Book trailers are popping up all over the internet, promoting both fiction and nonfiction books. In most cases these book trailers are similar to movie trailers – sliced together footage of pictures and film clips, often with a voiceover.
Movie trailers probably work best when they include footage of a film star that we all want to see in a movie. We may not even care what the movie is about because the film looks like good entertainment and all that is required of us is to sit in a dark theater and watch the film.
Yet, when using book trailers to motivate people to buy books, we need to consider what we are asking these people to do. We are asking them to spend more money than the price of a movie ticket and work at reading the book because, yes, it is work to read a book even if you love reading.
And on top of that these book trailers don’t have any film stars to entice us to the movie theater. There’s usually not even the added bonus of the familiarity of a sequel.
Then should book authors abandon making book trailers? Should they focus their book marketing on other venues and leave the trailers to the film industry?
Hold on! Isn’t there another way that uploading videos to YouTube and other free online video sites can be utilized to promote books?
Here’s an alternative approach:
Book authors can make short videos (three minutes maximum) of topics in their nonfiction books and related subjects in their fiction books.
Let’s imagine that Valerie has written the mystery “Jonas in Mexico City.” In her mystery she features a great deal of the ancient and modern culture of that sprawling metropolis. What if she makes a short video on preparing a Mexican dish that her protagonist eats in the book?
The video should be entertaining and informative, and it should feature Valerie herself talking about the recipe. At the end of her description of the recipe, she adds that the protagonist in her book “Jonas in Mexico City” enjoys this dish very much. Doesn’t this sound like a more interesting video that watching pictures and film clips of Mexico City while a voiceover talks about the plot of “Jonas in Mexico City”?
Now let’s imagine Melvin has written the nonfiction book “Cacti of the American Southwest.” Instead of a video describing what the book is about, what if Melvin is filmed in his cacti garden sharing fascinating tidbits about these plants. And at the end, of course, he mentions that, if you want to learn more, get a copy of his book “Cacti of the American Southwest.”
These are only two examples of the kinds of “book trailers” that can get your creative juices flowing. If you’re a writer, you should be able to come up with a series of videos that entertain, inform and pitch your book.
Leave the clips and voiceovers to movie trailers. You use the visual medium to create a personal bond with potential readers of your book while providing them with information of value. Then upload your newest masterpieces to the internet and who knows? Maybe your innovative book trailers will go viral.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) is the co-founder of the social media marketing company www.MillerMosaicPowerMarketing.com.