You Need a Series of Book Trailers

Prairie Storms by Darcy Pattison
I’m still celebrating the publication of my picture book, PRAIRIE STORMS, by creating another video. This time, I attended the AETN-PBS Family Day event in Conway, AR, where I talked with parents and kids about reading and books. I invited the kids to be “You Tube” Stars by answering a simple question: What is a Rainbow?

As you might imagine, we got a wide range of answers. See what observations these young scientists made!

If you can’t see the embedded video, view it here.

More Than One Book Trailer?

Excerpt from The Book Trailer Manual by Darcy Pattison
Most authors make a book trailer and stop. This is my third book trailer for PRAIRIE STORMS, and I plan more. This chapter explains why multiple videos are a great idea.

More than one book trailer? Does this question surprise you? You’re unsure about doing one video, much less a couple. Should you really think about more than one book trailer for your book? Yes. Here’s why.

Networking: Like every other social media, it’s your network that counts. And networks grow when you post regular content to keep them coming back. You may want a series of trailers spread out over several months, so viewers – and readers – have reasons to come back often.

Short Life of a Video:
In May 2010, Jay Yarow and Kamelia Angelova reported that the shelf life of a video is very short. Half the viewers of a video come in the first six days. 75% of the viewers are within the first 20 days. Of course, there’s going to be a long tail, in which your video gets a few hits/day for a long time. But if you want a high level of sustained interest, you might want to consider a series of videos, distributed 1-3 weeks apart.

There is precedence in the online world for multiple marketing messages. Often marketers use an auto-responder to set up a series of messages which are automatically sent to an email list at specified intervals. For example, you might sign up for an camera site’s newsletter because they promise to send a series of three tutorials on taking portraits with a digital camera. You sign up and get your first issue of the newsletter right away, along with a second email that contains the first tutorial. The second and third tutorials turn up at one week intervals. These automated deliveries are via an auto-responder.

The idea behind auto-responder messages is to build your audience’s trust in your ability to offer something valuable on a long term basis.

How can you adapt this idea to a series of videos? Here’s an example of how you might plan a series of eight book trailers; while I’m suggesting a wide variety of options, you should decide on a specific goal for each video. Change it or adapt these as needed for your situation. Also, I’d suggest that you create about half of these before the book is released; be flexible about the others and create and distribute them as needed to publicize awards, give updated information, display fan’s reactions, etc.

  • Video 1. The overall story is explained in the first book trailer. This would be the traditional book trailer that gives a plot and character teaser. The Wayfinder Video
  • Video 2. The second trailer, however, is targeted to specific audiences and why they might relate to the book. If it’s a story about an athlete competing in track and field events, you may want to tape at a track and appeal to the athletic interests of your audience. Or, this time use a lot of testimonies from fans and reviews. This trailer has military personnel talking about how much they enjoyed Craig M. Mullhaney’s book, The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education. Book Trailer – “The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education”
  • Video 3. By now, your audience is somewhat familiar with the story. This is the time to tell a story: about yourself, the idea behind the story, etc.
  • Video 4. With this video, let your audience know about any extra materials to go with the story: teacher’s guides, book club guides, free computer wallpaper, online games, book marks, etc. Be sure to mention the various formats of the book in this trailer, too: Kindle, iTunes, paperback, audio, etc. It’s also a good time to offer a discount coupon for a very limited time; setting a time clock ticking encourages response. Here, Neil Gaman talks about buttons: It’s a book trailer for his book & movie, Coraline.
  • Video 5. If your book is nonfiction, take time here to answer any questions that you’ve received. Where did you find the original source materials for your research? Will this how-to book help me do such and so? I’m confused about the time-line, can you clear it up for me? Or, give advice, for example, to young writers, as Neil Gaman does.
  • Video 6. For the sixth trailer, let your readers talk for you: interview readers about their responses. Or, highlight fan videos, quote from reviews. Another idea is for you to read from the story. Or attend a conference and ask a person there to read a paragraph, then give it to another person for the next section and so on until a good sample is recorded. Here, Eoin Colfer reads from The 7th Dwarf (World Book Day 2004)
  • Video 7. What have you been dying to tell your audience? Maybe you want to explain the dedication, the illustrations, tell the story of how you sold the book, or just look the camera in the eye and tell readers thanks for reading. Or, wrap up the series with a recap of the most important things about your story. Another option is to provide links to related sites. See, Neil Gaiman’s Worst Comic Book Characters of All Time
  • Video 8. Look ahead to the next book in the pipeline and give them a hook that leaves the viewer wanting more. Or, maybe by now, you’ve got great news of awards that your book has won.

It’s fine to include a mix of polished trailers with informal trailers that you tape as events unfold. has proven that audiences respond to great content, regardless of the production quality. Just keep promoting the trailers in every online and offline venue possible.

While you’re thinking about doing one book trailer, you should also think about doing a series. After all, each trailer will give you more experience and they can only get better. And a series will keep your book in the audience’s mind for a longer time.

Example of using more than one Book Trailer:

  1. Million Dollar Throw trailer by Mike Lupica This trailer is a teaser for the story.
  2. Mike Lupica author video, Million-Dollar Throw The author talks about character relationships.
  3. Million Dollar Throw Today Show. Lupica appears on the TV show.

See other Prairie Storm Videos:

  1. STORMS: A Chant of Months
  2. PRAIRIE STORMS: Sounds of the Prairies

Read more about The Book Trailer Manual

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