Looking over all the responses from authors on this subject, both in yesterday's comments and in emails to me, I can say that the jury's still out about book trailers, but the verdict doesn't look like it's going to be all that positive. Most of the more negative responses have to do with the quality of the BTs. Or lack thereof. It is a problem when we're used to such slick movie trailers that cost a lot of money. We seem to know it's not fair to compare the two, but ... well, we do it anyway. The other main negative is the inability to measure if they have much effect on book sales.
The purpose of this two-part post is not so much to come to some definitive conclusion on the efficacy of BTs, but rather to gather opinions and offer links to informative web sites on the matter.
In an email one author pointed me to the Build Buzz blog post about BTs, run this past June. The post mentions the WSJ article I linked to yesterday and goes on to comment on how hard it is to track the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Just as interesting are the two comments to the post, one by a gal from Circle of Seven, who refutes some of the points made in the post--in a very kind manner, I might add.
If you're interested in doing a trailer for $1000, look into BookPreview, which some of my friends have used. There are examples on the web site. Also check out PulsePoint Design.
Here are some more responses from multi-published authors about BTs:
"I was somewhere the other day--listening to someone in the industry--and he/she made an off handed comment about book trailers and the implication was that they were a waste of time and money. Trouble is, I can't remember who or where it was. I've done a couple and put them on my web site with no observable success--no one even mentions them. From now on , I'm focusing on the book."
"I do know that at least one of my publishers sees some value in them. They’re even building money into their marketing budgets for select books to have trailers created professionally. When I created my book trailer, my contact in the marketing department was very interested in it, and gave me some pointers on the script, the length, and told me to be sure to post it on YouTube and GodTube as the book’s release date nears."
"I've had two book trailers done, and I was pleased with both. I posted them on my website and plan to put them on my Amazon blog. I'm not sure how effective they are. I will say that my publisher is exploring some of the results of trailers. If they find the trailer and better usage to be a positive thing, I'll probably do another for my 2009 release, but at this point I'm not sure. Doing two strictly for fun was great, esp. since I only paid for one (the first one was done for free)."
"Personally - and I'm certainly no expert - I would not waste my time with a book trailer."
"I've done one and will do more, probably. I made mine in iMovie and it was pretty easy, once I figured out what I was doing. Do I think it does much good? I have no clue. With only 200-300 views, probably not. One thing I don't know is if the views on my web site get counted. I checked YouTube, then watched it on my web page, then checked the number and it hadn't changed."
"Do book trailers sell tons more books? I'm thinking they really don't. But they certainly don't hurt. I've had "new" readers who've never read my books email to say now they are--due to seeing the trailer. In the end, I think book trailers are sort of like blogging. If you enjoy doing it, do one. But don't expect huge returns."
"I've done a couple of booktrailers on my own and have posted them on my blog and website. I also put them on Shoutlife and Amazon (in my blog on Amazon). It's hard to tell whether they increase sales. I would love someone to do a study on it. Personally, I really enjoy watching Book Trailers. (But then, I really enjoy movie trailers too!) I've heard rumors that some book stores plan to play them on monitors throughout the store. And I've also heard that online bookstores plan to incorporate them onto the page where our books are displayed and purchased."
Here's some info authors sent in regarding buying music and photos to use in BTs. (You can't just grab them off the Internet, as they're likely to be copyrighted.) For music: Production Music Online. (This is a redirect from istockmusic.net.) One author reported buying the license to needed music for $30. For photos: iStockphoto. Fees run from about $1 to $20 per photo.
One author suggested: "What if we had a website where readers could go check out book trailers for the newest releases in Christian Fiction with with links to purchase the book?"
Interesting idea. What do you all think?