Video Book Trailers You Can Make at Home…Even if you’re a memoir writer (Update)

by Kendra Bonnett on June 25, 2010

Book Business PaperclipPost #44 – Women’s Memoirs, Book Business – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
It’s video marketing Friday… What already? Now I’m not going to make this painful because I’ve done the heavy lifting and found a few more book trailer videos for you to watch.

web-video-marketingBut before we get to those, I have a few questions for you: Are you afraid to create a video? Concerned you won’t come across well? Scared you’ll mess up your lines? Think it’s probably too hard, too technical, too much like work? I’m going to answer each of these concerns and put them to rest. But first, here are four videos for your viewing enjoyment…and analysis. I chose these because they looked (to me) as though they could have been made without hiring a professional book trailer video company. Which means, they are relatively simple to do at home and inexpensive.

Let’s start off with Patricia Davis’s trailer for her memoir Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece. This one is clearly homemade. It has a pretty low production threshold. No voice over; it’s just a lot of family photos, maps and shots of Greece stitched together to tell her story. Patricia brings herself into the story with some captions, annotations and funny little things she does to the photos. I kind of think it does the job and makes you a little curious. Do you want to know more?

Samara O’Shea probably made a family production of creating her video for Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits, all about how journaling is like her personal therapist. It’s short, it’s to the point, and, I think, makes you want to read her book. Actually I’m wondering if the old boyfriend helped her.

This one’s for a children’s book, How to Save Your Tail by Mary Hanson. Clearly Mary had someone read the script for her…but the British accent may be fake. So this could be a friend with a good voice. It’s short, it’s cute and designed to appeal to a kid’s sense of humor. Underpants…really!

Megan Cabot is the central (and only) person in her trailer for her novel Big Boned. She recorded this standing in front of a green screen, which is easy to create at home (really; it is). She has a very clever metaphor running throughout her little video. She also promotes her book while giving aspiring writers a bit of advice. Nice touch.

Writers, you don’t have to fear video

Okay, I promised to lay a few fears and phobias to rest:

Are you afraid to create a video?
It’s time to swallow your fear and embrace something new. According to Deloitte LLP, web video is the third most influential medium for marketing. It’s a little hard to turn your back on numbers like that. If you feel you need some professional help, take a class or workshop. Check out Web Video University.

Concerned you won’t come across well?
Then don’t put yourself on camera. Let the visual be photographs, PowerPoint (Keynote for Mac users) slides, or a video clip. Two of the examples above have no person on screen, and one doesn’t even have a voice.

Scared you’ll mess up your lines?
Create a script for yourself. If you’re not on screen, you can read from the script. And you can say CUT! STOP! Hey, REWIND any time you want to stop and try again. Take 125…anyone?

Think it’s probably too hard, too technical, too much like work?
You’re in for a real surprise. Creating videos is fun. It releases your creativity and gets you thinking beyond our usual medium of words. You get an excuse to play with music, photos, graphics. Soon I’ll give you a list of equipment to get started. It won’t cost you an arm or a leg…maybe just a big toe.

Check out the book trailers above and then share your thoughts below. Tell us which ones work for you. Which ones don’t…and why.

Happy weekend.

UPDATE
After Susan Barrett Price left her comments (below) Matilda and I both went and looked at her book trailer. It’s quite clever and yet visually very simple. I decided to add her video here for you all to see:




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Video trailers made easy. Tips from Kendra Bonnet « Life as a Writer and Artist
June 27, 2010 at

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia V. Davis June 25, 2010 at

This is a wonderful article and thank you for using one of my trailers as an example. For those who are interested, it was made with Windows Moviemaker,which comes standard on most PC’s and is very easy to use, but anyone who has a Mac computer can make videos even more easily with iMovie…

Kendra Bonnett June 25, 2010 at

Patricia, thank you for commenting and telling us how you created your trailer. I really do think what you put together is effective. I does make you curious to know more about the book…and that’s the whole point. Nice job.

Susan Barrett Price June 26, 2010 at

Great article. It doesn’t take a big budget to produce a little video. The writers you spotlighted really showed their sparkle and their productions weren’t a bit amateurish. My no-budget video came out of the fact that I’d been doing most of my recent work in sound production, so… I produced a couple of faux radio programs — video trailer as mockumentary. Can’t say how many books they sold but I had a ball doing them. You can see one here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSJSA6YcKrY

Susan Barrett Price June 26, 2010 at

Oh, P.S. my book wasn’t a memoir but I’m here because I’m writing up something like a memoir for my current project.

Matilda Butler June 26, 2010 at

Susan:

Your video is a real hit with me. The creativity is obvious and you definitely intrigue the audience. I like the way you point viewers the website for your book.

Thanks for sharing this with our audience.

-Matilda

Susan Barrett Price June 29, 2010 at

OHHHHH! I’m thrilled to see you included my video. Hope it inspires someone to forget all the rules about what book trailers are “supposed to be.” Well, okay, I do have a rule: try to be entertaining.

Kendra Bonnett June 29, 2010 at

Good rule. Thanks for bringing your trailer to our attention. It is quite unconventional, and I think that makes it interesting and memorable.

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