Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Trailers- Marketing genius or embarrassingly bad?

Okay, so there’s a debate raging about this topic and two very firm camps of opinion. On the one hand, we have people who love book trailers and think they’re the best marketing tool ever. And on the other hand, there are equally as many people who hate them and think they’re essentially embarrassing for the author in question, and they do more harm than good.

I guess there are merits to both arguments. I, personally, have always loved book trailers. I think they’re an ingenious idea, and they really do help market a book. I have to say, my absolute favorite book trailer has got to the one for Holly Black’s Black Heart. It blew me away. The motion graphics look slick, and the music works incredibly well. The only problem is, I’m willing to bet that trailer cost Holly about $5k to make. This is an educated guess, given what I was quoted by various companies that I queried when I was in the market for my own trailer.

A 30 second trailer, with all the bells and whistles, cool music, magic and sparkle, will set you back around that mark. Unless I was grossly over quoted, of course, in which case good on you, Holly, for getting it done cheaper!

I was horrified when I started doing some research for my own trailer. Even the lower end companies were quoting $1250, and they were pumping out the questionable clips that give fuel to the people entrenched in the ‘I Hate Book Trailers, They’re Crap’ camp. And if I was going to have a book trailer, I wanted it to be awesome! I wanted it to make people want to buy my book, not cringe and hide their eyes.

So I decided drastic measures were called for. I realized that in order to get a semi-decent trailer, which didn’t look entirely like it had been cut and pasted together by a five-year-old monkey, sans opposable thumbs, I was going to have to learn to do it myself. This wasn’t exactly a foreign concept to me, given that I’d done the exact same thing when I decided to self-publish, but this was a lot harder to accomplish. I had no idea how to cut a video and make it look like I wasn’t a five-year-old monkey, sans opposable thumbs. I hope I, at least, accomplished that. Take a look!

Sufficed to say, it was a steep learning curve. But once I got the hang of it, IT WAS SERIOUS FUN. And addictive, too. Now I want to make videos out of everything. I don’t want to do regular interviews anymore; I want to do video interviews. It saves on typing time at the end of the day, and I get to play with my new hobby.

I released my first book, Sovereign Hope, ten days ago, and I’m already making the trailer for the sequel, because it’s that much fun. I would wholeheartedly encourage everyone out there releasing books off their own back to invest some of their precious time into making a trailer for their work. But learn how to make it look and sound good first! And if you don’t have the time or the inclination, then come see me! I’ll happily make people trailers for their work, and I’d never charge the earth because it’s important to support other indie authors!

What’s everyone else's favorite book trailer?


  1. I love book trailers and could never hate on them. However, that doesn't stop a ton of book trailers being excruciatingly bad.

    My favourite book trailers off the top of my head? 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter', 'The Unwanteds', 'Leviathan', 'The Bro Code', 'The Playbook', 'Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters'.

    If I review a book that has a book trailer, I like to include it...unless the trailer in question is horrific.

  2. You did a great job on your trailer - What program did you use?

  3. I dig them. I only have 1 book trailer right now, but I'm going to make them for my other books soon. It's at the top of my priority list. I enjoyed yours. Great job!

  4. Wonderful post, Frankie! Regretfully, I'm not talented enough to do my own trailers like you (great job!), so I worked with skilled friends on my first three trailers and an up-and-coming production company, Flat-line Films (http://flatline-films.com/) on the trailers for DEFY and SHIFT. Finding vendors who are looking to make a name for themselves is a great way to get quality work at prices you can afford...and you can market their work for them, too!