Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why Most Book Trailers Suck and How To Improve Yours

So what’s all the fuss over book trailers? Well, here’s a clue. The people who put together many of these marketing atrocities have managed to generate plenty of publicity, purporting the importance of book trailers, in order to sell them to you at very high prices.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, have you ever heard an author praising his Book Trailer from here to eternity because it keeps generating sale after sale? Of course not, and you never will because measuring the success of these trailers is nearly impossible to begin with.

Nobody really knows when a sale has been made as a result of a prospective customer viewing a particular book trailer. Although, yours truly will admit that after viewing the book trailer for Stephen King’s DUMA KEY, I was curious enough and inspired enough to take a look at his book on Amazon and considered buying it. And I’m not even a KING fan. What does that tell you?

Simply this: Either I'm gullible -- or the Duma Key book trailer, and others like it, must have a lasting effect on its fans, and furthermore, it must have led many fans who saw it, to buy the book. Could be a little of both.

So, in other words, YES, book trailers can work and they do work, but only if done properly.

The Real Purpose of a Book Trailer:

1) Your Book Trailer must generate enough curiosity and generate excitement (emotion) that in-turn will lead a prospective buyer to search for more information about your book. And that stimulus will hopefully lead to a sale.

That’s it folks. Don’t look for any other reason under the sun. Yes, fanatics of certain authors may very well go out and buy a copy of a book they just saw presented in a book trailer, BUT, those cases are few and far between. Those kind of authors have been around for some time and have developed a loyal following. Many of their fans await, breathless, and salivating like Pavlovian dogs, for their favorite author's next tome to hit the bookshelves. Most of us don’t have that luxury.

Again: The purpose of your book trailer is not to make a direct sale, but instead, to trigger an emotional response, a hot button, that can lead to a sale. Big difference. Here’s what you need to know:

1) Your BT must arouse curiosity.
You’ve heard this word over and over and that’s simply because without curiosity, you have nothing going for you. You can’t tell your whole story in 30 seconds, or 3 minutes, so don’t try it. It doesn’t work and it’s counterproductive. Find a hook, a gimmick, a phrase, that will push all the hot buttons, or at least one of them.

2) Your BT must excite, move, and inspire, the prospective buyer to take further action. (To buy your book)

3) Your BT must be produced in a way that hits all the right notes. Its graphics, message, music, etc., must all mesh and synchronize as a unit, with one purpose. (To stimulate and evoke a response, and direct someone where to buy your book.)

4) Uh…that’s it. Want more?

You already knew this? Well then, try and apply it and get your Trailer on YouTube and dozens of other sites and start building some credibility at the very least. Remember, in yesterday's post I mentioned the "C" Factor. The Credibility Factor. It's something you have to work on and build upon over the years.

Debut authors have disadvantages. We're unknown, and unproven to "get the job done". To get the masses to clamor and jump, and salivate for our books. (Learn to write first.) That's why publishers have double standards. New authors must pay their dues before they're accepted into the wide, wonderful world of publishing.

But there are filters in place, called Lit Agents, and they're the gatekeepers in the land of publishing. And they're sick and tired of so many lame queries. (I don't query any more.) That's why most queries rarely work, because agents are not even reading them. They know they're usually going to waste their time, and they're right. So how do you get passed the middle man?

Learn your craft and learn it well.

And that folks, is accomplished by doing your homework, polishing your material and finding the right agent that will take an interest in your idea, or someone who can refer you to an agent they already know or have done business with.

So where does your kick-ass book trailer fit into all this? (Cuckoo clock chime right here.)

It's part of your marketing and promotions package, of course. Just like your press release, and your synopsis, and your website and your blog. Plus a zillion other things. And while Book Trailers are not a must at any point in any authors career, they certainly can't hurt either. (Unless they really suck, like most of them do, and therefore the subject of this post.)

Tomorrow we'll discuss the Duma Key Trailer and why it works so well. Plus, we'll look at another book trailer that almost succeeds but falls a little short, and why. Don't miss this post.

Click on the Title Hyperlink to see the Duma Key book trailer.

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