A growing trend in independent book promotion is the “book trailer”: a video advertisement for a book, similar to a movie trailer. I’ve seen everything from “talking head” book trailers, where the author discusses his or her book, to animation, photo montages set to music and full-production trailers. If you’re marketing your novel, you may want to think about creating a book trailer. You don’t have to spend a lot of money — I’ve seen some very well done simple videos. Creativity goes a long way.
Here’s a terrific trailer for a book titled Meet the Annas that I stumbled upon on YouTube. Yes, it’s put out by a publisher, Coral Press, and not a cash-strapped author, but it’s rather simple. Just a few photos, music and narration. It’s effective — sets the tone for the novel, provides a review and makes the viewer curious to find out more. Just what a trailer should do. Be aware, though, of copyright issues. I’m assuming Coral Press has the right to use everything shown, but it’s important to remember you cannot use any materials that are not your own — music, photos, film — unless you are granted permission to do so. There are far too many people crossing legal lines on the internet either naively or just hoping not to get caught. The last thing a first-time writer wants is to be accused of lifting other people’s creative material.