When I announced my intention to have a book trailer made, my critique group had a mini-debate. Another author declared, "Most people think they aren't worth the money." The truth is no one really knows what marketing tools pay off, but I decided to gamble on a book trailer. I'm very glad I did. Here's how the process worked:
I found a trailer I loved. When I watched the video for Joyce Hostetter's BLUE, the music and images hooked me. I knew the person who designed that trailer could deliver the mood I was going for. It turns out the trailer was designed by Joyce's daughter, Wendy. I knew her prices were reasonable by consulting with several authors about what they had paid. I didn't look any further.
To get started, I sent Wendy a PDF file of my book. She read it and asked some questions. A couple of months later, Wendy sent me three different versions to see what I liked/disliked about them. At first we were going to start with the book's opening paragraph, but one scene Wendy recorded completely changed my mind. It begins, "Jessie, what do you think heaven's like?" I asked Wendy if we could lose the opening monologue and build the trailer around that scene. She agreed.
The music was the last piece of the trailer to be finalized. We tried a couple of different selections, but then Wendy's dad suggested dulcimer music. That was a brilliant idea! Wendy scrapped the previous versions and found the perfect music. It has a haunting quality that blends with Jessie's answers about heaven. You can watch the trailer for THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL here:
Wendy uploaded the video to YouTube, TeacherTube, and Vimeo. I have since linked it to my GoodReads author's page and my website.
Another way I've used the video is as a teaser. I've sent lots of emails announcing my book to various friends and acquaintances. I almost always lead with the trailer. It summarizes the book in a visual way and leaves a more lasting impression than an ordinary email.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and experiences with book trailers. Do you have a favorite? Do you think they're a worthwhile marketing tool? Why or why not?