Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Video Trailers

Do book buyers really discover their next read through a book trailer? Is a book trailer similar to a move trailer that appears as a tease while watching your favorite television show, or while watching a movie premiere at a theatre? As an author who paid to have a video created for my book, Something He Can Feel back in 2008, I was curious as to whether or not it would make sense for me to go that route a second time. I seem to think it would be tough to measure the benefits, though maybe I didn’t quite hit the marketing pavement hard enough.

A July 9, 2010 New York Times article stated that according to a "survey" of 7,561 book buyers, only 0.2% of the book-buying respondents discovered their last book through a video book trailer. I say it isn’t that cut and dry. I’ve recently learned it depends on how that book video, marketing tool, is used.

One success story is a 2008 memoir called Middle Peace by Kelly Corrigan, regarding a cancer patient and caregiving, that was narrated by the author in a video piece. Her publisher's employees all emailed the clip to thirty people each. It ended up going viral. To date, the trailer has had more than 5 million views, and 300k hardcover copies sold.

New York Times bestselling author Mary B. Morrison is about to release her fifteenth book, tying her Soulmates series and her Honey Diaries series together, and releasing Darius Jones on 7/27/10. Not only is she slowly unveiling the book cover, but her publisher, Kensington Books, with their own YouTube Channel featuring their author's book videos, will release five videos for Mary's title, each starring a different female character in Darius Jones' life, including his mother, all answering the question, “Who is the real Darius Jones?” Brilliant.

I suppose as my mother always said, “It's not what you do, but the way you do it!"

So "survey" says, be creative and do all you can to promote your works. I know . . . budgets are a big factor and publishers may or may not support an author's promotion, so I understand that having that backing and/or the finances is major. I still say be creative, as these examples have shown.

We know that as authors we need to promote our works with the same energy - self-published or not. And recently it seems the prices of book video packages have dropped, some even under $100, whereas a while back they ranged from $300 - 500, and much more. I’m not supporting book videos and recommending any particular company, all I’ll say is, whatever you do to market your book, put the tool not only to good use, but to great use.

Do you think book videos work to attract readers? Would you invest in a book trailer?


Farrah Rochon said...

Marissa, I agree that it is more than just the book trailer itself. You need to have the right avenue in which to distribute it. Having your publisher's backing (as in every other type of promo) is key. Just having your book trailer on your website, or MySpace page, or your personal YouTube channel won't get you very far. But in the case of both Corrigan (who's video made me cry buckets), and M. B. Morrison, it is the extra push by the publishing house that help get the trailers in front of the right eyes.

Great post!

Jewel Amethyst said...

Before becoming a published author, I had never seen a book trailor, though I was an avid reader. When I published my book, another author suggested it and I considered it briefly, until I realized the impact on sales wasn't that great.
Still trailors can be a part of a promotion package. You are right, it's not what you do, but how you do it.

Charles Gramlich said...

All I can speak for is me. They don't in any way persuade me to buy a book and they actually usually bias me against the book. I buy books and read them precisely becuase they are not movies and TV. I don't really like the two being combined in that way. It just doesn't work for me.

Phyllis Bourne said...

I bought one for my first book, but it was my first book so I think I bought every promo thing I could.

Hmmm... not sure if I would do it again.

I don't watch book videos (too many of 'em), unless an author comes on a loop and asks. They don't influence my book buying decisions.

Jewel Amethyst said...

I may be wrong, but I think more people buy books by word of mouth promotion (someone read the book and said it was good) than any other method. Personally though, most books I read are recommended by others as good reads, I still read the reviews on Amazon.

Marissa Monteilh said...

Thanks Farrah - I agree, that extra push is major. Originally I just did the website and MySpace, but if I do it again, I will plan ahead of time as far as how to utilize it better. =)

Marissa Monteilh said...

Jewel, Charles and Phyllis - when I see a trailer for a book I've never heard of (which is rare, I don't see a lot) I will still look further to find the synopsis and perhaps scan the book on Amazon to see if I want to read it. When trailers first came out, I thought trailers would explode in popularity but they haven't. Maybe in the case of Middle Peace w/a non-fiction book where the video showed what the writer had gone through, it had a different impact. So many avenues to reach the reader, but yes, good old fashioned word of mouth beats all, Jewel! Thanks =)

Shauna Roberts said...

I almost never watch book trailers, for exactly the same reason Charles cites.

However, I have intended to make a book trailer for Like Mayflies in a Stream (which came out in October . . . I let other marketing things take precedence). With the applications that came on my new Mac and my background in magazine production, I have everything I need to make a professional-looking video. My only expenses for the video have been for instruction books for the applications and for a music clip.

If I had to pay someone to make one, I probably would not do one.

My book is a little unusual in that I can precisely target people likely to be interested in it with keywords such as "Gilgamesh," "Sumer," and "Mesopotamia." Contemporary romance novels have such broad appeal that keywords are probably pretty useless unless a reader is specifically searching for that title or that author.

Liane Spicer said...

Marissa, I've never bought a book because of a trailer, but I have to admit the success stories you cite are impressive. Anything that raises the visibility of the book is all to the good.