely cool book trailer! :-) www.nuamusicdesign.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k4VaODgUuA

Southern hospitality, small biz, perfectionists who will do exactly what you want and can write original music, do sound design, voice-overs, still images, and live action footage. Just call and chat with Cindy-Rae Jones.
Email: cindyrae@nuamusicdesign.com
Or call 623-748-1399

SWK said...

Thanks, Kimberly. Updating the post to add Nua Music! Stasia

Jennifer Wolf said...

I have done three book trailers, all live action with actor voice over. You can see them at my youtube site. I would be thrilled to help you come up with something. THE RING is my favorite one, but the one for SING ME TO SLEEP got the most traffice (via the author's website). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuxSVfNlMqI
I have a blog post about a trailer that is over-the-top, good, but way more than most authors need or could possibly afford. http://wolftalez.blogspot.com/2010/03/trailer-gone-wild.html

Jennifer Wolf said...

I have done three book trailers, all live action. I have seen some great slide show types too. I would be thrilled to help you come up with something. You can see my trailers at my youtube site. THE RING is my favorite, but SING ME TO SLEEP got the most traffic, (via the author's website). I also have a blog post about an over-the-top, good, but maybe too much, trailer. (Also one that your average author couldn't afford.) http://wolftalez.blogspot.com/2010/03/trailer-gone-wild.html

MollyMom103 said...

Interesting stuff about a book trailers. I've been looking at trailers lately. I think shorter is better, but not too short. I also think that spending a little money is aways a good idea. If the thing looks cheesy, I don't want to read the book. I have not actually read a book because of trailer, but I have thought about reading a couple of books because of trailers. Well, that is me thinking...

SWK said...

Thanks for your thoughts, JEM, Molly & Jennifer! The book trailer topic is so interesting! Hoping to do some more research and post more on this topic soon. - Stasia