Writers Tricks of the Trade ISSUE 3, VOLUME 7 - Page 24

A NATOMY OF A B OOK T RAILER J ERI W ESTERSON Book trailers are one of those things that everyone thinks they need but don’t necessarily understand what they do. So what do they do? JERI WESTERSON AUTHOR F ALL 2017 Sometimes they sell books. Small numbers of them. But mostly, they’re added value. They can be a great sales tool to get you interviews, spots on a book tour, a guest post on a blog tour like this post, get a little extra attention on social media…but don’t count on them to sell tons of books. And they won’t sell any at all if they aren’t really top drawer. It’s my philosophy that your book trailers should look as close to a movie trailer as possible. And that won’t happen unless you spend some cash. “But I can do one myself,” you say. And we’ve all seen them. A bunch of stock photos like a slide show with a bunch of captions. Nope. That’s not going to garner the interest of anyone. Don’t waste your time or your money on that. No, you need someone who has the know-how to collect stock footage, someone who knows how to edit that along with the stock music into a pleasing tale, and—here’s one of the most important things—make sure it’s no longer than one minute in length. I was lucky enough to know some people. I knew the videographer who was looking to do more story-like videos for his portfolio. I knew the lighting and effects guy—because I’m married to him. He’s a commercial photographer, used to setting up shots in his studio or going on location. The actress and voice over gal is also someone I know, and the demon in the piece…my son. And I was a graphic designer and art director. As a writer who tends to write cinematically, I was also familiar enough with film imagery to be able to put together the storyboard. Now people who do book trailers will likely write the script and create the storyboard for you, but I was getting a steep discount, so I tried to do as much as possible to take the load off Chris, my videographer. So I wrote the script—making sure it read no longer than 60 seconds—and put together this storyboard. I got