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How to Create a Book Trailer

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Video trailers stimulate interest

Video trailers stimulate interest in your book

Book trailers are an important part of your marketing for your book and services. Video marketing is extremely popular because we are drawn to and learn from pictures, especially when they convey emotion along with giving information and/or inspiration.

What is a book trailer?

A book trailer is similar to the previews of coming attractions played  in the movie theater before the feature starts. It should generate interest in your book, get people to go to your website or favorite book retailer and ultimately buy your book. The best thing that can happen is to have your video be shared around the Internet by viewers who find it awesome. That’s called “going viral.”

While you of course want to make your trailer as great as possible, don’t try to force awesomeness. There is no known formula to guarantee that your video will “go viral.” Instead, follow some simple steps to make your book trailer as compelling, informative or intriguing as possible.

1. Do a little research before you start

Visit YouTube to check out book trailers done by others to see what you like and don’t like. For a clever book trailer check out http://youtu.be/uYMmh_H3dJA

2. Keep it simple Sweetie

You are not Stephen Speilberg, so don’t think about including Hollywood effects.  Modern consumers want authenticity. When you present your book or service with passion it will resonate. Think of the videos that have gone viral. They were usually very amateurish, but also fun, thus motivating viewers to share them.

3. Gather your key elements

  • 1. Decide the key concepts or features from your book  and plan a script. You may choose to have script on the screen, record narration or appear on camera yourself.
  • Select some photos that will convey your key points. There are a number of free sites on the Internet, but for my taste they take too long to go through to find what I want, so I use a paid photo site or shoot my own.  iStockphoto.com is a popular site, but I find the photos from www.canstockphoto.com more affordable. Buy the smallest size since it’s adequate for your video and costs less.
  • Select the background music if you plan to use music. Resist the urge to steal music. Bounce over to one of the sites that sells music affordably or gives permission to use it at no cost. By the way, royalty-free doesn’t mean there is no fee.  You will purchase the music, but you won’t have to pay every time it’s played. I like http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/

3. Decide on your key tools

  •  Use the movie-making tools that came with your computer or check out other low-to-no cost video creators at www.youtube.com/create and Jing by TechSmith (the folks who make Camtasia.)
  • You can make attractive videos using other low-to-no cost services such as animoto or shooting with your mini camcorder, such as Flip or Kodak zi8. I’ve made a few as PowerPoint presentations and then converted to video before posting on YouTube.

4. Promote but don’t annoy

  • Even though you are promoting your book or service, avoid the hard sell and give people just a short (under 2 mins) compelling taste of what you offer and a reason to visit your site for more.
  • Your URL should be quietly prominent at the bottom of the video and be the first thing people see in the description under your video. You can see some of the ones I’ve made at http://floraonyoutube.com

5. Store your videos in a safe place

  • Create your video and keep a copy of your video outside of YouTube before posting it there.  YouTube can (and has been known to) pull down videos at will without warning. After all, it’s their site and you didn’t pay to be there.
  •  You will want to post your videos on your own website, and should also check out sites other than YouTube such as Vimeo.
  • As you get more serious, you’ll want to store your video trailers and training products at Amazon S3, a simple storage system that stores them in the cloud (meaning not taking up space on your computer) and are safely yours to access from any place at any time. There is a fee for Amazon S3, but it’s based on the amount of space you use, and you are only billed for space you use–no monthly or other fees–which for short videos will only be pennies.

For more details on how to or even whether or not to create book trailers, grab  Darcy Pattison’s book  The Book Trailer Manual available as a pdf, Kindle or Nook.


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