3 September 2016

Book Trailer Anyone?

Writing a novel is easy. Marketing that novel is akin to climbing the Game of Thrones' Ice Wall using only a couple of toothpicks. 

Okay, so I exaggerate: writing a good novel is damned difficult, but the rest about marketing it still applies.

Late last year, when I was coming out of creative hibernation, I ran a post on using images via Twitter. That I felt I could manage. Now I’m thinking Book Trailers.

Trailers are part of every movie’s marketing plan, and they are ubiquitous on television when promoting drama. I’ve just watched the trailer for series 2 of the BBC’s historical Poldark. Catch it HERE, because it encapsulates all the necessary ingredients:

It’s short. The Poldark trailer is 60 seconds long, but it is live video, out of the financial reach of most indie authors. When dealing in only text and still images give it a bit of leeway, but no longer than 90 seconds in length. Then cut it by 15 seconds.

Keep each text snippet down to a snippet. Viewers will be taking in tone and atmosphere from the still images (and the accompanying music) as well as from the text, and they need time to collate all three into a reaction. Aim for a tease, not an explanation. The initial Poldark voice-over used four snippets of 3 / 4 / 4 / 6 words – notice the lift to a crescendo, in length, meaning and to a flurry of emotionally-charged images. The voice-overs that follow are far longer, but it takes less time to listen than it does to read, so that luxury isn’t available to a text & images trailer.

Still images need to be in keeping with the book’s content. If the cover has a multi-image scope it may well do on its own via close-ups and panning. But keep the speed down; images that flicker past the eye detract from the focus, and the text.

Music. Ever watched part of a movie without its background soundtrack? Unbelievably bland. When choosing music make sure the tone fits the genre, but as with the Poldark trailer, it doesn’t have to match the period or its genre – just its tone.

I’ll talk about the steps of putting one together next time, but for now watch these for inspiration, not produced by the authors, but by their small press publisher, the power behind FantastiCon:

Young Adult – The Boy In Winter’s Grasp by John Scotcher HERE

SF – The Methuselah Strain by Stuart Aken HERE

Comic short story collection – On Shallowed Ground by Walt Pilcher HERE

If you own a good one, or have watched one that spoke to you, please add a link in the Comments section. I could do with all the help I can get!

AMENDED: See how I fared in Post 2 and Post 3 Result!

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