Niki Breeser Tschirgi, a BookWorks Featured Author, agreed to share her experience creating and using the trailer for her book "Growing Up Alaska". Thinking about a trailer for your book? Here's a glimpse into her process and her recommendation to go for it!
One of my favorite things about going to the movies is watching the previews. Why is that? Perhaps because it’s an appetizer for what’s to come, a delightful mini-movie to spark your interest. The trailer helps you decide whether or not you want to invest the time and money in what is being presented—whether you want to make some popcorn, curl up and enjoy the show, or move on.
Book Trailers Lend Credibility
Maybe you are a self-published author not yet well know out there, like me. Your book is your baby. You have thrown countless hours into writing, editing, procrastinating, crying, writing, designing, rewriting, surfing the internet, and going without sleep, to bring it into being. You have something important to say and your well-produced book trailer tells the world that you are serious about your craft, and entices them to want to read your work.
Here is mine...
Book Trailers Should Capture the Heart of Your Book
When someone buys your book after seeing the trailer, they shouldn’t be surprised by what they read and think, “Wow, this wasn’t what I thought this book was about at all. Boo!.” Your book trailer should emotionally connect with the viewer and convey the essence of your book. This is your work. Your dream. Your thousands of hours of travail. Your book trailer is a small but important extension of that, not a completely different creation. Be sure the finished trailer is intrinsically connected to the content of your book.
Book Trailers Are a Valuable Tool for Promotion
At every author presentation I do, the audience gets a chance to view my trailer. It’s on my webpage, pinned to the top of my Twitter feed, uploaded to my Facebook page, emailed to book stores along with my press kit, and shared every once in a while on other author pages. It is an amazing tool to introduce and generate interest in my book. The truth is, we live in a very visual culture with some very short attention spans. (According to Visible Measures, 45% of viewers will stop watching a video after 1 minute and 60% by 2 minutes.) Haven’t you seen a video on Facebook and thought, “Three minutes? What? Nope, I don’t have time for that. But one minute? I minute and twenty-two seconds? I could probably watch that.”
Book Trailers Cost Money…But Are Worth Every Penny
My book trailer cost $800.00. More than likely it would have cost more, but I got creative with my connections. My musician brother-in-law agreed to record my voiceover for free in his studio. I located public domain music for my background, and wrote my own script. Did I have $800.00 to spend on a book trailer? As a mother to five sons still living at home, no, I did not. But I had stuff in my house I could sell online and I scrimped and saved from my grocery money and quit doing pedi’s for a while. Why? Because the sacrifice was worth the outcome. I needed a high quality, professional book trailer that captured the heart and soul of my book. I got what I paid for and I have a marketing tool that I use over and over again.
Your Book Trailer Represents You
You wouldn’t try to print your more-stellar-than-stellar book with that amazing cover design, inspiring forward, tear-jerking back cover, and professional author headshot, from a photo copy machine would you? Having an attitude of excellence about all areas of your book is key. Treat your entire self-publishing platform (website, social media, promotion, etc.) with the same professionalism and you will create an amazing first impression wherever/however your reader finds you.
- Work with someone you trust. I hired someone whose work I had seen at my church. I loved his style and after I shared my concept with him and the “Napoleon Dynamite” feel I wanted, he put together the first 10 seconds and sent it my way. Seriously, it’s as if he read my mind! He was also very flexible in making changes as I directed. Start with your circle of friends. Do you know anyone with video talent? Reach out on LinkedIn, Facebook, or to author groups you are involved with.
- Insist on high quality audio and visual. I know not everyone has a brother-in-law who will record your voice for free, but chances are there are local independent recording studios nearby that bill by the half hour, and it's amazing what you can get done if you are prepared, practiced, and ready to go. Most of the visual content I used were pictures I owned, but you can access public domain pictures or pay for copyrighted ones through sites like fotolia.com and dreamstime.com. I have used both of these sites and the cost is low. (You never want to use images without permission.)
- Research free or low-cost resources. I used public domain music for the background music for my trailer at freesoundtrackmusic.com. There are lots of sites out there, you just have to wade through them and find what works best for you!
- Don’t compromise until you’re happy with the results. Does your trailer really capture the heart of your book? If not, change it so that it does.
Was my time and money worth the investment? Yes! There is no doubt in my mind that my trailer has helped me reach more people, especially since I have it pinned to the top of my Twitter feed. In the world of social media, I believe it is necessary to have a book trailer. People don’t mind taking one minute to watch my trailer and often they follow with a retweet and a click to Amazon.com to check out my book. I also repost it regularly on my Facebook page for new followers to view with a link to buy my book. As an indie author marketing myself, the credibility my book trailer extends helps me so much in booking events, whether at my local library or an indie store in Las Vegas. Whatever your goals as an author, a compelling, well-crafted book trailer will be an invaluable tool in your promotional tool box.
Niki Breeser Tschirgi, author of “Growing up Alaska”, is a stay-at-home mom who resides in Spokane, Washington, with her husband and six adopted kids (five still at home, ages eight through eighteen, all boys). She discovered her love for writing in the seventh grade and studied Creative Writing at the University of Idaho. Niki wrote for Blindigo Online Magazine while living in Houston, Texas, and over the years, has published several blogs such as “The Stars Are Bright—How a Northern Girl Became a Southern Woman and Everything Inbetween” and “Rock a Child’s World,” which raised awareness for adoption in Texas. Her most current blogs can be read at www.spokandyland.com and www.growingupalaska.net. To connect with Niki and learn more about life in Alaska, follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/growingupalaska or Twitter @nikitschirgi.
Like what you just read? Get more author tips and access to exclusive indie resources when you become a BookWorks member. Join our Community now. Click HERE to sign up!