Using Video to Market your Book
Branding, target audience, SEO, theme, these are all advertising terms. Why would you need to know that unless you are selling Coke or cars? Because as an author you are selling something more important than soda…you’re selling yourself! Now more than ever it is important to know what you want your writing career to be about.
Let us say that you have just self-published your first novel, who is going to be in charge of marketing and promotions – you are. What if you landed a deal with a major publishing house, who will be in charge of marketing then? YOU ARE. Do you follow me so far? Your best chance of survival in a sea of writers all chomping at the bit is to be your own best force. The way to become that force to be reckoned with is to have a solid advertising campaign in place. To be on the top of your game and get your work seen by the public (which is why we write...right?) you need to do the footwork, market, and sell yourself as well as your writing.
In an effort to do said task to the best of my ability I've scoured several thousands of tomes on marketing and promoting for writers. But time and time again I'm left with little substance, nothing of real workable value, and that's because more often than not these self-help books are written for those promoting non-fiction.
Where does the poor fiction writer turn? We can use only some of the basic principles noted for the non-fiction group. So in the interest of fairness I thought I'd devote my blog to marketing specifically for fiction writers. There are so many levels to such a campaign but today I’ll start by touching on one in particular:
Up first - The Book Trailer - Is it really worth it?
There's a new trend in the book business, I'm sure you've seen it everywhere by now, and that is a 2-3 minute "commercial style" pitch of the novels overall theme and story. They are made to look like movie trailers. My question is why wasn't this thought of sooner?
Human beings by nature are very visual creatures. Add to that the compounding busy schedules and trying to capture their attention with a simple written hook sometimes falls flat. Now suppose you take that same well-written hook add some eye catching pictures, some grabbing music, and you've got a little attention-getter.
There are rules though. A quick slap and paste won't cut it. Your trailer needs to embody your work and encapsulate it to no more than 2-3 minutes...again people are in a hurry, anything longer than that and you risk losing their attention.
Develop a tagline (you should already have this in your marketing forteit anyhow). Flush out your plot and characters and boil it down to about 3-4 sentences. Make absolutely certain the images and music match your books theme and message. And on a side note if you're making the trailer yourself you need to be very aware of copyright laws when it comes to using images and music. There are plenty of websites out there like iStock that let you use photos for a small fee. Better safe than sorry. I've always been a fan of video editing. Putting the right song to the right clip of music is a form of artistic creation and has rewarded me in the past. For my trailer to Demon Hunter I focused on theme AND pacing. I wanted to develop the same urgency that unfolded in the story and display it visually throughout the trailer. This tactic led me to a Most Artistic award from the judges at New Covey Trailer Awards.
If you can shoot live action - great! So much the better. There are websites devoted to making that happen for you. But more often than not the simple, straight forward approach of imagery works just fine. Overall, you want the trailer and your novel’s theme to match up so you can begin to secure your target audience.
Here is my award winning video: