Video “book trailers” are yet another way to get the word out about your new book. The idea comes from the concept of movie trailers, where audiences get a little teaser or commercial about an upcoming movie.
A book trailer is similar; it’s basically a video advertisement for your book. You can find many different types of trailers online. Some use still images that are put together and given a soundtrack. Others are Flash videos, animations, or even slides.
If you have a trailer, you can put it on video sites like YouTube, your own site, social networking sites, book sites like Amazon.com, and of course blogs. It’s easy to find companies online that create book trailers, but if you don’t have the budget, you can do it yourself.
Creating a trailer doesn’t have to be particularly complicated or expensive. As I’ve pointed out in the past, I’m the only person I know who doesn’t own a video camera who has done book trailers. To assemble their videos, many people use free tools like Microsoft Movie maker, which comes with Windows. In our case, we used still images and put them together using a tool called Camtasia. The bottom line is that you can create a video many different ways, so do a little research online and check out other book trailers first for inspiration.
When it comes to creating your own movies, do be sure to respect copyright. If you use images, make very sure they are completely royalty-free. The same goes for music. Our Vegan Success video uses royalty free music from a musician’s site online. Even though the audio clip I used was free, I also put a credit line and his Web site address in the closing credits of the video.
The key to book trailers is to make them interesting. If you have a fun trailer, people may pass the link on to their friends. Many book trailers online are for fiction books, and are much like movie trailers in that they are designed to give you a feel for the characters. For a non-fiction book, you might consider showing some how-to information from the book, an interview with the author, or a humorous take on the subject matter.
In our case, we experimented with two videos. The trailer for Vegan Success is called “Vegans Go Hunting.” I got all garbed up in my best North Idaho flannel, put on an ugly hat and went into my garden. Armed with pruners, I go after some particularly wily beans. Then my trusty hunting dog (my golden retriever Tika), flushes some particularly large zucchini.
For our book Happy Hound, we uploaded a video of our canine cover model Cami “singing.” Because she’s part Samoyed, she likes to make “woo woo” singing noises. Both videos have gotten great comments on YouTube. I can’t directly attribute sales to them, but they were fun to make and they expose our books to an audience of people who wouldn’t otherwise know about them.