To make a great trailer for a book, you don’t necessarily need a huge budget and you don’t need a full orchestral score to accompany it. There are a few things you will need, however, to make a trailer that will compel people to make an order or purchase.
Tell the Story. In marketing circles, everybody’s talking about story. The thinking goes, if you tell a story instead of offering a deal, people will find themselves emotionally invested in your brand or product and therefore more likely to support it. With a novel, this is particularly easy because the story of the product is a story, so introduce the characters, set up the world they live in and introduce the challenges they face.
Create an emotional bond. The primary aim of story is to create an emotional bond, and one of the best (but not only) ways to do this is to have a single protagonist who is likeable or interesting and that the audience can relate to. This doesn’t mean the character (real or fictional) has to be exactly like the viewer, just that they have one or more universally relatable characteristics such as hope, fear, elation or curiosity. This emotion can then be heightened by using music or sound that reinforces that emotion. And don’t forget the character doesn’t have to be a character from the book - it could be the author!
Don’t be afraid to be inspired. Before you start, it’s always a good idea to have a look at other people’s work and figure out what you think works and what doesn’t. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time you do something creative, so cherry pick the best parts from the research you do, look at the ideas underlying how they work, and use them. Don’t lazily copy something word for word but take the essential idea and re-mould it to do the job you need it to do. If you’re really thinking about it and making creative decisions along the way, chances are your final version will end up looking nothing like your sources anyway.
Don’t waffle. Get all your ideas down on paper before you start, then start a process of editorial refinement. Gradually remove everything except the parts that are absolutely essential to getting the story across. Don’t be afraid to ‘kill your darlings’ and you’ll end up with a far more watchable video.
Keep your design harmonious. Use the same colours and fonts throughout to keep it visually consistent. If you’re using stock images, try to use ones that have a similar look and feel. If you can’t help but use images that don’t look alike, you may be able to achieve consistency by running the same Photoshop or Instagram filter over them. Nothing says ‘cheap’ more than a confusing mix of different styles.
Use a call to action at the end. At the end of your video, generally you’ll want people to take the next step and order or purchase the book. There’s no point being coy, just come out and tell them what you want them to do next: “order your copy now”, then make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
If you use Biteable to make a book trailer, we’d love to see how far you can push it, so when you’re done, please hit us up on Twitter (@teambiteable) or on our Facebook page, send a link and show us what you can do!