Ballads of Book Trailers, Part 1

Book trailers are all the rage lately, and given our highly visual culture, there are worse things you can do to put one out there.  If you don’t know what a book trailer is, I suspect you have a lot of research to do about marketing yourself period.  It’s a movie trailer.  For books.

Flash is probably your best bet for putting together a book trailer (it’s what I’m using), but really any media editor that lets you import sound and pictures to a timeline is fine.  (Adobe Aftereffects and Windows Media would be my second and third recommendations.)  If any and all of this stuff is over your head, good news: you can hire an artist to put your book trailer together if you can’t.  But for the most part, these programs are pretty accessible and intuitive for learning yourself; book trailers aren’t particularly complicated things.  If you’re making a major investment in writing, you might want to make an investment in a marketing skill as well.

So, what to do?

1. Do your research. Watch a whole bunch of book trailers.  Like books, there are a lot of bad ones out there.  But you need to gauge what’s bad and good in order to get an idea of what you want to do (and don’t want.)

For example: good book trailer:

Baaaaaaaaaad book trailer:

Really bad.

And please note that the live-action element has nothing to do with the effectiveness of a book trailer.  You have to hit your marks of hooking the audience, making them care, and creating mood, whether its with actors, or just pictures and dialogue.  (All of which we’ll get into later.)

2.  Write it down. It all starts here.  What do you want your book trailer to be like?  I would recommend that you don’t start with stuff like “In an untamed land, Hero A must do this thing … Enter a world of Adventure!”  Think outside the box.  The Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter trailer puts us directly into a scene from the book.  (Graceling, on the other hand, is pretty expository.)  A snippet of dialogue, a character conflict, or situation is much better to depict than rattling off your story’s pitch line and so on.  You’ve already done your work for that in the appropriate areas.  Pitch lines are meant for agents and literary-inclined; your book trailer is a chance to grab the attention of the rest.  You’re strictly in the idea stage at this point, so anything goes.  Try out a few ideas.  Come on, it’s your chance to imagine your book as a movie!

Advertisements

About coyoteclockwork

I am 29 and living on the outskirts of the North Austin, TX area. I'm an illustrator and a writer of YA fantasy. I'm also an avid video gamer and have a lot of background in good-old tabletop RPG, when I'm not editing manuscripts for myself or part of my writing group at the Austin SCBWI.
This entry was posted in book trailer, ebook, Efforts, how to, Marketing, Tips, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ballads of Book Trailers, Part 1

  1. Stormy says:

    Oh…god, that Graceling one was bad. I had no inclination to pick the book up, now I have even less.

    My favourite book trailer that I’ve come across is the one for Fallen (admittedly, a book I’ve never read) – (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um8473tJCMs) – it doesn’t use any live-action elements, and mainly relies on the visuals from the cover (already a big selling point – I’ve known people who’ve bought it just for that), and a light-dark-Evanescence-type song fits the intended audience perfectly. It pitches the mood and the teaser very well in ~30 seconds.

  2. That was a good trailer. Thanks for linking to it; another example for folks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s