Please welcome back American Title V finalist Marie-Claude Bourque! She's going to share some of the marketing expertise she's acquired during the competition. Take it away, M-C!
Cyber-Networking: Work Your Book Trailer.
It is no secret that a big part of my networking for the American Title V contest has been done using social networks. They say to use your best skills when networking and it happens that computers is what I am good at. And I like socializing online. Which bring me to one aspect of cyber-networking: the book trailer.
Now I am not an expert, but my book trailer has helped me a lot. When I get readers of non-romance saying after viewing the trailer “wow, I want to vote for that, is it out yet, I want to read it” then I know that I have done a good job. At almost 1,500 hits on YouTube for an unpublished author with a non-existent book, I think, not bad. So here is what I learned on the American Title trenches.
What Is a Good Trailer?
First you need a good trailer. I made mine myself and I won’t claim it’s wonderful. I won’t teach you here how to make a trailer but there are some things I noticed by looking at lots of trailers, good and bad:
Try not to make it cheesy looking. I have seen trailers from very famous authors with B-actors and to me they just look cheesy.
If you have lower quality images or images that don’t fit well together, make your trailer simple and uniform. I have done all sepia tones and all black and white for mine. You could use an all green tint or anything in that vein. You want the images to fit together. Be careful of the colored pictures, it always looks best in a more subdued tone. And true “amateur black and white - teenagers in the basement” feel is kind of cool and fresh. Better than somewhere in the middle where you try too hard but don’t have the resources of a pro and it starts to look like a B movies from the 70s.
Keep it short. No longer than 1min 15 sec. max.
Don’t tell the whole story. To me, the trailer is not a blurb set to music and images. It’s a feeling. You want to get in with the music, with some images that create emotions and with just a few words. You want to create that feeling of “I want it!” Most people who view my trailer tell me they have no clues what it’s about, but they want to read the book!
Use the beats of the music! I have seen too many trailers with lovely music and images but the images and writing don’t fit at all with the music and you fail to get into it fully. The trailer is a different media to engage the reader. It uses different senses than just the brain. You have hearing and sight from the music and images, you have to engage and coordinate these senses well.
As an illustration, you must watch what I call the “Perfect Trailer” for Duma Key by Stephen King.
All the elements are there. Of course King has a lot of money, but did you notice? No cheesy actors, nice big music perfectly coordinated with the images, short clip (32 sec), very few words. And I have no idea what the book is about but I WANT it. Case in point, I don’t read horror but I shelled $10 for it, and I feel soooo cool, just because of that trailer!
Where Do you Post It?
So you have your perfect trailer. What do you do with it? If you’re Stephen King, you do nothing and magically gazillion people will watch it. But, and I think specifically for debut and e-press authors, the trailer can become your calling card.
So go online of course, on your email, website, blogs, YouTube, MySpace and Facebook (these are the ones I am most familiar with)
How Do You Work It?
Let’s go through each cyber media that I know best:
YouTube: First you load it on YouTube so that you can have an easy-to-manage link and embedded code that enable you to put your trailer everywhere. But pay attention to the tags! Because if you have good tags, say similar to a really big author that writes in your genre, your trailer will pop out when people view their favorite author. Fill that description well, don’t forget your workable link to your website or where you can download/buy your book in the description (why do you think I have a link to the Romantic Times American Title voting pages on my trailer description. You just click and you are there!)
If you have enough views, you can start looking at the viewing stats on YouTube. I found out I have a lot of views from Germany. Who would have known?
Website: Put it on your home page and not the link only, you want the whole square box with the big triangle in the middle. Paste that embedded code (don’t look at my website, because I only have a link now and it really bothers me. My web software won’t let me put the embedded code). Some people are bored and surf the web. It’s much easier to click on a trailer then read a blurb. It might make you a sale.
Blogs: Post your trailer on your blog. I have seen great blogs with small embedded trailers on the side bar. I love those. Click and you are there. When you guest blog, post your trailer. If your host is kind enough and depending on the blog network she uses, you may be able to get the embedded code posted. But at least get that YouTube clickable link there.
Email: Clickable link in your sig line. I always have this:
at the end of my email. It works in plain text email, most of the time. I do get clicks from my email messages, I checked.
MySpace: On MySpace, you can work your trailer two ways. First by loading the original file into your video. When you load it, all your friends see it, instant publicity. Then you can add the tags and people may stumble upon it while doing searches: Vampire, Fairy, Magic, all good tags in paranormal. I still have to figure all these new features out.
But, and I have got great feedback on MySpace, you can embed a YouTube trailer on your profile and more importantly into your messages and bulletins by copying the HTML embedded code. When I ask my friends for help in the American Title, I always embed the code at the end. It’s my calling card. If you have fans, you can easily reply to them and put that trailer at the end of the message.
And bulletins are wonderful. Many people will see it. So every time you have an announcement, add a trailer at the end! Make a bulletin just to announce your trailer. Post that bulletin often during the day (make sure you delete the old one, because people will hate you for flooding). For fans with lots of friends, your one bulletin will not cut it. Post often.
I do not know about the events feature in MySpace, because when you hit over 3000 friend, events are not longer workable.
Facebook: Sadly, now that they changed Facebook again, I have to learn all over how to work it. But here are a few tips that works. Load the original video, everyone will get to see it as a Newsfeed. Post the YouTube Link and everyone will see it as well in their Newsfeed. Don’t do this back to back, spread it a little so that it’s 2 news at different times, more people will see it. I also have my Facebook set-up so that every time I load up a trailer on YouTube, it shows as a Newsfeed on Facebook.
Make sure you have your video posted on the left column of your profile, just under your friends list!
What now. You can post your trailer on all the readers groups, but no one goes there once they join the group. So in my opinion, it is now a little useless, especially with the brand new Facebook.
With the old Facebook from last month, it was great. Every time you loaded your trailer on a group , it would show up as a Newsfeed. So people would see it every time! Old Facebook might come back but in the meantime, you could tie your trailer with your status. Because when you post a link now, it now looks like a status, if you have a book related news, you can load up the YouTube link, then write your add like a status. For example, I can load up my trailer You Tube link, then at the top, I can write “Marie-Claude says vote for ANCIENT WHISPERS at http://www.romantictimes.com/news_amtitle3.php” This link and status will show up in the Newsfeed for everyone to see. (I do that a lot and I am sure many have deleted me from their friends by now!)
Facebook events: You can create an event and invite all your friends. That works great in Facebook because you can message a lot of people at once. Include the trailer YouTube link on the event page. Add the You Tube link when you message your event guests. I like events because it prevents me from annoying people who don’t want to hear about me. They get one invite, can click “no” and that’s it. They never hear from me again.
Facebook might change again to something new, so keep trying to update your skill with the idea that what you want is people to see your trailer in the Newsfeed, without overdoing it of course because then they will just delete you as their friend.
I don’t have a fan page because I am not published, but now that the fan page works more like a profile, you can probably use the same status tips above with your page. I get status updates from Anne Rice’s fan page all the time now, very cool!
So good luck playing with your trailer.
In parting, I leave you with the trailer for ANCIENT WHISPERS that people have liked so much.
And I ask one question! What do you think of Stephen King Book trailer! Let me know and you can win a 15$ Amazon Gift Card (and you can probably get Duma Key with that!)
Marie-Claude Bourque is an American Title V finalist with her entry ANCIENT WHISPERS, a dark paranormal romance filled with tortured sorcerers, dark sensuality and gothic rituals. You can find her at www.mcbourque.com and www.myspace.com/marieclaudebourque .
And you can also vote for your favorite love scene in the American Title V contest at:http://www.romantictimes.com/news_amtitle3.php
Thanks for all the great info, Marie-Claude! Ok, everybody, be sure to leave a comment or question in order to be entered in M-C's drawing for a $15 Amazon gift card!