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On Book Trailers, DIY Discovery and Birthing a Baby (and a Book)

By Isobella Jade

My first child will be born this September, but this year I already have birthed a new book and with it a new book trailer that will help to welcome it into the world.

Isobella Jade

I was running like an athlete in training, twirling in a prom gown and being zipped up while in a body bag, and I was 20 weeks pregnant when I shot the book trailer for Careful, the first book of my new YA novel series, Careful, Quiet, Invisible, due July 26, 2012. I had to be careful not to show that I was showing while being in character but there was no way I wasn’t going to produce my book trailer.

With a demographic that ranges from teens and young adults, parents and beyond, a book trailer allows me to introduce the heart of the book, persona of the main characters and the voice of the book in less than a minute, it literally sets the tone. Translating the words on the page into a mini-montage to appeal across generations wasn’t a question; it’s a must-do marketing tool and I’ll sacrifice other ways to spend marketing dollars to have the trailer.

Of course the synopsis of the book or an excerpt of the book on your website can engage your reader’s too, and a book trailer can feel like just an “extra” thing, but there’s something largely attractive and eye-catching about a storytelling visual that can make us already feel close the characters and story before we read the book, and these days it’s all about connecting, right?

We are already online, no matter the type of reader you are writing your book for, we are a very visual society that likes to learn, share and communicate through online and social media outlets, whether you’re thirteen and obsessed with your new iPhone or iPad or a parent preparing to send your child off to college with the right computer, interacting with online video content has been in your life.

Consider how your following or readership already finds you and connects with you and video content will probably come up. I love the flowing movements of connectivity, how discovery can start through one outlet and lead you to another.  Your book trailer is found on Youtube and now they are visiting your website, and soon you have a new Facebook friend or Twitter follower who can’t wait until your book comes out.

Being discovered is what also inspires sales and growth. By using all your social media outlets to feature your book trailer even those who might not be enthusiastic readers and visit BN.com or Amazon or the iBookstore often could find your trailer from their searches on YouTube and Google because the tag words in their search happen to relate to your book trailer and book. Creating engagement is about making the book’s presence available.

A self-marketer needs a great self-marketing tool, your book trailer is your one-minute pitch, mention it when pitching your book to booksellers and your PR and marketing campaign prospects. The trailer could be appealing to a busy newspaper reporter or editor at a magazine or blogger who doesn’t have time to read the book summary and excerpt in the PDF you’ve prepared, but can spare thirty-seconds to one minute to watch your video.

Same with readers, I bet if you put the trailer on your book’s Amazon page they will watch it.

Gaining a readership and interest in your book is limitless; couple your book trailer with sharing an excerpt of your book on your website, hosting a podcast reading or video reading, launching giveaways and contests to intrigue your readership. Yes, that’s all good to do; creating connectivity with your future readers through many platforms is a big part of marketing and selling a book now.

Whether your book involves drama, adventure, how-to elements or a memoir, focus on your own original way to create a book trailer that allows the reader to feel like they are a part of an experience.

Giving your existing readership something that involves creativity and innovation isn’t just for the big publishing houses anymore or already established famous authors, it’s for all. Quite simply your book trailer could be a photo scrapbook that’s symbolic to the characters in the book and the images reflect the characters highs and lows, you could use music that fits the vibe, a voiceover or content taken from the book that shares snippets of emotion, or if you’re a camera-happy author why not talk about the inspiration for the book, go for it, if your book involves adventure bring the adventure and be in action with the scenario’s found in your book, or cast actors and create a vignette which reveals a pivotal scene from the book similar to a preview for an upcoming TV series segment.

You’ll be wearing the art director hat, keeping the creative juice pouring, authors these days wear so many hats, one more won’t kill them, plus it’s fun to think like a director and create a beautiful promo piece for the book you put so much effort and care into.

For me, it’s not bonus material; a book trailer is a prime pathway to my readers and it creates the intrigue I need and I use it as a promotional tool.

So you might not get thousands of downloads the first week or maybe in the end you’ll get more downloads than sales, but really that’s the wrong way to look at it. You’re making a presence, you’re a part of a captivating video marketing medium and you’re not relying on one source to spread the word, you are putting the word out there, sending it viral and all they’ve got to do is click “play.”

Isobella Jade’s book Careful goes on sale July 26, 2012.

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