Monday, February 25, 2013

Making a Book Trailer Part 1: Finding Examples

Before I was a children's book author, I was paid to make videos. This experience came in handy as I make book trailers for my own books.

I believe book trailers are useful marketing tools. There is debate about this, some authors don't think book trailers sell books. Well, since I've seen a lot of AWFUL book trailers, so I agree that weak book trailers don't sell books. But coming from 16 years of working in the field of marketing for this company, I see their usefulness in providing content for your blog and author pages on GoodReads and Amazon (see what I'm talking about here and here) and on your Facebook page (I will blog about how to set those up in later posts). Book trailers pique interest in your titles, and they optimize your name and book titles in search engines (making it easier for people to find you and your books).

But your book trailer has to be watchable!!

You can see terrible book trailers at Book Trailers for Readers. Granted, this site is readers making book trailers, not authors or publishers. But really, I found them painful to watch. And there are a lot of self-made book trailers that follow the same patter as Book Trailers for Readers: they use clip art and bad music. I will post later about various sources of free and cheap music for videos (there are some great sources out there), but for now--avoid clip art. Please. And if you must use it, then make sure it all matches in style. I cringe when I see a video that uses cartoonish clip art mashed with photographs. It doesn't visually fit. And it's a video, so visual is vital.

If you're trying to find some book trailer examples to imitate, you can find some good ones at SchoolTube and Slimekids. You can also look for publisher sites. I saw a fun one for The Cloak Society at Harperkids, although it's more complicated than most of us can do on our own. These book trailer examples are focused on children's books, because that's my area of focus, but you can Google "book trailers" and search with your category or publisher-type and find examples in your category too.

I recognize that I am lucky. I have an illustrator who can create backgrounds and animate my beginning and ending sequences (thank you Carol Stevens!). However, watch a bunch of book trailers and you will see that a lot can be done with text, a cover, and maybe some voice over.

This is my first book trailer, for The Snake Who Wanted To Be A Horse:

This is the book trailer for The Elephant Who Wanted To Be A Bee, (our next book in the WantsToBe series that published TODAY for Kindle):

Remember, if you can't make a book trailer visually appealing, then you should consider not making a book trailer at all. But you can do it!

Tell me how your book trailer experience goes, and feel free to link to your book trailer in the comments below.

Look for future posts on tips to making a good book trailer.

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