Book Trailer on a Budget

film directorIt’s often difficult to get a handle on what book trailers cost.  The price tag can vary substantially with the length, talent, complexity of the script and production values that are incorporated into the video.  A post a few months back on Book Trailerpark (“So You Want to Make a Book Video: What Can You Expect?“) discussed the prices that some of the better known producers charge for producing a book trailer.  The costs ranged from as low as $750 for a “mini teaser” to well north of $10,000 for more involved productions. 

So how do self published authors and smaller publishers play in this arena?  And should they?  After all, a book trailer costing thousands of dollars represents a major marketing investment for a title.  Yet the idea of creating a video, posting it on YouTube and getting thousands of downloads (and possibly a big spike in book sales) is almost too tempting to resist. 

Here are some things to keep in mind should you decide to take the plunge and make a book trailer. 

Keep it simple – Use production values that work best with a limited budget, talent and resources.  This might include simple sequence of stills with a nice voiceover.  Or perhaps an author interview or reading from the book.  Costs escalate quickly in the world of video.  Actors, shooting on locaiton, creating animation sequences, requiring lighting / sound crew – all these can quickly break your budget. 

Tell a story about your book – Remember that a book trailer is first and foremost a marketing tool.  You want viewers to get interested enough in your book to purchase it.  A coheret message, illustrated with a short, well defined story line is a proven way to do that.

Don’t make it too long – Cost usually goes up with length.  So does download time.  So shorter is probably better if you’re on a budget.

Get plenty of feedback (and listen to it) – Create a simple storyboard and ask for feedback on your book trailer concept before you commit the time and resources to producing it.  If people don’t get it, you should reconsider your concept. 

For additional tips on how to make a quality, low cost book trailer  check out the post by Josie Brown on M. J. Rose’s blog Buzz, Balls & Hype.

Will book trailers prove their worth in selling books?  Will struggling authors and underdog publishers figure out how to make compelling, low cost videos to sell their titles?  Tune in to our next episode (or click here to buy the book).  Roll credits.  Fade to black.

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