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Trainer Network


A Tour of Book Trailers

- 03/31/11  

Trainer Network | MAI
April-June 2011
In This Issue:
< Book Trailers: Innovative online marketing
< How to Create Your Own Book Trailer 
< Pray: Training evangelical leaders in Europe
< Post Your Video to Vimeo
< LittWorld 2012: Save the dates!
Hi,  Friend!
When I viewed my first book trailer last month, initially I couldn't tell if it was advertising a movie or a book. Fascinated, I realized that's one sign of a well-made video ad for a book.
In this issue, we invite you to hop on board for a tour of book trailers including pitstops for tools to make your own, thanks to the research of our editorial intern Raquel Corbin.
And don't forget to save the dates for LittWorld 2012!
-Dawn Herzog Jewell, editor

Book Trailers: Innovative online marketing  
A new phenomenon has emerged in book marketing: the book trailer. Much like a movie preview, a book trailer is a short, attention-grabbing video that is posted online to pique interest in an upcoming book. It takes advantage of the ever-growing audience for online videos and the rising percentage of Internet users. (Global users have increased worldwide by over 400 percent in the last decade.) In an increasingly digital world, book trailers present a creative method for authors to harness online marketing potential.

Because book trailers are still a recent trend (the term "book trailer" was copyrighted in 2002), publishers and writers continue to explore and debate the possibilities of this marketing technique. Michael Hyatt, chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, finds book trailers useful for both presenting projects to the internal publishing team and sparking interest in readers in a non-traditional way. He blogged, "Publishers are increasingly using book trailers to raise awareness for their books. We are certainly using them here at Thomas Nelson. For some projects, they are very, very effective."

Book trailers attract visually-oriented readers, and producers therefore customize styles based on the target audience. No one has yet discovered the elements of an ideal book trailer. Some trailers are created in a documentary style, while others are designed cinematically with rapidly played images and suspenseful music.

To gain worthwhile exposure, marketers must also consider the value of different media outlets for a book trailer. Companies like CSO Productions serve authors by creating book trailers and hosting them on their website. (Christian publishing versions such as Christian Book Trailers also exist.) Writers who cannot afford professional production, however, may choose to create a book trailer themselves (see how-to article) and can maximize distribution via personal web pages, Facebook and YouTube.

YouTube remains the most significant outlet for book trailers as the world's second-largest online search engine after Google. It features channels devoted entirely to book trailers that draw intentional viewers seeking new reads. These include channels maintained by Christian publishers such as Thomas Nelson, Moody Publishers and Zondervan.

As critics of book trailers point out, it is unlikely that a trailer posted on a video-sharing site like YouTube will "go viral" and gain millions of views. Book trailers are not a magic key to instant marketing success. However, a trailer can still boost a marketing campaign if managed well. It enhances a writer’s online identity and forges more connections with the reader. It conveys to the online world, "I have an important story to share and I will use innovative means to bring it to you."

View these book trailers by MAI friends: 
-Jeanette Windle’s Freedom’s Stand
-Stephen Lawhead’s Skin Map

Read more about book trailers:
-Michael Hyatt’s blog
-Darcy Pattison interview
-Publishing Perspectives’ survey of book trailers

Raquel Corbin is an editorial intern for MAI and a senior at Wheaton College. 

How to Create Your Own Book Trailer
So you’ve decided that a book trailer is the perfect marketing tool for your book. What now? Hiring a professional company to produce your trailer can cost thousands of dollars! Many writers and small publishers cannot afford that expense. Fortunately, you may create your own dynamic book trailer on your computer, for free, using simple movie-creation software such as Windows Movie Maker.

Choose a theme
Before you begin, planning is essential. Book trailers cover multiple genres, from documentary style, to exciting movie preview, to animated cartoons and puppets. The options are nearly endless, so, to determine which style works best for your book, do some research. Go to YouTube and search "book trailers" to watch examples and discover themes that appeal most to you.
Remember, if you lack confidence in your design skills, a cinematic style is risky. Viewers expect more from movie-style trailers, and poor quality may do more damage to your promotional efforts than no trailer at all. So if you are a beginner, keep it simple. Embrace the "YouTube" aesthetic and focus on quirky creativity rather than flashy brilliance.

Research your audience’s tastes
YouTube offers an excellent marketing tool called Trends Dashboard, where you can discover which styles appeal to your target audience. By selecting different location, age and gender demographics, you can learn what types of YouTube videos are popular for teenage girls in Mexico or middle-aged men in France.
Create a storyboard
Also vital to planning your video is creating a storyboard to map the progression of your trailer.  Keep it short—30 to 90 seconds—and be sure to cover all the relevant book details, such as title, author, release date, publisher, etc. More than that, make it attention-grabbing and entertaining. You want the viewer to be intrigued by your video, to pass it on to friends and, most of all, to buy the book! So be creative.

Gather images and text
The simplest form of book trailer combines still images, like photos, with text and music. For the amateur trailer producer, this style is your safest option. You can find images and audio files online, but be careful of copyrights. These websites feature free images and audio, and photo and video editing tools:
Images, music and video clips:
Sound effects, not music:
Produce your video
Windows Movie Maker is easy to use. Simply insert your image and audio files into a new movie project, and experiment with video effects and transitions for added pizzazz. Play your video often during production to ensure the timing flows smoothly and artistically. Ask an editor, writer or tech-savvy friend to review the trailer to gain honest feedback.
Reach the market
Wait! Your work isn't finished when you complete your trailer. The most important component of a book trailer's success is attaining a large market reach. Post your trailer on those sites that draw the most viewers, starting with YouTube. Create your own YouTube channel—it increases credibility and enhances your online presence. Readers respond to a personal connection.

Post your trailer on your website, Facebook and Twitter. Consider Christian book trailer websites, which will draw intentional viewers, though they charge a hosting fee. The bottom line is: get your book trailer where people will see it.

By Raquel Corbin, MAI intern (right)
Image above: Windows Movie Maker

Pray: Training
 Evangelical  Leaders in Europe  
MAI Trainer Tony Wales will lead a workshop to equip evangelical leaders in writing for publication at the European Leadership Forum, May 21 to 26 in Eger, Hungary.  
Please pray:
- the workshop helps participants focus their vision in writing for publication
 - writers form new friendships that aid accountability for writing beyond the Forum
- seeds are planted that grow into articles and books that expand the Kingdom in Europe

Post Your Video to Vimeo  
Writers and publishers seeking an online video outlet normally turn to YouTube to post their book trailers and author interviews. However, a competing video-sharing community called Vimeo is quickly gaining popularity, especially among more serious filmmakers. Many favor Vimeo over YouTube for the higher visual quality of its videos, greater ease of posting and the sense of genuine community among its members.

Vimeo focuses on fostering artistic and intellectual exchange. The community guidelines create a respectful environment, and content restrictions elevate the quality. Vimeo offers groups for likeminded members to share media and features a "Projects" page encouraging collaboration on video projects. Members can also utilize Vimeo’s new video school, which offers tutorials and advice to video producers of varying skill levels.

Though Vimeo prohibits the posting of commercial videos, book trailers do appear on the site. A writer or publisher must simply be careful not to present the book with an overt sales slant and be aware that the video might be removed.

After weighing the pros and cons, you may want to utilize both Vimeo and YouTube. While Vimeo operates on a higher quality level, YouTube has lower restrictions and still dominates the market in number of viewers.

By Raquel Corbin, MAI intern

LittWorld 2012:
Save the dates!
MAI’s unique international publishing conference, LittWorld 2012, will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, October 28 to November 2, 2012. LittWorld will also feature a special weekend "pre-conference," just for Africa’s French-language publishers and writers.
Barine Kirimi, chair of the local host committee, welcomes Christian publishing colleagues worldwide. "Jambo! You will find empowerment and encouragement as you fellowship with a global community, united with one purpose. You can't afford to miss LittWorld 2012 in Kenya. Mark the date now. Karibu!" 

Africa map courtesy Didier Millotte

Photo above courtesy Great Destinations Kenya