social media

Book Trailers – What Do You Think?

This post first appeared on my previous blog in August, 2013.   (Updated: May 18, 2016)

Bing Images: Monday Movie Madness @ North Channel 750 x 937 · jpeg · hcpl.net

Bing Images:
Monday Movie Madness @ North Channel
750 x 937 · jpeg · hcpl.net

As a writer of young adult fiction, I was interested in having a book trailer.  I have teen-aged children so I see daily how much they are on their computers – whether on social media sites or watching videos/listening to music from sites like YouTube.  I did the research – looking at the pros and cons of book trailers and found it to be inconclusive.  Some people raved about it – others not so much.   I realize that books aren’t movies but movie trailers entice me – offering tantalizing glimpses at the product being sold.  The same goes for deodorant or cleaning products.  We see the commercial and BAM! – we decide we need to buy the advertised product.   We are visual people and a book trailer is nothing more than a commercial meant to entice potential buyers.

I spent hours looking for production companies and realized that one of the companies I most liked was out of my price range.   My first choice was a company out of Atlanta, GA called Book Candy Studios.  Wow!  Their trailers are awesome!  But awesome comes with a price tag of about $1,000.00.  As a self published author, I don’t have access to a marketing department or unlimited funds.  I have to decide where I’m going to get the most bang for my buck. If I had an extra grand in my budget, I’d have chosen them.   Their link:  Book Candy Studios   UPDATE:  Book Candy Studios now offers trailer packages starting at $599.00.   For those authors interested in a more budget friendly option that still offers the excitement and feel of a cinematic trailer, the Book Candy Nibble is worth checking out.

My next choice was a company called Ghostwriter Extraordinaire. They offer packages that range from $99.00 to $199.00 which I thought was very reasonable.  In fact this was the company that I initially decided to use. You can check out their videos at:  Ghostwriter Extraordinaire

If your budget permits, Red 14 Films offers cinematic quality trailers and even if you can’t afford to purchase one, they are worth watching.

There were companies that offered videos at a cost somewhere between the above mentioned companies.  There were also companies that offered trailers for very nominal fees.

During my search, I found an article about making your own book trailer.  I wish I could remember the blog it was featured on, but try as I might, I can’t find it.  I have searched the web looking for the particular post with no luck.  The article suggested using Microsoft PowerPoint or Microsoft Movie Maker.  It also suggested using an online video maker like Animoto.

I decided to give it a try.  At the worst, I would have lost the time I spent trying to make the trailer.  At best, I’d be happy with the product and would have saved a little money.  I choose to use Animoto.  After playing around on their site, I decided to purchase one of their upgraded options.  I’m glad I did.   It took a little time to come up with my “script” because the video maker limits the number of characters on any given frame.  Then there were the pictures.  I knew how I wanted the video to “feel.”  Fortunately, my sister owns a great camera and was willing to help me get the photos I wanted.  If you’re not much of a photographer, you can find images at iStock or Shutterstock.  Animoto has a good selection of background music and I felt like the piece I selected helped set the tone for the video.

So this is the book trailer I created using Animoto’s video maker.  Take a look – it may be something you’d like to try:

Since making this book trailer, I have made three others.  I’m not at all convinced that they’ve helped with my sales but I have enjoyed creating them.

Post Updated: February 17, 2015.

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Finding the Perfect Social Media Fit

Social media is the ultimate equalizer.While I’m not a social media guru, I’ve tried to educate myself.  I’ve listened to podcasts and read e-books/blog posts.  I’ve found that there’s a lot of competing voices, offering multiple strategies.  It’s been a challenge trying to sift through the various suggestions.

Below is a summary of my social media experiences:

Twitter – I’ve learned that Twitter is great as long as you aren’t spamming the Twittersphere with loads of self promotion.  I think this advice is accurate.  I catch myself scrolling past those writers who are continually hawking their books.  On the other hand, when I see an author who shares quality content, I’m all about liking and retweeting.  I can’t afford to purchase everyone’s books, but I try to be supportive and share the love.

Facebook –  There has been a lot of uproar over the change in Facebook algorithms.  This change has meant that our posts are less likely to be seen.  Some writers have decided it’s not worth their time/effort anymore.  They are choosing to focus on Instagram or their personal website, etc.   As for me – what can I say?  I don’t love my Facebook Author Page.  This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I tend to be relatively quiet on my personal page.   BUT – I can see my daily interactions, likes and numbers reached and I am convinced that of all the different social media sites I’ve used, my Facebook Author Page has led to more sales.  (Whether this changes over the next year is to be still to be seen.)

Blogging – After attending a writers conference last year, I came away convinced that I had made a huge mistake by using blogger.  If I was serious about my writing, then I needed to look like a pro and having .blogspot following my name didn’t look professional.  Never-mind, that I had a .com website – one that displayed my blog feed.   I jumped ship – diving headfirst into WordPress.  I let my website go, transferring the .com over to my WordPress blog. However, I have since realized that when I jumped, I left the majority of my followers on the good ship Blogger.  It has been a challenge, building up an audience again.  To be honest, I’m not sure making the switch was worth it.

Pinterest – Not everyone is convinced that a writer needs a pinterest board.  I certainly wasn’t.  However, I decided to give it a try.  With fingers crossed, I set up my page.  I don’t have a lot of followers but I’ve created boards that feature my books, trailers, etc.  I’ve also added boards featuring images of interesting faces and exotic places – things that might inspire a new story.  What I like about Pinterest is this – people who check out my pinterest page should come away from it feeling like they know a little more about me than those following me on other sites.

Summary –  While using social media is necessary to building our author platform, I’ve come to the realization that there isn’t a one-stop-fits-all plan out there.  What works for one author might not work for another.   No matter what options we choose, consistency is key.   It takes time to get our name out there and to build a true following.

What about you?  Are you still searching for the right fit?  Or have you found something that works?