The Dreaded Book Trailer

I enjoy watching a good movie trailer. It helps me make a decision as to whether I should spend money on the full feature.  Book trailers are a different story. I don’t know anyone who heads to YouTube first before buying a book.

So are they even necessary? Yes in the case they can serve as an appetizer for an upcoming release. I’ve watched maybe a hundred book trailers and have come up with two conclusions. 1. The good ones are few and far between. 2. I’m going to need one to promote my book.

As I begin this process the tools for making one are easy to come by (free ones like iMovie for Mac or Movie Maker for Windows or enlist the help of your neighborhood 12-year-old tech nerd). But how will I make my video stand out? Easy, just follow my own set of rules for making a great video book trailer.

  1. Most book trailers suffer with one or two tired or plain looking backgrounds. Vary the images. Your audience lives in a visual world (Just watch any commercial on TV and see the images fly by). Pull out the most intriguing visual aspects of your story and make a picture for each. I have some of my own pictures, but I also can go to places like iStockPhoto to legally purchase from their massive database of photos.
  2. Add text sparingly to let the images provide the storyline. Place a few words in strategic spots to keep the viewer thinking.
  3. Trailers often look like last century’s slide show. Video is easy to do. Take some and add it in to the mix of images.
  4. Trailers need to be more than the text from the back cover. Tell a mini story and include the problem faced by your protagonist. Leave the viewer hanging with anticipation.
  5. Get some music other than your own piano solo. There are many professional music companies with databases of 1-2 minute selections created specifically for commercials and film. It may cost you maybe $40 to obtain, but the effect it will bring just may win over many potential readers.
  6. Before posting your masterpiece, show it to some test audiences. Ask for critical feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Now it’s time to put my list to the test. I am beginning to work on my video this month and will post it for all to see… but only after covering every one of my self-imposed rules. I can do this.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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