Saturday, September 11, 2010

Book Teasers Pub! Behind The Scenes

What is the one thing that motivates prospects to buy your book?  Good question, and I’m sure that every buyer has their own particular reason, other than liking your story, for buying your book.

Here are a few hard facts why people buy books:
  • They are bored. (They’re looking for something new and exciting to read.)
  • They love books. (They’re constantly searching for great stories.)
  • They like the book cover and title (Collect books for the art.)
  • They like the premise of your story (They believe in the story concept.)
  • They identify with your protagonist or other secondary character. (They can relate to the character’s circumstances and want to take the journey of discovery along with them. They want to become your character.)
  • They recognize you, the author and like your work. (They enjoy the author’s writing style/platform.)
  • They’ve bought books from a particular author before and were happy with the outcome of the story. (A repeat customer, a fan.)
  • They are curious about the story. (How will it end?)
  • The book reminds them of something emotional. (They’re attached by sentimentality.)
  • They like the price. (They think the price is not too high, maybe even a bargain.)

  • They are attracted by its title (They like what the title implies.)
  • They are convinced (by its title and back copy) that your book can solve their problem(s).
  • They like the wit and candor in which you deliver your message. (They like the hook or angle of your approach to their problem.)
  • They agree with the price. (They don’t feel like you’re picking their pockets.)

This by no means encompasses all the reasons people like to buy books. I’m sure you can add a few reasons of your own. It’s all subjective, but notice how much more authors of fiction have to offer by way of benefits (entertainment value) as opposed to non-fiction books, which are capable of not only entertaining, but of solving a particular problem, even though they might be priced higher on average and by comparison.

That’s good news for novelists, in particular because if they write a great classic story, they are practically guaranteed to succeed by public approval and its marketability is assured. Ever hear editors, publishers, or lit agents say that they like a story but they’re unsure how to market it? That’s code for “Your story has no hook, and it’s not commercial enough.” That usually happens with literary work, and why they love genres so much, since genres are for the most part, proven canned formulas, or “high concepts” that work every time. Meaning the concept has built-in marketing, such as, a tidal wave hits Manhattan, an asteroid is headed for Texas, or zombies take over the planet--something to that effect.

These “no brainer” concepts are easy to market and why they have all been done before, in different ways. They are easy to sell not only to movie studios, but to global audiences. Ca-ching! Get the idea?
But what happens to the unusual story? You know, the one that that’s been peddled for ages and nobody seems to want it because it’s not mainstream enough. Great stories like Robert Duvals’ “The Apostle”, or Kevin Costner and Michael Blake’s, “Dances With Wolves.” Blake’s novel Dances, was virtually unknown until Costner turned it into an academy-award-winning movie.

Promotion doesn’t always come easy. That’s the point. What does any of this have to do with book trailers? Everything! You see, marketing is about one thing and one thing only--has been, always will be. Marketing has always been about an emotional connection between spectator and story form, whether the story comes in cinematic form, literary form, or the words and acts of a playwright. It all starts with that one emotional attachment. No attachment? No connection, and no possible sale.
So, how do we turn book trailers into bundles of emotional content? 

Drum roll, please…Easy…you find the story hook and play it up. (Come on, what did you expect?) Let’s remember, all stories have a certain angle, some are stronger than others, but an angle nonetheless, otherwise they wouldn’t have been written to begin with. This angle, or hook is what the reader, in our case, will identify with and latch on too. (BTW, on an upcoming Post, I’m going to talk about “story hooks,” and how to develop a stronger angle if yours happens to be weak and rather undefined. You don’t want to miss this, because it will change everything about your writing.)

Strong angles are the main reason audiences/readers will consider buying your book. They feel as if your story is already an emotional part of them and they begin to develop an attachment to it in ways they cannot explain.  Yes, it’s psychological, but it goes beyond that, insofar that if they don’t buy your book, they’ll be missing something that is already part of their psyche. Suddenly, they must have it, and hopefully, they want it right now!

People wanting things has always been what selling is all about. In a word, DESIRE. Desire is something you feel that you cannot live without because the connection you have made with a certain object, product, or book, must now become tangible and real. It must move from infinite space, from the fantasy realm into your mailbox and into your hands, so that you can internalize everything it has to offer, until you and the book are one.

How funny is that? I’ve just unleashed a small part of the dynamics behind the science of marketing so that you can see how experts use marketing techniques to make a sale. Sounds complicated but when all is said and done, properly, that is, your book trailer must adhere to certain scientific, proven advertising principles that have been around for ages.

I’ll bet you’ve never quite heard it like this before, but that’s only because I’m distilling a behind the scenes account of the making of effective promotion material, not just book teasers. These principles apply to all marketing in all of its forms: display ads, classified ads, print and media ads, brochures, media kits, you name it.

Okay, enough of that. Just thought I’d blow your mind with something offbeat just to get your attention, which is the first thing your teaser must do. That’s relatively easy depending how you look at it, especially in this over-saturated age of mass advertising--ads that you see on just about every empty space. Nothing is sacred. Wherever you look, advertising is there. And just like a life-threatening onslaught, your senses shut down and tune out to avoid the pain.

In this case, the pain of advertising and information overload. Too much, is simply, well…too much. People start to tune out everything around them in order to make sense of whatever is left. Although your brain is capable of processing billions of bits of information at any given time, it also needs rest to catch up from all the processing so it can formulate ideas and thoughts into comprehensible bundles of information. (What?) Otherwise, we go stir-crazy.

Okay, I’m always stir-crazy, but that’s another story. What I’m trying to say is that once you get their attention with either imagery or sound, then you must entertain them for the next 30 seconds or minute and a half at most. I don’t recommend putting together a long teaser, for over 2 minutes let’s say. Most people have very short attention spans in this digital age of instant access and dual core processing speeds. People just don’t have the patience to sit still for several minutes at a time. Even Time Magazine, many years ago, started to shorten all their stories to one page. Readers have become either too lazy or too shrewd to turn through page after page of advertising to get to the rest of the story.

The same holds true for just about any advertising medium these days, especially the internet. Everyone is accustomed to whisk by at lightning speed and take in loads of pithy information and just move on with the busy lives. There’s simply too much to get to and apparently very little time to do it. So, in short, your book teaser must open with a bang of sorts. And that doesn’t literally mean with anything loud, but it does mean to open with something relevant and possibly meaningful to the viewer. There is no time to waste. You must get right to the point and as in speech, you must avoid repeating yourself. That goes mostly for imagery. Repetition in text or sound is sometimes acceptable or even necessary, but repeating images is dull and grounds for clicking right out.

What follows all this madness, is that you must never lose sight of your core message, which is, “Here’s an amazing story you’re going to like, written by an extraordinary writer. You can now order this book!” Everything else is subjective and open to interpretation. You certainly don’t want to say too much. You don’t want t give away too much of the story, especially important parts, and you want to avoid mentioning price at this point. 

The only thing you want to do is to excite the viewer and motivate them to find out more by visiting your website, or going directly to Amazon or any other bookstore, and buy your book.
 It takes a lot of effort to work-up excitement and emotion (in a book teaser) to turn a prospective buyer into a paying customer. That’s the goal, plain and simple. Building excitement into every book teaser is the main criteria when I sit down, write copy and select images for your trailer. Without that, there’s nothing left but a bunch of pictures and music.

But pretty pictures and music and a shot of your book cover is not enough. That’s just what book teasers look like, and sound like. What they must do (motivate readers to buy your book) is what I specialize in and strive for in every trailer. That’s the BookTeaserPub! difference.

Just see for yourself. Log onto YouTube and search for any of the trailers you’ve seen on this site, and see what viewers and book buyers have to say, and email me with any questions. I’ll be happy to get back to you promptly with the answers you’re looking for.

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