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
- 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.
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.