This column is a personal case study. Everyone’s experience is different, so this article should be read as sharing of personal experience only.
Book Trailers are fun. They are fun to make, fun to watch and a fun tool to add to your marketing toolkit. But whether or not they are effective in generating sales is still up for debate.
Personally, I think that any marketing technique that an author can try without taking too much of their writing time or that is too costly to be beneficial is a good thing to try. But I don’t believe they result in huge sales. In my experience, I have not seen an increase in sales numbers because of them. But I still make them because I think of them as an add-on bonus for readers and a part of my author platform.
There are many different kinds of trailers-some more effective than others. There is the still shot version, which is simply a series of still images set in rotation and to stock music. These are easy to make using programs such as Animoto, where the author simply uploads the images in the order they want and the program offers slideshow formats to choose from.
An example of such trailer is below-the first one I made for my Brookhollow series, book 1-THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE.
A step up from the still slideshow is the video clip slideshow. Video clips can be downloaded from stock image sites and used the same way as the stills.
An example from my MMA Sports Romance Series-BEYOND THE CAGE: BREAKING HER RULES.
And then there are the professionally made trailers, where the trailer is shot like an actual movie, with actors, backgrounds and sets, etc.
All of these are fun, great tools to help you promote, but depending on your sales, one option may make more sense over the others based on cost. The first still slideshow trailer above cost me about $50.00 to make. That price includes the image download costs and the use of Animoto to create the trailer. The second video clip slideshow cost about $250.00. Video clips are more expensive and I upgraded my Animoto membership to have more slideshow options to choose from. The third was made by a production company and in my own quotes from various companies, they cost upwards of a $1000.00.
Therefore, if you aren’t expecting to hit huge sales numbers, investing in the third or even second type of trailer might not be in the budget or worth the expense.
If you decide to make one, the next step is to promote it. Where to upload it so that people will see it? Start with your own author website, driving traffic there for a few days to increase traffic to your site. Getting potential readers to your site is always the priority. There, they can search your site for your latest and upcoming releases, and purchase your books, following the buy links provided. The next place is your social media platforms-Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc…and then of course YouTube.
Making the trailer:
Step 1: Create an account with a stock image site such as Shuttershock, Deposit Photos, etc…Buy credits or a monthly download plan.
Step 2: In the search box, type in what you are looking for. Example-MMA fighters, a couple kissing, etc..
Step 3: Select your desired images, go to cart and download them.
Step 4: Save the images in a designated folder on your desktop.
Step 5: Create an account on Animoto or other trailer making program. Choose either one of the free to use templates/slideshow options or upgrade for better selection.
Step 6: Hit create trailer.
Step 7: Upload your images and place them in the order you want them to appear. You can click on the tabs to put words on the images.
Step 8: Choose your song. Try to find one that fits the tone/feel of the book and the trailer.
Step 9: Choose your pacing-how long each still will remain on the screen before changing. Try to time it nicely with the music.
Step 10: Hit produce video and wait for the video to upload. Then download the finished product using the file version suited for the intended use.
Editing can be done at anytime and a new video can be produced.
To summarize-Book Trailers are a lot of fun, but they can be draining on your time. I’ve spent hours looking for the right images, choosing the right song, etc…So if you decide to make one, designate some marketing/promotion time into your day-preferably after you’ve reached your word count goal or do it on a day when you take a writing break. Make it your reward.
If you choose to hire a company and invest money into the project, just be prepared to promote a lot to see a return on your investment.