A book trailer! All the marketing gurus advised me of its merits to authors of young adult books: teens love visuals, they love YouTube, and they click on the buy links more often than after they read book summaries. I sighed and rolled up my sleeves.
I’d created employee communications videos in a former job, but never such a short clip. How could I pack all the messages I wanted to convey for The Demons Among Us into one teeny minute? I prayed, received peace, and set to work. Two months later, I had a final product that made my heart pound with excitement.
Here’s how I did it:
- I hopped on YouTube and typed “YA book trailers” into the search bar. Poof! Up came dozens and dozens of amazing clips. Some were so incredible they must have had five figure budgets. They made me want to spend every penny I had buying those books. I spent an entire afternoon analyzing them and developing a solid list of likes and dislikes—what I thought worked and what didn’t.
- Next I determined the video’s two-fold purpose: a teaser to promote The Demons Among Us online and an opener for my presentations to both teen and adult audiences. I didn’t have the budget for two separate videos, so I had to combine the promotional message with a book summary. With that in mind, I took a whack at a script. I ran it by my editor and several trusted friends, who generously responded with valuable insight. I made their suggested revisions and smiled at the final result. If you’d like to see it, check out my example of a book trailer script.
- Now I had to find a videographer. I needed someone talented, imaginative, and client friendly who could work within my budget. I asked tons of friends for recommendations and scoured the internet. After weeks of searching and interviewing possible contractors, I found her on a writer’s group Facebook page. She turned out to be one amazing human being. If you need a top-notch videographer, contact Maddy Goshorn.
- I sent her the script, and she emailed me her thoughts. After a few tweaks, we felt satisfied the script would work. She sent me an audio version first, which I approved with one little correction. Then she created a draft that hit very close to my mark. We talked on the phone, and I followed up with an email summarizing our conversation. It took three more drafts and several more phone conversations and emails, but we landed on a video we both felt confident would generate excitement for The Demons Among Us. I’m glad we took the time to communicate with honest feedback. I think our truthful interaction smoothed the editing process and saved us time.
- About halfway through the editing process, I sent a clip to a group of beta viewers—teens and adults. One found a disconnect that had to be addressed. But overall they assured me that Maddy and I were on the right track. It added an extra week to our schedule, but it gave me peace.
While this first foray into the imaginative world of book trailer creation wasn’t flawless, I can acknowledge that I did two things right: started early and negotiated costs up front. I look forward to putting together a second one.
What do you like to see in a book trailer?