THE BOOK TRAILER
I talked previously of buying a video editor and using my digital camera and my computer to produce a book trailer for Teddy’s War. It was a lot of fun putting one together, but I couldn’t share it because of having used music off the TV to imitate the video’s eventual soundtrack.
I continued to mess around with my original effort and then, in a flash of inspiration, I made another video featuring me and some WWII stuff from my dad’s trunk. I used the attic of a friend, with her son working the camera, and produced five or six minutes of raw footage of me opening my dad’s trunk and taking stuff out. Putting various scenes together, I whittled my first attempt at a new trailer down to three and a half minutes and found it considerably more interesting than my first effort.
It needed to be shorter, so I learned how to delete, rearrange, and transition between frames, got it down to less than two minutes, and was appropriately proud.
I showed it to others, asked for comments, and learned that I had made a video that didn’t relate much to the book. My brother suggested that I use photos instead the words and phrases that I had used to heighten the drama, and work for a better book connection.
Following his lead and using the National Archives (photos are free for downloading), I deleted the words and phrases, added World War II photographs, wrote a couple of book-relevant sentences to appear at the beginning of the video, and then purchased a membership in an online business that provides free music tracks and sound effects.
Putting all of these together produced something that seems surprisingly good, lasts two minutes, and has much more context related to the book. I did several iterations and am now ready to show you what I produced.
If you will place your pointer over the URL below, hold down the CTRL button and left-click your mouse, I hope that you’ll see the latest version of my book trailer for Teddy’s War. If you’re using a MAC, things may be different.
I created the book trailer in preparation for having Teddy’s War accepted by the Beastly Books bookstore in Santa Fe. I had given them a copy of the book and expected that the managers of the bookstore would read it and then judge whether it was acceptable or not. If accepted, I would then submit a book trailer and other marketing information.
I clearly misunderstood what they said. I have since learned that the bookstore was not expecting a two-minute book trailer, but an hour-long video featuring an interview with me talking about my background, my writing, my books, plus talking specifically about Teddy’s War, followed by several minutes of me reading selected passages. No book trailer was involved and how I so severely misunderstood is still a puzzle.
They also expected me to demonstrate that I had been advertising my book on social media – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Well, I doubt if mentioning the book on my blog, website, and Facebook meets their idea of advertising. Since the book wasn’t available yet on Amazon, I hadn’t even really stressed that people should run out and buy it. I guess people could pre-order, but that seemed a poor solution at the time.
Anyway, to now meet their review criteria involves a lot of work for a book that I think has an almost zero probability of being accepted in the first place.
I had a talk with myself and decided that Teddy’s War may be my best shot at Greatness and was probably worth the effort to pursue things a little farther. Even if I didn’t make it into the bookstore, surely I would learn stuff that would be valuable in the future. Besides that, I was really curious to see what happened.
Recognizing my inadequacies in Social Media Marketing and the strong likelihood that I would stink at it (I think there’s an attitude problem), I hired a professional marketer to handle the social media advertising aspects, while I worked on shooting and editing the hour-long video.
For $550 (he offers a package), the marketer will advertise Teddy’s War through each of the four platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for four weeks, starting the week before the release of the book (December 1). I am very interested in how this works, what the different ads look like, and if the analytics data show any correlation to the sales of the book. If I don’t get a return on my investment, I won’t do it again.
During the same period, I will be letting people know through Facebook that the book is now for sale. I’ll use my book trailer as a base to work from, and I hope that the book looks like a good Christmas present.
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Don Willerton has been a reader all his life and yearns to write words like the authors he has read. He's working hard at it and invites others to share their experiences.