Friday, March 27, 2009

Guest Blogger Marie-Claude Bourque

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 At almost 1,500 hits on YouTube for an unpublished author with a non-existent book, I think, not bad.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” 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 and .
And you can also vote for your favorite love scene in the American Title V contest at:

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!


Blodeuedd said...

That was a nice trailer :)
I honestly don't watch a lot of trailers, i guess I haven't really learnt about the phenomenon before now :D

Rachel E. Moniz said...

Hi Emily and Marie-Claude

This was very informative! Thank you for writing this for us. I do like trailers and find my interest increases after seeing one. YouTube and the social sites are a great resource for building momentum.


EmilyBryan said...

Betty--Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know you were here!

Blodeuedd--Ok, I'm not sure how to pronounce that, but I guess it doesn't matter. Bet it means something interesting.

I never know if trailers "work" in the sense of "do they sell books?" but I think they increase an author's name recognition.

Hey Rachel!--Thanks for popping in and sharing your reaction to trailers. Has spring reached Rhode Island yet?

Kate George/Bodacious Betty said...

Marie-Claude, I actually enjoyed your trailer more than Stephen King's. Too much blood in King's although it is skillfully done. It was interesting to me that both your trailer and his used images instead of actors.

So in lue of superimposing your view of your characters on your audience you leave them to imagine their characteristics instead. You do use images of people - I like them I might add - but there is no dialog and we aren't really sure who they are at this point. Good.

Thanks for the information. When I gethome this afternoon I'm going to start my own trailer!



robynl said...

King's trailer definitely caught my attention and the music went very well with the pictures.

Rachel E. Moniz said...

Hi Emily!
It is surely TRYING to reach Rhode Island. It will be about 50 today and rain is on the way.
You must be looking forward to NEC this weekend. Do tell Annette I said hello when you see her. :-D

Marcella Burnard said...

I notice that King's trailer is super short and punchy - the edits are crisp and fast. The images come at you so quickly your aren't certain you see them, but you're very clear it's a horror novel. It was a perfect illustration about going for a 'feel' in a trailer. One question, however. I know about using images and photos that are in the public domain or at least being certain you've got appropriate permission to use them. I assume the same is true for music? Where does one go to search for that sort of thing? For example, Marie-Claude, where did you go to find the music for your trailer?

The Brunette Librarian said...

I liked the trailer...I normally don't even watch them but I liked it! Short, got to the point, and still left a bit of mystery. :)

LuAnn said...

Some great advice! I look forward to reading your book.

soche said...

I don't usually watch trailers but I did watch yours.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Your trailer is fantastic, Marie-Claude! :-) It makes me want to read and review a copy of your book, right now. I see what you mean about the colours or lack there of, in the book trailer. You have a lot of wonderful tips for anyone looking to make a book trailer. I just can't get over how beautiful your trailer is! :-) I like yours much better then Steven Kings, though I'm sure his book trailer will be great for his reading audience.

A big HELLO to Emily! :-) Thanks for hosting Marie-Claude today!
I hope you both have a wonderful weekend.



Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Hi everyone for all your comments :) It's nice to see everyone's take on trailer.

Rachel, did you know Ancient Whispers is set in RI? I just moved from there and wrote it while in RI. It's set in Providence and in a make believe town like Wickford. I have the SO County beach in there!!!!

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Very good point about copyrighted images.
I have royalty-free music from someone called Kivin Mcload. For a donation of $5 and include his name, you can download songs.
Now for images, you can go to Istock photos and places like that. Some will charge you a flat fee for downloads.

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Thanks for your compliment Robbie :)
If I win the contest and the book gets published, I'll send it over for a review :)

Anonymous said...

You're welcome!
Sounds good, Marie-Claude :-)


Rachel E. Moniz said...

I live over in Tiverton but I was just in Wickford this morning! I did not know that you used our little state in the book. How neat!

Nicole North said...

Fantastic blog, Marie-Claude!! I love your take on the most effective book videos. Kudos!! I always learn a lot from your posts. I had fun making my first video. I'm going to try and make each one better than the last.

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Yes Rachel! I lived in Narragansett for 8 years until last year. I have scenes on the beach in the winter, you know how cold and windy it gets.
And I just finished a shifter novella that is set in Newport and Jerusalem. I include a bit of that Gilded Age mansion stuff in there. I would love to see a historical done with that era! Sooo romantic :)

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Thank you Nicole :)
I think I am blogged out for a while. This was my offical "last" blog for a while LOL.
I love your trailer!

For a strange reason my trailer 2 and 3 are not as good LOL! I was lucky with the first one!

ScorpJen1121 said...

it was interesting, not my kind of story though.

ScorpJen1121 said...

btw Marie-Claude, nice to see you out blogging :) hehe

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

My stories (and King's )are quite different than Emily LOL. There is no doubts.
It's funny because I write dark paranormal, but I read historicals LOL Not too dark!
Glad to be here blogging to :)

Anonymous said...

The Stephen King was really effective though I don't like horror, but if I did, it would hook me.
Your trailer I thought was excellent!

Carol Jo

Jane said...

Hi Marie-Claude,
Congrats on being a finalist in the American Title V contest. I liked your trailer as well as Stephen's. I really liked the sepia color of your trailer. I do usually check out the trailers on an author's website.

Mariee said...

Both of the trailers look good. I really like yours, great choice of music!

EmilyBryan said...

Hi everybody!

Sorry I've been AWOL today. I was over in Framingham for the start of the NECRWA Let your Imagination Take Flight. Had a great time visiting with Leah Hultenschmidt, my editor! Think we nailed down what my next project will be. Heading back at oh-dark:30 tomorrow morning for an agent pitch and to give my JOY OF WRITING SEX workshop! Should be a hoot!

Thanks so much for making Marie-Claude welcome in my absence. I think her trailer is spectacular and her story premise very compelling. If you agree, please remember to vote!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Michelle Libby said...

I'm so sad that I'm missing the NEC conference this year. Maybe I'll work on a book trailer after this wonderful advice.
Thanks. I enjoyed seeing the two different trailers. I have a friend writer who creates trailers, but I'm willing to try it on my own.

Margaret Mallory said...

Marie-Claude--Wonderful trailer! I liked yours even better than Stephen King's. Thank you for the extremely helpful info on trailers. will be a challenge to think of what images I can use to take the viewer to the year 1405... --Margaret Mallory, Knight of Desire, July '09

@GeekWillow said...

The Stephen King trailer was well-made. Would it make me run out and buy the book? Probably not, but I've never been able to really get in to his books before. If some other author had that trailer for a book, I'd definitely want to read it.

Julie Robinson said...

Hey M-C and Emily!

I agree that music really sets the mood as far as enticing me to buy a book or not. However, that music must be accompanied by a little action. Nothing is more boring than to have a still landscape shot with not words or people pictures---unless you have an old castle in the background!

I got goose bumps just watching the Stephen King video. It was like a movie trailer! Wow! I think I've told you before that I love the pulsating beat of your book trailer, M-C. It's like a heartbeat.

Thanks for a great 'how-to.' I have always wondered about this aspect of promotion, but have never seen a post on it. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. You both know I like to be social, so you'd think I've have come across this before. Ingenious!


Julie Robinson said...

Oh, and Emily, I still love your video. The music is airy, flowing up and down like the wind with the arpeggios running one after the other. It suits your book.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Julie! I'm glad you enjoyed the trailer. I had fun picking out the pics!

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Thank you everybody.
It is interesting to see what appeal to whom.
I do like action movies so the King trailer is perfect for me.
But I also like historical and I can see that a trailer made with hauting scottish pipes or soft chamber music would be as effective as well for those specific historical genre. I think it's in recognizing your audience that you will find the perfect trailer for your book :)

Autumn Jordon said...

Marie-Claude, Thank you for all the information. Keeping up with all the promotions is a full time job in itself. You've helped. I'm hoping you'll love my trailer once I post it.

Good luck on the American V contest. I know we'll see you in print soon.

2009 Golden Heart© Finalist

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Hi Autumn,
Make sure I see your trailer on FB!
Mega congrats on the GH. That is awesome :)