Making a Book Trailer for YouTube.
My publisher, Wise Ink, held a free Zoom seminar last fall on the subject of social media marketing. The presenter said something that caught my attention. She said that YouTube is the best possible platform for marketing books with a book trailer. I thought to myself, I'm pretty bad at most social media, but with my background in theater and film, and contacts in the film world—that I can do. Six months later, here it is:
Years ago (well, decades really) I worked with Art Fitzsimmons on a few feature film* projects in Salt Lake City. Soon after, he and his wife Linda decamped to Los Angelos where he has logged over thirty years of experience with PBS, commercials and films. And along the way in LA—Art and Linda managed to raise two amazing kids.
That is my first recommendation. Get Art! He is available and reasonable. He knows the film business inside and out, and because of his love of story-telling and books, he is great fun as a collaborator. Art is also totally tuned into shooting in a safe manner in these crazy Covid times. (May they soon be behind us.)
In discussion with Art I have gleaned the answers to several questions posed to me by fellow authors.
Do you have any tips for software to use? Use what you have access to. Even an iPhone. One short section of my trailer was shot on an iPhone. I bet you can't guess which one.
Did you write a script for yourself, or simply record yourself giving your elevator pitch?
Write a script, or at least an outline.
How did you decide what to shoot for A-roll and B-roll?
Art refers to A-roll as "sync-Audio" roll and B-roll as "Beauty-roll". He is a master at finding free production value in settings, etc. Ours was public land in Sedona, Arizona but it could be anything from a cruise to a canoe trip, or even a backyard barbecue. Also, he recommends the author dig for useful stills and stock footage, free if possible.
Other thoughts: include a call to action (call to buy) every thirty seconds. Give viewers a chance to buy. Offer something free or at least a deal to save money. Remember you are selling books not veg-o-matics. Sell the books, not the author, science, setting, etc.
Danger lies in the author not coming across as real or believable. The author should rehearse extensively and get comfortable in front of the camera.
As sales are tracked then content should be altered to maximize sales. YouTube analytics should be studied for trends once a week.
So, seriously—if I can do this—you can do this. Go for it!
*If there is such a thing as C movies, I guess that is what we did. But we accrued great experience and gathered some amazing stories.