Monday, December 6, 2010

Can Your Book Teaser Do This?

Book Teasers are now considered an integral part of book promotion, but like many things, they didn't start out that way. The beginnings of book trailers goes back to 2002 when COS Productions (Circle of Seven) started it all. It’s taken about ten years for everyone else to catch up, but slowly, others have seen the importance of book promotion through video and have added their own flavor to this relatively new marketing medium.

The success of book teasers should come as no surprise. It’s obvious that photos and video are far more effective than mere words on a page for conveying messages. People retain more information when they can see it and hear it, plus, it’s more entertaining than just reading. (Does the cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” ring a bell?) In fact, advertisers know that images should always come before words in their ads, therefore they often place photos above headlines, knowing that prospects are first drawn to the imagery. This is not scientific, folks.

Everyone, except for the amazingly lucky Mark Zuckerberg (Founder of Facebook, who seems to have just discovered this.) knows that imagery is more powerful than printed words. But let’s give this entrepreneurial guy a break, he’s only 26 and still has much to learn. Let’s not forget, he has not built Facebook singlehandedly. My advice to Zuckerberg is to trust his (business) instincts a lot more. It’s hard to believe that he employs 500 software engineers. Does that even make sense? He needs to find a few good ones and send the remaining 498 to the unemployment line, which might raise the national unemployment average to 10%, but who really cares?

Excuse my digression, Zuckerberg’s Facebook is an entirely different topic, but it’s his young, unchecked zeal that grates. I really think that Facebook is practically useless to humanity and only serves Zuckerberg and his corporation for the most part. LinkedIn is so much more useful and purposeful, but what do I know, I guess the world needs Facebook. (teenagers at least) Oh, where is the love? Hey, the guy’s personally worth 7 billion dollars. Why should I have any mercy on him?

He’s not about to buy me out any time soon. (Damn those lucky Winklevoss twins who sued him for theft of Facebook and were awarded and paid 65 million dollars for nothing, and they’re still bitching about it. Something tells me I should believe Zuckerberg, and I do. But why pay out so much money unless there was proof of theft? Hard to say, but something smells rotten here and if that’s the case, the twins are effectively out of a 50 billion dollar corporation. I think they should tuck their tails between their twin legs, lick their wounds and shut the fuck up!

Okay, let me take a deep breath now. I’m in a happy place…the waves are crashing, gently taking my body afloat and drifting me away into the unknown…a place… uh, never mind. Where was I?

Oh, book teasers, of course. How could I possibly have gone into a rant about Facebook? Believe me, that’s easy for me these days, but back to the exciting world of book promotion. (timpani here) Hey, you do want to hear about my amazing book teasers don’t you, and what they can do for your books, right? Just nod in agreement and we’ll move on. You know how Vets get flashbacks about war, well I get flashbacks about things like Facebook. I’m harmless, don’t be frightened. Honestly, if you haven’t gone crazy by the time you’re 50, you haven’t lived through any hardships. It’s around that time when life is nothing but a re-run and this time you’re desperately trying to get it right for a change.


Hang in there, this about to get interesting. Listen, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s this: We’re all more alike than we think, even in our shades of white and brown. We’re all human and we all bleed red blood, (unless you’re a Vulcan, then your blood is green) and we all hurt the same way. Did you know that God created all men to be filthy, scheming, wretched animals and He created all women as fantasy-driven egotists who can turn asexual on the spot and can never get enough of men’s money? Well, no God created men and women in his image, but somewhere along the line, that all got FUBAR. (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition)

Okay, let’s get started for the love of God. Let me ease you back into my wonderful world of book promotions via book teasers and what they can do for you and your books. Come on folks, this is not rocket science. Video…good, words…bad. You get the idea. Some people loved the movie more than the book, while others swear the book was far more detailed. No kidding, a screenplay is only 120 pages long compared to a novel which can go on for hundreds of pages more, which in that case it can be a mini series. Point is, video, moving photos and music sell, and let me say that I’ve always loved the movie more than the book. Besides you can get through it in a couple of hours. Then again, novels have their place and are far more detailed and include many things (often boring things) that movies don’t.

Which brings me to my main point. Just because you’ve written a long novel, doesn’t mean you have to produce a lengthy trailer. Book teasers are a lot like writing a logline for a movie, as far as content goes. You can’t possibly fit everything your movie, novel or book is about into a 30 second or minute and a half teaser. That’s why they call them teasers. All they are supposed to do is tease you, intrigue you and excite you enough for you to want to buy the book. Nothing else. They are not miniature movies, they are marketing and promotional messages, and their function, their aim is threefold. Teasers must entertain you, they must excite you, and they must motivate you to take action. Anything else is unacceptable and useless as a sales tool.

The biggest mistake most trailers make is that they try to tell too much of the story and often give away the all-important intrigue and curiosity they’re trying to convey in the first place. Let’s face it, why would anyone want to see a movie or read a book they already know everything about? Remember this: if your book teaser does not have a sense of mystery about your story or does not convey curiosity, it will not work as a sales tool. In fact, trailers that tell too much, or go on too long will bore the viewer and turn them away.

This is where great copywriting comes in. Writing, you say? Uh, yeah, you still need a concept, a hook and amazing words to go with all those fabulous images you’re flashing around. Either spoken or in print form, or both, they must boost and tie-in your mages in a cohesive and interesting way in order to succeed. Again, most trailers don’t have this going for them. They are nothing more than a bunch of pretty pictures and lame music to go with it.

But it takes so much more than that. The right soundtrack and sound effects are crucial to the success of you teaser. If you want viewers, prospects, and reading enthusiasts to buy your book, you must give them a good reason to want to buy it. Established authors benefit from teasers because their built-in fan base already knows or expects these authors to entertain them with their story since they’ve already had a great reading experience with previous books. But where does that leave unknown authors? Glad you asked, because unknown, unproven writers have the advantage of offering something new and different. A totally new experience that readers are always on the lookout for. So in many ways, new authors have plenty to gain with the right book teaser promoting their books.

Everything is about story and curiosity. Your book teaser must reveal your story’s premise with a good amount of curiosity in an interesting way. If you want readers to follow-up on your story and buy your book to see how it all ends, you must intrigue them from the start and never let them down. (If you want repeat business, that is, and who doesn’t?)

If you’ve written a great novel or have a non-fiction book you’d like to promote using book teasers, drop me a line and ask away. You’ve got questions, I’m sure, and I have plenty of answers to help you sort it all out.

Dynamic Book Teasers like the ones you see here start at only $595. That includes, writing concept, imagery, and soundtrack all for one low price. Voice-overs and film footage is priced separately according to your particular needs. (About 2 week turnover.)

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