By Mike MacLean
Even bestselling authors don’t have many avenues to promote their books. There are reviews of course, and signings. A few score local radio spots; fewer still are lucky enough to nab some TV time. But a national commercial? Unless your name is J.K. Rowling, Steven King, or James Patterson, forget about it.
Maybe this is why more and more novelists are turning to You Tube and promoting their latest offerings with video trailers.
"The battle is ongoing to grab some attention," said Shotgun Opera author Victor Gischler. "I’ve been told my novels are very cinematic, so maybe a trailer was the natural way to go."
According to Gischler, the "fine folks" at Bantam Dell surprised him by producing a trailer for Suicide Squeeze. He was so pleased with the results he asked them to do another for his novel Shotgun Opera, which was later posted online.
"I didn’t even know about the Shotgun trailer at first," said Gischler. "A friend e-mailed me and said, ‘Dude, I just saw your book trailer on the Onion AV website!’ I was thrilled. Not only was the trailer cool, but it was apparently getting in front of the right demographic."
Monster novelist David Wellington claims his own demographic as "The entire population of planet earth."
"It’s a very competitive industry out there and it’s not just a question of periodically crossing over into another audience anymore," said Wellington. "These days you have to be constantly broadening your appeal and finding new markets to serve."
After brainstorming with his Webmaster and wife, Wellington came up with a concept to showcase the anti-romantic vampires of his newest book Thirteen Bullets. The result was a You Tube trailer entitled the "Evolution of Horror."
"I’ve tried a lot of different ways to reach people with my books," said Wellington. "…putting them online, putting them on iPods, putting them in bookstores, and now this video."
Author Don Bruns didn’t stop at You Tube when promoting his upcoming crime novel Stuff to Die For. A 30 second version of his trailer will also play in 20 theaters in the Miami area. According to Bruns, four grad students from the University of Miami produced, wrote, cast and directed the video, which has already created quite a buzz.
"I think anyone who is intrigued with action and adventure will like the video," said Bruns. "It’s well acted, has plenty of action and hopefully it will attract new readers."
But the question remains, will these trailers actually garner increased book sales? And how can their success be measured?
Both Bruns and Wellington have been contacted by readers who bought their books after seeing the trailers, which suggests the videos are doing the job.
Yet Victor Gischler perhaps described the possibilities of video promotion best, saying, "If you can produce a really cool trailer, get readers jazzed for your story, provide a link to Amazon or something … hey, I have to think it’ll help."
To check out Victor Gischler’s trailer click HERE.
To check out David Wellington’s trailer click HERE.
To check out Don Bruns’ trailer click HERE.
And this just in, a first look at Alexandra Sokoloff’s trailer for her upcoming release The Price. Download ThePrice_v004.wmv
As always Murder fans, I have questions. To the writers, would you ever consider creating a video trailer? Do you think this is a good vehicle for book promotion? To the readers, could a video trailer convince you to buy a book?
And, if you know about any great book trailers out there please feel free to post a link in your comments.