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Your thoughts on book trailers.

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My sister, a professional video creator/editor, and I have just worked on a friend's MG book trailer. It was a fun experience and we are thinking of adding this to the services we offer (we are both freelancers). I would love your feedback about:

1) Would you hire someone to do a book trailer for you to use on social media, your website, etc.?
2) How much would you expect to pay/be willing to pay for this type of service?

And of course would love to hear anything else you would like to share. Thank you!
#1 - August 24, 2016, 01:17 PM

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Hi Christine. I think trailers can be amazing...and it seems the ones I remember (A Study in Charlotte/The School for Good&Evil) probably cost a boatload to produce. So, my question would be: what quality at what cost. Also--where would the video be marketed so the readers/buyers would see it? Would this be the best return on the dollar for a debut writer or a writer who might not have a lot of $ for publicity? I think it would have to be either high quality or highly original to generate the amount of positive appeal and notice. **An excellent question, by the way. This is not to dissuade you--just thoughts for conversation.  :goodluck  :goodpost Hopefully you'll get a lot of ...  :wc
#2 - August 24, 2016, 02:17 PM

Thank you, LadySlipper! These are great points and questions, especially since we are still just working out the idea.

I should have mentioned -- the quality should be high, at least on the production value side as my sister is a professional editor who has done trailers for major movie studios. (We certainly don't expect that these would cost anywhere near what a movie trailer costs, of course, but she definitely has the expertise and the resume to back it up.)

The second part -- what to do with the trailer once it is made -- is more complicated. My own area of expertise is managing fundraising, marketing, and media for artists and creative types. However I do not think it would make sense for most writers to hire me for that service. At first I think the target client would be someone who would just want the trailer and perhaps a marketing roll-out plan, but who would execute that plan on their own. I would LOVE to one day have a business where I helped writers market their books but I have to figure out what that cost structure would be like. I help artists access major grants and other funding, but these are artists (mostly performing artists and playwrights) who are already established and are able to make an investment into their careers. Like I said, I do create marketing plans. Writers' skill levels and comfort using social media vary greatly but the target individual would have some experience and certainly an interest in marketing their books this way.

Thanks for those links -- I will take a look. We researched many, many before creating our trailer and I think ours is pretty awesome if I do say so myself! :) I'll share it when the author gives me the go ahead.
#3 - August 24, 2016, 02:49 PM
« Last Edit: August 24, 2016, 03:07 PM by Christine B. »

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You and your sister sound like the ideal pair to do something like this. Would love to follow your progress!
#4 - August 24, 2016, 05:14 PM

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This is an exciting venture! I think authors aren't always sure about what to do about book trailers. They see them and want one, but a couple questions to authors who have them quickly cools their interest as the trailers have few views and don't lead to sales.

I realized very quickly that the most effective and cheapest Facebook ads are centered on videos, and so I make them solely for this purpose.

Book trailers have come a long way. They used to be static images and text, but now they are cut like movie trailers. It can be done with stock footage, but they do have to be good. I build mine for Facebook, where they are often silent unless clicked on, so they are built with that in mind.

I sometimes make my own trailers with stock for about $150 for rights to clips. I have also spent over $1000 for my bestselling series, an investment that, coupled with abut $10,000 in Facebook ads, has created a direct profit for me of over $40k this year so far. It can be done, but only if done well.

The gold standard for book trailers is currently Book Candy studios. I hired them for one of mine. My rule of thumb is that if I'm going to spend $10k or more on advertising it, I might as well spend $1k to have it made. If I'm just going to do a $500 boost on the book for a week, then I do it myself for a couple hundred and move on.

I am about to do a huge push with video for my MG series when the third book of the trilogy releases in February 2017. I haven't put it together yet, but I shot footage of three kids doing various scenes from the book, and I have a script. I really don't know how MG and Facebook are going to pair up. It's an experiment. I may lose my shirt! I'm willing to try.

I'll be watching to see how you do! CHEERING LOUDLY!
#5 - August 24, 2016, 05:29 PM
Author of iPad apps, MG books, and women's fiction

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Not too long after my last book came out I discussed this subject with my agent. She's the digital manager of the agency she works with so is very on top of all this type of thing. To make a long story short, she explained that when book trailers were new and a novelty they were sometimes quite an effective tool. But the same thing that has happened with blogs has happened with trailers--the market is so saturated it's become far more difficult to make any of them stand out. That's why, generally speaking, unless your book is the lead title or in some other way huge, publishers are not willing to invest in trailers because they don't pay for the most part. My agent encouraged me to spend what marketing/publicity money I had available on things that are far more reliable in the long run--such as a professional website. Just something to think about.
#6 - August 24, 2016, 06:38 PM
A Smidgen of Sky (Harcourt 2012)
A Sliver of Sun (book #2)
 A Million Ways Home (Scholastic 2014)
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CW is that book trailers do not sell books. Unless... they happen to go viral. But this is the lottery-ticket sort of gamble. So publishers have generally not budgeted for marketing books with professional trailers.
But they are fun! I'm a fan, and have watched many. My daughter made one for one of my books, and it was done without spending a dollar. It also has not gone viral... (not that it was made to stand a chance for that.)

In other words, as a bonafide business-- the jury is still out. But it doesn't mean your sister is on the wrong track. Everything seems impossible until someone does it spectacularly, and succeeds in the marketplace in a spectacular fashion. Then it becomes a must.
I wish you a lot of success, because I like book trailers. (And I love what they are promoting! ;) )
#7 - August 24, 2016, 08:13 PM
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing Aug 2012
THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR, Hometown520 July 2011

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I will be the contrarian on trailers not selling books. Mind you, a very benevolent and really, limited, kind of contrarian because once I saw the trailer--I went out and bought the book.  :reading **This is followed, however, by positive reviews and seeing the book promoted elsewhere, which is a tip about marketing. Perhaps trailers should be considered one in an arsenal of marketing tools. Is that enough to start a business? On that, I'd be cautious, but not rule it out completely if there were other services provided.
#8 - August 25, 2016, 05:37 AM

Jenn Bertman
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I would love your feedback about:

1) Would you hire someone to do a book trailer for you to use on social media, your website, etc.?
2) How much would you expect to pay/be willing to pay for this type of service?

And of course would love to hear anything else you would like to share. Thank you!

I've been thinking about hiring someone to make a book trailer for Book Scavenger. I have an idea for what the trailer/script would be, but I don't have the technical know-how. I don't think my idea is super complicated, and it might be something I could teach myself how to do. But I have a heap of deadlines and a 4-year-old so finding extra time to teach myself something new is hard to come by.

My hesitation in following through with hiring someone is 1) it takes time to even get an idea off the ground and research people who could make a video like I'm visualizing and 2) I'm not sure how much it would cost or if 3) the cost would ultimately be worth it.

The reason why I've thought about making a book trailer is that I do a lot of school visits and Skypes, plus I've been contacted by many teachers and librarians who are using my book with their class or have it on their Battle of the Books roster. I'd love to have a good trailer that they could use when they book talk Book Scavenger or that I could show at the beginning of a school visit. I also have the sequel coming out next spring, and a third book in the series after that, so a trailer for the first book seems like it could get a lot of use, even if it's spread out over time. I have no idea what a fair price for a book trailer would be, and it's hard to quantify the value I'm imagining from having one because I don't necessarily see it as translating to sales, but being more about connecting with readers.
#9 - August 25, 2016, 05:53 PM
BOOK SCAVENGER, Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt 
THE UNBREAKABLE CODE, April 2017
UNLOCK THE ROCK, 2018
jenniferchamblissbertman.com

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Christine, I don't have anything useful to add but my son likes to make movies and we've talked about making one for when I sell my novel. It would just be for fun. I've never bought a book based on a book trailer; however, I do buy books if I've read a glowing review from a trusted source (Fuse8).

But I think you and your sister are super-talented to offer this as a service. I hope this business takes off. Best of luck to you both! V.

Oh, one of the best book trailers I ever saw was for Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver. She did the music, the paper cut outs and animation all by herself. Werewolves aren't my cup of tea but the book trailer was great.
#10 - August 25, 2016, 07:48 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
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Jennifer, it seems like you'd be an ideal candidate for a book trailer--both the content and the cover of your book!  I do hope things work out for everyone.

twitter: @mbowords
#11 - August 26, 2016, 05:06 AM
« Last Edit: August 26, 2016, 05:08 AM by LadySlipper »


My hesitation in following through with hiring someone is 1) it takes time to even get an idea off the ground and research people who could make a video like I'm visualizing and 2) I'm not sure how much it would cost or if 3) the cost would ultimately be worth it.


That's really great feedback. We have talked about a huge range of possibilities and pricing. A fully produced video, like many of the ones Book Candy makes, might involve actual filming, sets, hiring of actors, etc., so that would be costly. But we could do much lower cost work if the author (a) can provide a script outline, and (b) can provide images/graphics. So that is interesting for us to explore.

Aw, thanks Vijaya!

And thanks to everyone for the responses; these have been very informative.
#12 - August 26, 2016, 03:03 PM

TexasGirl - great info and wow, your success is inspirational. You clearly are talented both as a writer and a marketer which is a pretty awesome combo.

#13 - August 26, 2016, 03:05 PM

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Christine, Book Candy is looking for some new people right now if you wanted to work for them for a while and learn the ropes. PM me if you want me to forward you the email they sent out about it. They have an interesting approach to video concepts -- not sure that I love it, but it is effective.

I'm making another video right now. Sooo time consuming but it's a nice break from banging out words. I've spent four hours JUST on the AVIs for the titles. I buy After Effects templates for them on Video Hive. They are tricky to use since I only know enough AE to get in trouble, but it's fun and high-quality titles make all the difference in the professionalism of the project (one thing that I feel Book Candy does not do well.)
#14 - August 27, 2016, 08:43 AM
Author of iPad apps, MG books, and women's fiction

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I'm not in the market right now, but part of the OP question should be addressed as the discussion goes on.

 As a general info thread, it would be useful to have an idea of the $$ involved from professional trailer producers. If this is something authors are footing the bill for, (most certainly for the self-published) and choosing not to self-produce, I think the OP specifically asked about price range.
#15 - August 27, 2016, 10:36 AM
THE VOICE OF THUNDER, WiDo Publishing Aug 2012
THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR, Hometown520 July 2011

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Christine, if you don't already, it would be a natural to coincide with offering web design services.
#16 - August 27, 2016, 02:53 PM

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One way to build a portfolio quickly is to offer to do book trailers on http://Fiverr.com.
#17 - September 21, 2016, 09:51 AM

One way to build a portfolio quickly is to offer to do book trailers on http://Fiverr.com.

Thanks, Alan!
#18 - September 27, 2016, 03:05 PM


Dionna

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I love book trailers and think every book needs one. I would guess cost is depending on the project. I've seen some YA book trailers that look like movies clips, with actors, and music...And I've seen some PB trailers that are much shorter and simpler. If I had the skill set I would so make book trailers. I wanted my uber talented kids to try, about 7 years ago, but they thought I was crazy. It's a great biz idea. Many happy wishes with it!
#20 - September 27, 2016, 06:18 PM

Thank you, Dionna!

And thank you to everyone who posted their thoughts and ideas. My sister has finished her first book trailer and we are in the process of launching formally. I will post the trailer soon (having issues with the link as we transition to a new site).
#21 - October 30, 2016, 08:44 PM

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 :wow :yourock
#22 - October 30, 2016, 10:46 PM

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My local library produces a show called, "One Book at a Time " for cable access television. I read my picture book on TV where I use the link to promote my book. If interested, please go to my facebook page, Playgroup Time, to view it.
#23 - November 20, 2016, 06:56 AM

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