Trailer Time: Right Technique, Wrong Objective

I searched specifically for a 2013 book trailer and I found this:

Book trailers are audio-visual mediums.  In order to create a high quality book trailer, you need to combine the audio and the visual elements of your trailer much like a conductor combines the different instruments in an orchestra—they should work together to create an emotive effect that is stronger and more complex than each could create alone.

This trailer accomplished that feat.  The first few seconds captivated me.  The music and text worked together wonderfully.  The trailer was, or at least seems to be, put together professionally.  I was captivated by the artistry of the trailer itself.

But…  A book trailer is not an end in and of itself.

The purpose of the trailer is to:

  1. Pique the viewers’ interest in the book.
  2. Sell the viewer on the book.

You shoot for the first objective when you are releasing a trailer before the book is available for purchase.  Your goal is to build an audience for your upcoming book.  Your strategy is to pique the interest of potential readers.  Your tactics include releasing a trailer that piques interest and driving those interested potential readers to another site where they can learn more, and perhaps sign up so they can be notified when the book is actually available.  The tactics help you achieve the strategy, which helps you reach your goal.

You shoot for the second objective when you are releasing a trailer after the book becomes available to the reading public.  Your goal is to sell your book to potential readers.  Your strategy is to give those potential readers enough of a taste of your book that they want more.  Your tactics include releasing a trailer that provides your target audience with a tantalizing taste of your book and drives those readers to a point of purchase.

This book is in the second category, which is clear from the trailer itself, but the trailer meets the first objective.  This is a problem.

Word of mouth, no matter whose mouth it may be, isn’t enough for most readers to purchase a book.  It is often enough to induce potential readers to find out more, but it is not enough to actually sell the book itself.  To do that, you have to give them a taste of your book.

You let potential readers know what your book “tastes” like by answering these questions:

  • What is the story about?
  • Who is the story about?
  • Why should I care?

Knowing the book is getting accolades isn’t enough to sell a book, unless you’re selling books to shallow people who only buy books to impress other people with how “well-read” they are.  Beware, however, that if you actually want to be read, then these people should never be your primary audience, because many of them don’t actually read the books they buy.  They’re status symbols.

People who actually read fall into one of two categories:

  1. They read because they have to.
  2. They read because they’re interested in what they’re reading.

If your objective is to make your book required reading, then you don’t use a book trailer.  You convince teachers that their students have to read your book.  If your objective is to get your book in the hands of people who would be interested in reading it, then you have to tell them about your book.  In the case of a novel, that means telling them about your story.

Accolades can be impressive, but accolades alone do not sell books.

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About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces ComeSootheYourAchingSoul.com in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of www.StephanieAllenCrist.com and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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4 Responses to Trailer Time: Right Technique, Wrong Objective

  1. acflory says:

    lol – spot on! I felt this trailer put the cart before the horse in a big way. Such a pity as the trailer itself was quite exciting, just no substance.

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