Saturday, March 19, 2011

Book Trailers for Authors: Are They Really Necessary?

Yes, I have made video trailers for some of my books:

I have even created live action promotional videos:

Once in a while I'll be asked how effective video trailers are with regards to book sales. Are people more likely to buy a book after seeing a one minute slideshow set to music and spiffy sound effects? Honestly, I cannot say for certain. I do admit, I have personally not seen improvement among titles that have trailers attached as opposed to ones that don't. I have yet to hear from an author that sales spiked once they uploaded a video to YouTube, either. So, you may ask, why bother doing it at all? Why not just expend the time and energy promoting in other ways?

I would not blame you if you decided never to create a trailer or pay to have one done. If you try it yourself, you'll discover it's very time-consuming. You have to find the right photos and music, test fonts and transitions, and drum your fingers while the damn thing uploads. All that work and you may be lucky if five people see the thing. How is that supposed to bring in readers.

Well, here's what you need to consider: YouTube is not just a site for video sharing, it's the second largest search engine in the world. Millions of videos are watched, uploaded and shared daily. You'll read this and think yours is just a mere speck in a sea, but if you optimize your video correctly, it will benefit you in the long run. This is because search engines like Google and Yahoo are moving toward algorithms of blended search results. Five years ago, you typed in a key phrase and received only website results. These days, a variety of sources pop up - sites, blogs, videos, and shopping links. The more often you get your name into Internet sources outside of static sites, the more relevant you are to search engines that cache information for the keywords under which you want to be found.

Another advantage to the book trailers, too, is that they are easily shared. If people don't directly view them on YouTube, they may be found on blogs, Facebook, and elsewhere. Videos have the ability to imprint your name in the minds of readers. Even one minute in front of a Flip camera reading from your work can do wonders.

It is my goal to video more events I attend, if only to record for my little one what her mother did once. Perhaps one day I'll sell a book based on a video watched. It's still a sale I might not have won otherwise.

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